Phil Foden celebrates after scoring against FC Copenhagen. Since his return last month, the 32-year-old has scored two goals and provided seven assists in seven appearances. Real Madrid also managed to beat RB Leipzig in the absence of injured Jude Bellingham.
Pep Guardiola hailed Kevin De Bruyne’s form “extraordinary” after the Belgian was involved in all three goals as Manchester City beat FC Copenhagen 1-3 on Tuesday to close in on the Champions League quarter-finals. De Bruyne’s early opener was cancelled out against the run of play by Magnus Mattsson. Bernardo Silva restored City’s lead before half-time, but they had to wait until stoppage time to add further punishment for the hosts when Phil Foden turned home De Bruyne’s cut-back.
De Bruyne was sidelined for five months by a hamstring tear suffered on the opening night of the Premier League season in August. “Extraordinary,” said Guardiola of De Bruyne’s statistics. “The biggest players love to appear in the biggest stages.
It’s the hour of truth when you are in the last 16 of the Champions League and we start well.” The English champions have now won 11 consecutive games in all competitions as they remain on course to repeat last season’s treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. Copenhagen had not played a competitive game for two months since sealing their place in the last 16 by dumping out Manchester United and Galatasaray in the group stages.
“We started really well but I think we made one mistake and they pounced on it. We played a really good game. In the second half we created a lot of chances, could have scored more and luckily in the end we scored the third one, so it is a little bit of an advantage now.”
Elsewhere, an incredible solo goal from Brahim Diaz secured Real Madrid a 1-0 win away at RB Leipzig in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg. Leipzig were energetic but wasteful early, while Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin made numerous saves after the hosts controversially had a goal disallowed for offside. The German club were made to pay early in the second half when Diaz opened the scoring.
Real midfielder Toni Kroos praised his teammate, telling Amazon Prime “a piece of individual skill decided the game.” It was an open match,” said Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, contending that “a lucky punch decided the game.” With first-choice centre-backs Antonio Ruediger, David Alaba and Eder Militao ruled out, coach Carlo Ancelotti opted to continue midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni’s stint in central defence.
Despite their injury woes, Real sit five clear in the league and have only lost twice this season in all competitions, both times to derby rivals Atletico Madrid. Leipzig coach Marco Rose said Tuesday his side were “not afraid” of Real Madrid, having beaten the 14-time European champions 3-2 at the same venue in October 2022.