Jesus strike sinks PSG as Man City win group

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MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Gabriel Jesus scored a 76th-minute winner as Manchester City beat Paris St Germain 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to take their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Group A winners.

PSG also advanced to the last 16 thanks to Leipzig’s win over Club Brugge but the loss highlighted their continued problems in finding an effective way to harness their star-studded attack.

For the opening 45 minutes, City dominated playing with their usual invention and verve while PSG’s front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe too often watched on from afar.

It remains a major question as to whether PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino can build a team capable of winning the Champions League when his side is so lop-sided and with his three big-name forwards reluctant to work back and assist off the ball.

City have no such problems with Pep Guardiola’s well-drilled machine combining the technique and class with a high work ethic.

Haller at the double as Ajax maintain 100 percent record

LISBON (Reuters) -Sporting Lisbon beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Wednesday with two goals from Pedro Goncalves to clinch their spot in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in 13 years and eliminate the Germans from the competition.

Goncalves struck twice in the first half to lead his team to their 10th straight victory in all competitions and nine points in Group C, three ahead of the Germans with a game left and a better head-to-head, after losing 1-0 in Dortmund in September.

Sporting, in the round of 16 for the first time since 2008-09, made the most of a disastrous Nico Schulz clearance that sent the ball straight to Goncalves who flicked it past keeper Gregor Kobel after half an hour.

The midfielder, who also scored twice last week in their Portuguese Cup fourth-round win, rifled in from 20 metres nine minutes later to put Sporting firmly in the driving seat.

“We’re in the round of 16 and it’s great, it’s good for the project, but we still have a lot to do,” said Sporting coach Ruben Amorim.

Haller at the double as Ajax maintain 100 percent record

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Sebastien Haller continued his Champions League scoring spree with two second-half goals as Ajax Amsterdam came from behind to beat Besiktas 2-1 on Wednesday and clinch top spot in Group C.

Haller came off the bench at the start of the second half and netted goals in the 54th and 69th minutes as Ajax overturned a halftime deficit to keep up their 100% run in the group.

The 27-year-old Haller has nine goals in five games in the group phase, tied with Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League scoring charts.

Five-star Leipzig thrash Brugge after rampant first half

BRUGES (Reuters) – RB Leipzig scored four goals in a rampant first-half performance and added one more after the break for a comprehensive 5-0 victory away at Club Brugge on Wednesday that lifted them off the foot of Champions League Group A.

Leipzig are now in pole position to finish third in the standings and secure a berth in the Europa League, ahead of their Belgian hosts.

Manchester City and Paris St Germain have secured the top two places in the group and will progress to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Emil Forsberg scored twice, including one from the penalty spot, with Christopher Nkunku and Andre Silva adding the other two for Leipzig in the opening 45 minutes.

Nkunku then got the fifth in stoppage time at the end of the second half.

It was Leipzig’s first win of the group phase despite having to do without coach Jesse Marsch and captain and first choice goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the game.

They now have four points along with Brugge but a better head-to-head record over the Belgians.

Reuters

Photo Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus celebrates with teammates after scoring the 2-1 during the UEFA Champions League group A soccer match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in Manchester, Britain, 24 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Peter Powell

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