It was a first half of surprisingly few opportunities.
And then Riyad Mahrez found himself with just Steve Mandanda to beat – but the Marseille keeper saved well with his feet (though a belated flag was raised for offside).
Perhaps the lack of a natural striker meant there was no focal point for City’s first-half attacks – whatever the reason, it was a fairly tepid first 45 overall.
Within three minutes, the change had made a difference and as Mahrez burst into the box on the right, Germain nicked the ball off his toe and inadvertedly put Ferran Torres in and he slid the ball under Mandanda from six yards.
It was Torres’ fourth goal in five Champions League games.
And it took our record goal-scorer just 10 minutes to announce his return in style as Nathan Ake’s thumping header from Foden’s corner was parried by Mandanda and poked home by the Argentine predator.
It was also the 1,000th City goal since moving to the Etihad, so very much a milestone strike.
🏟️ Ferran Torres has scored the 1,000th goal for @ManCity at Etihad Stadium, in their 445th game in all competitions since moving to the ground— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 9, 2020
🔵 Trevor Sinclair scored their first competitive goal at the stadium, against The New Saints in the UEFA Cup in August 2003 #UCL pic.twitter.com/bSKKt2gqFY
Who gets the nod for the derby?
Pep Guardiola has a defensive headache for the Manchester derby – but it’s one he won’t mind.
Five clean sheets in a row
City have now gone five games without conceding a goal.
Defensive shutouts are a very good habit to get into and our back-line’s mean streak is a contrast to the defensive issues of last season.
What it means…
Effectively nothing with City already qualified for the Champions League Round of 16 – but City have completed a best ever group stage clash with 16 points from a possible 18.
It’s the Manchester derby up next with a short trip to Old Trafford for City who will be looking to avenge last March’s 2-0 loss to the Reds.
Kick-off is 5.30pm this Saturday.
“Yeah, I’m really happy,
“Especially the way we played, all the games, no exception.
“We scored goals, we conceded just one and in general it was a good performance.
“We are in the next round and we see the teams who have qualified are incredible.
“It will be an interesting draw. Hopefully, we can arrive in a good mood.”
"It was a good game. We knew we had first and were qualified, but it’s good to finish with a good win, 3-0 at home.
"We are happy and now we are on to the next one.
"We are into the last-16 and our goal is to do better than we did in the last three seasons.
"It’s been a few games now we have been winning and when you win regularly it’s easier to win again and win again.
"It’s nice. We want to keep momentum going. We have a tough game against United but we want to keep winning."
City: Steffen, Walker, Aké, Laporte, Garcia (Stones 27), Fernandinho (c), Gündogan (Sterling 46), Bernardo, Torres, Foden, Mahrez (Aguero 67)
Substitutes: Carson, Jesus, Agüero, De Bruyne, Mendy, Cancelo, Nmecha, Doyle, Palmer, Bernabe
Marseille: Mandanda, Sakai, González, Balerdi, Nagatomo, Sanson, Kamara (Rongier 67), Gueye (Strootman), Thauvin (Ake 74), Germain (Benedetto 75), Payet (Cuisance 67)
Substitutes: de Lima, Caleta-Car, Pelé,, Khaoui, Perrin, Vanni
1 - Manchester City conceded just one goal in the UEFA Champions League group stage this season, the joint-fewest by any side in a single group stage in the competition, and the fewest by an English side since Man Utd in 2010-11. Clinic. pic.twitter.com/5ra0nglesq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 9, 2020
Stats and facts
- City have conceded only one goal in the Champions League this season (the joint fewest alongside Chelsea). The last side to concede as few by the end of the group stages was Barcelona in 2017-18 (one), while the last English side was Manchester United in 2010-11 (also one).
- City finish with the joint most points of any English side in a single group stage, along with Arsenal in 2005-06 (finalists), Manchester United in 2007-08 (winners), and Tottenham Hotspur in 2017-18 (last 16).
- City have kept a clean sheet in five consecutive Champions League matches since conceding one goal at home to Porto in October. The last side to record five or more consecutive shutouts in the competition was Juventus in 2016-17.