May 19, 2024

Akanji Helps Man City Maintain Perfect Run In C/League

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By Sedara Philip

Nigeria born Switzerland intertional Manuel Akanji was on target Wednesday as Man City won to maintain a perfect start to this year’s Champions League record with a hard-fought win at Young Boys.

Erling Haaland scored twice in the second half, his first Champions League goals in six games, first with a penalty, then a fine curling effort.

Reigning champions City had dominated proceedings and led in the 48th minute when Manuel Akanji tapped in.

The Swiss hosts pulled level shortly after through Meschack Elia’s exquisite chip

But Haaland’s 67th-minute penalty, followed by his second with four minutes remaining, ensured City remain top of Group G with nine points from three games.

Pep Guardiola’s side are now unbeaten in their past 16 Champions League matches, winning 10 and drawing six, with only Manchester United between 2007 and 2009 ever having a longer run without defeat among English teams in the competition.

They led when Switzerland defender Akanji netted in his homeland from close range after Ruben Dias’ header was palmed on to the crossbar by Young Boys keeper Anthony Racioppi.

City were pegged back in style when Elia was set free with a direct through ball to perfectly lob the stranded Ederson.

But Rodri was caught on the ankle by a clumsy Mohamed Ali Camara lunge in the box, which allowed Haaland to slam home from the spot and seal all three points in Bern – before he added gloss to the scoreline.

For the holders, this game was about getting out of Wankdorf Stadium with their 100% group record intact and injury free, with the Manchester derby at Old Trafford in four days’ time.

Concerns were raised about the artificial pitch, criticised by Guardiola in his pre-match media conference, with City travelling earlier than usual to Switzerland in order to train on the surface.

It was thought the artificial turf could cause injuries and that it would take longer for players to recover fitness than if they played on grass. Torrential rain throughout this fixture did not help.

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