Champions League group stage recap: Manchester City hit the ground running
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Erling Haaland took centre stage as Pep Guardiola's side served notice of their intent with a comfortable progression to the last 16.
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Manchester City flew out of the blocks, scoring 11 goals in their first three games to stamp their authority on Group G.
Pep Guardiola's side eased off with their dominance in the section established but few would back against them going through the gears again as the knockout stage progresses.
Campaign so far
Group G winners: W4 D2 L0 F14 A2
Top scorer: Erling Haaland (5)
06/09: Sevilla 0-4 Man City (Haaland 20 67, Foden 58 Rúben Dias 90+2)
14/09: Man City 2-1 Dortmund (Stones 80, Haaland 84; Bellingham 56)
05/10: Man City 5-0 Copenhagen (Haaland 7 32, Khocholava 39 og, Mahrez 55, Álvarez 76)
11/10: Copenhagen 0-0 Man City
25/10: Dortmund 0-0 Man City
02/11: Man City 3-1 Sevilla (Lewis 52, Álvarez 73, Mahrez 83; Rafa Mir 31)
Campaign in ten words: Routine passage into knockouts with a little help from Haaland.
UEFA.com Manchester City reporter
City wasted little time in securing their place in the knockout stage for the tenth successive season, but it wasn't all smooth sailing for Pep Guardiola's star-studded ensemble. The Cityzens needed a spectacular winner from the prolific Erling Haaland to complete the turnaround against Dortmund in September before playing over an hour with ten men in a goalless draw at Copenhagen. Beaten finalists in 2021, City fans will hope Haaland's goals will help them finally go the distance.
How do Manchester City play?
A 4-3-3 on paper becomes more of a 2-3-5 when City are in possession – which is most of the time. Pinning opponents in their own half with a high defensive line, City circulate the ball with trademark ease until the relentless pressure finally tells. Unlike last season, when Guardiola often operated with a false nine, the Cityzens now have arguably the most prolific focal point in the game to finish off their free-flowing moves.
Fantasy star performers
João Cancelo – 36 points
Rúben Dias – 34 points
Erling Haaland –26 points
In: Máximo Perrone
Out: João Cancelo
Clubs had until 24:00 CET on Thursday 2 February to register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
- Erling Haaland (22 years and 47 days) became the youngest player to score 25 Champions League goals, beating Kylian Mbappé's previous record by 33 days.
- City's Rico Lewis (17 years and 346 days) became the youngest player to score in the Champions League on his first start in the competition, breaking Karim Benzema's record for Lyon against Rosenborg in 2005 by six days.
- City have scored in all 36 home matches they have played in the Champions League group stage.