Mixed fortunes for the Manchester clubs in the Champions League


Manchester United fell to a 2-1 defeat in Spain while their arch rivals Manchester City managed to come from behind to win 2-1 at home over Hoffenheim.

Jose Mourinho’s side went into their game with Valencia knowing they still had a chance to top Group H with a win, but would need Juventus to lose against Young Boys of Bern.

Even with that motivation, another sluggish performance followed.

United fell behind in the 17th minute when Carlos Soler adjusted well to guide the ball into the corner of Sergio Romero’s goal. It had been coming, too, with the La Liga outfit far more proactive in the opening 15 minutes.

Then came the opportunity the Red Devils needed. Juventus unpredictably fell behind against Young Boys. It still wasn’t enough to arouse United’s interest as they ended the half without a shot on target.

Disaster struck when Phil Jones was trying to shield the ball from the pursuing Michy Batshuayi. Romero came off his line to meet the ball and Jones swept the ball into his own net. It was a baffling lack of communication on the part of the England and Argentina internationals.

The third goal of the game seemed more likely to come from the hosts as still Mourinho’s men laboured. And to compound their misery Juventus were also 2-0 down, meaning another wasted opportunity beckoned.

His team restored a small measure of hope three minutes from the end when Marcus Rashford guided the ball into the net to half the deficit. United began to attack with much more purpose such was their desperation, it would not be enough though.

Juventus did indeed lose 2-1 to Young Boys and confirm the missed opportunity for United to climb to the summit of their group.

They do ultimately qualify of course, but there will be great cause for concern with much bigger teams on the horizon once the draw is made.

A Leroy Sane double helped Man City come from behind to win (photo credit: Manchester Evening News).

Elsewhere, a Leroy Sane double helped Man City confirm their status as winners of Group F. The current champions fell behind on 16 minutes when Benjamin Hubner latched onto a long pass and found himself eight yards from goal only for a desperate Aymeric Laporte to haul him down to concede the penalty.

Andrej Kramaric stepped up and dispatched of the spot kick to give the visitors an unlikely lead.

City were level on the stroke of half-time thanks to a 30-yard rocket from Sane. The German winger stood over a central free-kick and then hit it with his laces from where it dipped and swerved its way past Oliver Baumann.

Sane then gave Pep Guardiola’s side the lead with a neat finish after he started a devastating counter attack. The 22-year-old collected a pass down the left and accelerated into the Hoffenenheim half. From there he passed right to Raheem Sterling who then slide the ball back for Sane to get his second of the night.

The visitors did cause the home team problems with their attacking imagination.

Leonardo Bittencourt and Ishak Belfodil tested the City backline and forced Ederson into action on a couple of occasions.

Phil Foden started for City and had his fair share of encouraging moments and even forced a magnificent save from Baumann from an equally magnificent effort on a left-foot volley.

City can pleased with their performance and have assured themselves of a more favourable tie in the Round of 16.


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