Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Slick Man City close to last 16 place after Brugge rout

Slick Man City close to last 16 place after Brugge rout

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Club Brugge’s forward Kamal Sowah (left) vies with Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan during the UEFA Champions League Group A football on Wednesday. AFP

Slick Man City close to last 16 place after Brugge rout

Manchester City got back on track as they thrashed Club Brugge 4-1 on Wednesday to move within touching distance of a place in the Champions League last 16.

Pep Guardiola’s side recovered from the shock of conceding a John Stones own goal after Phil Foden’s early opener at the Etihad Stadium.

Riyad Mahrez put City back in front in the second half and Raheem Sterling came off the bench to end his goal drought before Gabriel Jesus capped the rout.

City sit top of Group A, one point above Paris Saint Germain, after their third win in four matches in the competition.

Last season’s Champions League runners-up are five points clear of third-placed Brugge and will reach the knockout stages with one point from their last two games against PSG and Leipzig.

“Fully deserved. I liked how we played. After conceding we dropped a little bit, but the second half was really good,” Guardiola said.

“When you’re at Manchester City, you realise nobody will help you. Everything to do, we’ve done it.

“All the titles I won before were because I was at big clubs. Absolutely, the pleasure is higher [to win with City].”

After a strong start to the season, City had suffered their worst period of the campaign.

Saturday’s shock home defeat against Crystal Palace came hot on the heels of a penalty shoot-out loss at West Ham that ended their four-year reign as League Cup holders.

Guardiola responded to those setbacks by defiantly claiming City were playing at an “incredible” level, labelling their current form among the “best moments” of his time at the club.

Having thrashed Brugge 5-1 in Belgium last month, City once again picked on Philippe Clement’s team, although the victory wasn’t without a few scares.

Guardiola had described Brugge’s visit as “much more important” than Saturday’s derby at Manchester United and his players got the message.

Constant menace

Kevin De Bruyne’s inconsistent form of late has been a concern, so it was intriguing to see Guardiola drop the Belgian midfielder.

Even without De Bruyne, City had too much attacking quality for Brugge.

Joao Cancelo was a constant menace and the left-back was inches away from scoring with a curling effort that cannoned off the post.

City’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 15th minute after Foden’s initial cross-shot was blocked by Brugge keeper Simon Mignolet.

Mahrez pounced on the loose ball and jinked across the Brugge area before picking out Cancelo, whose cross found Foden narrowly onside to tap-in his fifth goal this season.

But despite their dominant start, City were rocked as Brugge equalised in freakish circumstances two minutes later.

Hans Vanaken’s shot was clawed away by Ederson and when Charles De Ketelaere crossed back into the six-yard box, Bernardo Silva’s attempted block deflected the ball off Stones’ face and into the net.

That shock knocked City out of their stride and they nearly conceded again when De Ketelaere’s low drive forced a good stop from Ederson.

Jack Grealish’s deft pass presented Mahrez with a golden opportunity early in the second half, but Mignolet saved the Algerian’s close-range strike.

Brugge threatened again when De Ketelaere’s shot crept wide.

But City had regained control and Mahrez made amends for his earlier miss as he restored their lead in the 54th minute.

Cancelo was the provider with a pin-point cross that the unmarked Mahrez headed past Mignolet from five yards for his eighth goal this season.

Sterling was introduced to replace Mahrez and the England star was quickly on the scoresheet for the first time since August.

In the 72nd minute, Foden found Ilkay Gundogan and the German’s low cross was converted with ease by Sterling for the forward’s second goal of a difficult season on a personal level.

Brazil forward Jesus put the seal on City’s victory when he netted in the final seconds.


  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused