Manchester City was held to a 0-0 draw by FC Copenhagen on Tuesday at the Parken Stadium, giving them their first Champions League loss of the year.
After Sergio Gomez received a red card after 30 minutes, City was forced to play for the majority of the game with 10 men. With in-form striker Erling Haaland sitting on the bench the whole game, the Premier League champions struggled to establish dominance over their opponents and failed to score for the first time this season.
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According to City coach Pep Guardiola, “several players didn’t start today because they were drained, tired, and fatigued and [had] niggles.” “After the game against Southampton, Erling didn’t feel all that great, Phil Foden had some concerning issues, and Bernardo Silva told us yesterday that he was quite exhausted.
“We [took the red card] pretty well. They’re too skilled. We’re on the verge of qualifying. That’s a valid point.
An exciting first half was overshadowed by VAR controversy, starting when Rodri’s piledriver was disallowed for an assessed handball by Riyad Mahrez in the buildup.
The Spanish midfielder appeared to have handed City the lead after blasting a 25-yard shot past Kamil Grabara 11 minutes in, but a VAR probe revealed that Mahrez’s hand touched the ball just slightly as he fought through opponents for an aerial pass.
Mahrez was once more at the center of the action in the 25th minute when Grabara saved his penalty after Nicolai Boilesen was called for handball after a VAR review. Mahrez now has two consecutive missed penalties.
Within five minutes, Gomez, 22, stopped a Copenhagen assault by fouling on the edge of the box. After a virtual check, he was given a straight red card for his challenge, leading Guardiola to replace Mahrez with defensive reinforcement Ruben Dias.
The visitors missed numerous decent second-half chances while Haaland was on the bench, having not started for City this season in any tournament.
Kevin De Bruyne twice missed the target from promising situations, and Joao Cancelo was stopped by a deft grabara save.
Unusually for a City game, the contest devolved into a lackluster contest for the majority of the second half, with City’s man advantage lulling them into a slower-than-usual tempo despite the boisterous environment.
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