After just four games, (Man City) Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League group stage season is over after they defeated Young Boys by halftime on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola will prefer to win Group G, but with 12 points out of a possible 12, Man City will be interested in the knockout stages on January 11 for the eleventh consecutive year.

Group Stage

As they had advanced to the semifinals the previous three years, making it out of their group will be seen as the first little obstacle overcome on the path to greater things, but championship runs must begin somewhere. It’s easy to believe that the top teams should always win their groups while seeing Guardiola’s squad, but Barcelona was defeated by Shakhtar Donetsk in Group H less than an hour before kickoff at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City is the first club to advance to the Round of 16, and one of just three teams with a perfect record in the group stage this season. Nor would you wager on them being the final team remaining following the June championship game at Wembley Stadium.

With two games remaining, we are obviously overjoyed to have qualified,” Guardiola remarked. “Yeah, the group stage is simple, they say, but you have to go through it. It’s a fact of life that you have to fulfill obligations when they arise.

“You have to occasionally resist the way that people prefer to perceive us. What matters is that it occurs when someone says, “We qualify.” We still need to place top in the group and bring the second leg of the last 16 home. The qualification procedure is over, however there is still work to be done. I was rather pleased.”

Phil Foden’s goal in first-half stoppage time gave Man City the lead 2-0, virtually ending the return match after the team had defeated Young Boys 3-1 in Switzerland two weeks prior.

Erling Haaland had already scored a penalty twenty minutes earlier, thus Guardiola felt comfortable enough to replace John Stones with Nathan Aké.

Prior to Sunday’s match between Man City and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and Julián Álvarez were all given the evening off.

Haaland wasn’t even expected to return after missing the 6-1 triumph over Bournemouth on Saturday due to an ankle injury, but he felt well enough to score a third goal just after halfway. At that moment, the Swiss champions had little hope of a comeback, and to emphasize the point even more, Sandro Lauper was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.


Raphael Wicky, the manager, was relieved to see Haaland leave the field early because his team was behind 3-0 and lacked a player. However, Mauricio Pochettino may be grimacing at the prospect of a well-rested Norwegian playing at Chelsea this weekend. Haaland, 23, scored 15 goals in 17 games this season, despite not getting the same attention as he did at this time last year.

Whether it’s in the six- or eight-yard box, he has the quality,” Guardiola said.

 “We saw his movements and his level of happiness during the Monday training session. He’s fine, he feels wonderful. He played, the work was nearly finished, and he rested until Sunday the following week.

“Today, we’re a little lacking in the last touch or move in the 18-yard box—that nice, delicate approach. We weren’t good enough there, even though the rest was great.

“For many years, this group of players has been characterized by consistency. Because of our excellent standards, we qualified from the Champions League and are currently playing in the Premier League.”

The Premier League and the European community are concerned about Man City’s increasing assertiveness. It’s now five wins in a run following three losses in a row. In September and October, they played six games without a clean sheet; in their previous three games, they have now played two.

Man City Wining Runs

Against Young Boys, Man City had such complete control that the visitors failed to muster a shot on goal. They could not even form a corner together. It’s okay to dominate, though, as City’s winning run at the Etihad was extended to 23 games. The only English football team to have played in the first division for a lengthier period of time is Sunderland, and they did so more than 130 years ago between 1890 and 1892.

It always looks simple for City, who have won every home Champions League match since 2018. Tests will get harder in the future, but they are starting to click.


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