It could have been dead rubber for all intents and purposes City of Manchester Nevertheless, Pep Cardiola’s side ensured that they qualified with a perfect record as Group C winners, winning 3-0 at the Olympic Marseille, with a very welcome goal for returning Sergio Aguero.
City were already guaranteed to top the group, but their sixth win at the sixth and fifth clean sheets at Old Trafford on Saturday was the best preparation for the Manchester derby as their flawless European campaign has been put on hold until February, and the domestic campaign still needs some improvement.
Ferran Torres opened the scoring in the second half, maintaining his interesting record ahead of goal in the first few months of his Etihad career, and Raheem Sterling added a third goal late in the close range, but Aguero’s first goal from the Champions League round was particularly pleasing to Cardio.
Aguero was named to the team for the first time Since the increase in the knee injury that has plagued him since the summer The first half saw him maintain himself well with a cup bowler. At Old Trafford on Saturday he has every chance of doing this, but his scoring cameo suggested he could make an impact off the bench if at least needed.
Cardiola’s lineup provided clues to his pick on Saturday, if there are any surprises. Kevin de Bruyne, Sterling and Gabriel Jesus were named alternately. Riyadh Mahrez and Ilke Gundogan started, Kyle Walker returns after disappearance Victory over Fulham over the weekend But otherwise, this would be Cardiola’s second choice in Europe since qualifying fifteen days ago.
Still, the City began to shine. As they advanced in the first half, Walker used his upper body strength to win the ball deep into the Marseille area, with Bernardo Silva’s disguised pass then finding Mahrez. The Algerian’s shot was deflected close by former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Steve Montanda, and a few minutes later Aymerich Laborde came close with a free header.
City suffered a setback at the half-hour mark when Eric Garcia was suspected with a hip injury. Cardiola has been forced to replace his young defender with the John Stones, who has enjoyed a resurgence late and the chance for a third consecutive league start at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Stones turned down the opportunity to highlight Marce, who tried to block a close attempt after City failed to properly eliminate the danger, while Goldkeeper Jack Stephen had to be careful when slipping past Babe Cue Laport. In the first half. The concentration of the city was slipping, but as both sides came out again, the Stones had a hand in the opening goal.
Ra ரl is the only Spaniard to score more Champions League goals than Torres before turning 21. The summer signing from Valencia at this group stage has delighted itself in a misleading nine role, with City finishing sixth in the colors after setting up Mahrez alongside the Stones and Bernardo. Loose on the right. Mahrez stepped inside, teasing Marce completely, and slipping Torres into a musical finish at close range beyond the defensive line.
Aguero doubled the lead when Mandanta failed to handle Nathan Ake’s high header from the corner by Bill Fotten. This was one of the easiest opportunities offered to City’s all-time leading scorers, and the third thing to say about it. Mandanta, who hit Torres’ shot, struggled to catch the ball once again, and when Alvaro hit back, Sterling was on hand to tap.