UEFA Champions League Etihad Stadium Tuesday, December 6, 2016 7:45:00 PM
- Maffeo Navas 61’
- Unused subs
- Foden, Agüero, Otamendi, Stones, Gunn, Angelino
- Forrest Mackay-Steven 51’
- Dembele Griffiths 73’
- Unused subs
- K Touré, McGregor, de Vries, Bitton, Gamboa
City wrapped up the Champions League group stage with a 1-1 draw against Celtic.
|As it stands|
The game started at a breathless pace with two goals in the opening ten minutes and opportunities squandered for even more.
The Blues started poorly, with little cohesion and too many misplaced passes and with only four minutes on the clock, Celtic were ahead.
There seemed little danger when on-loan City winger Patrick Roberts picked the ball up on the right of the box, but the 19-year-old winger skipped past a couple of challenges before curling a beauty past Willy Caballero to send the travelling Glaswegians wild.
The goal sparked Man City into life and within five minutes, the scores were level.
Nolito collected the ball in midfield and spotted Iheanacho’s clever run and the Nigerian striker nipped in between tow Celtic defenders before rifling a shot high into the roof of the net, giving Craig Gordon no chance.
It was his 19th goal in just 18 starts and he almost doubled his haul for the evening four minutes later when he raced onto Pablo Zabaleta’s clever low cross only to fire inches wide.
Celtic responded well with Moussa Dembele twice going close to restoring the Hoops’ lead as the visitors continued to find gaps in the City defence as the open, entertaining nature of the game showed no signs of ending anytime soon.
Iheanacho, a lively and constant threat to the Celtic defence came close again shortly before the break as he flicked a low cross towards goal before the visitors scrambled the ball clear.
The second-half was less frantic, more measured with fewer incidents.
Nolito had the ball in the net midway through, but the flag was correctly raised for offside. For long periods the majority of the entertainment came from the Celtic fans, particularly the minute or so they held their mobile phones aloft, signalling to the other travelling Scots in other areas of the stadium – there was even a Poznan at one point.
As the contest petered out, Caballero was forced to make a good save from Gary Mackay-Steven, preventing Celtic from claiming only their second Champions League win in 30 attempts.
Ilkay Gundogan went close with a free-kick and Leroy Sane had a penalty appeal turned down as the Blues looked to find a late winner, but there was to be no further scoring.
How did Patrick Roberts play?
It wasn’t hard to see why the Celtic fans love Roberts.
He took his goal superbly and was imaginative and dangerous whenever he got the ball. Moments before the break he found a way through two City defenders and was could have won a penalty had referee Slavko Vincic or his assistants deemed Gael Clichy’s shirt pull a foul.
His progress and the fact he’s playing regular first-team football vindicates the Club’s decision to allow him to go north of the border for what is clearly an educational 18-month loan stint.
Kelechi takes his chance
His movement in the first-half was excellent and, on another night, he could have helped himself to a quick-fire hat-trick. He looked sharp, alert and confident – attributes that will serve him well over the next few weeks.
Man of the match
For all the reasons in the paragraph above, Iheanacho was voted the game's best player by voters on the City App. That's five goals this season for the Super Eagle and he is likely to add to his tally over the Christmas period.
Photo of the match
It’s back to Premier League action for the Blues with a trip to face champions Leicester City at the weekend.
The Foxes have lost just one game at home and have an almost identical record as City on their own patch, with three wins and three draws so far.
Last season this fixture ended 0-0 and Claudio Ranieri’s men will perhaps see this encounter as a chance to kick-start what has been a disappointing defence of the crown thus far.
The Blues will travel to the East Midlands with three first-team regulars suspended in the form of Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi.