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Match Report: Manchester City Draw Blank in Copenhagen

But Blues Still Through to Knock-out Stage

FC Copenhagen vs Manchester City: UEFA Champions League Photo by Sergei Gapon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Manchester City registered their first goalless draw in 22 matches as the blues drew 0-0 in Denmark. Rodri had a goal disallowed and Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty in an eventful match that saw the blues reduced to ten men after 30 minutes. Sergio Gomez received a straight red for his reckless tackle on the edge of the penalty area, which was initially missed by the referee before VAR intervened.

The result still meant City qualified for the last 16 as the other match in their group between Dortmund and Sevilla ended in a 1-1 draw. The blues were favourites to win the match, having thrashed the same opposition 5-0 in Manchester a week earlier. However, they found the home side in determined form to prevent a similar scoreline, and their task was not made easier due to the dismissal of Gomez.

By that point, City should have been in front, had it not been for a dodgy VAR decision and Mahrez reminding City fans what it used to be like before Haaland took penalties. The Norwegian took a place on the bench after his recent goalscoring exploits have seen him already hit 15 Premier League and five Champions League goals by mid-October.

City may have missed his presence up front, and the team that coped so well last season without a striker, were denied a thunderbolt of an opening goal. After just ten minutes, Rodri screamed a shot into the top corner to put the blues in front, only for VAR to say no.

Mahrez was adjudged to have handled in the build-up, despite no obvious handball and no appeals from the home players. VAR had spotted the ball make the slightest contact with the hand of Mahrez, which was enough to rule out the strike.

It was the second decision that went against City in the short amount of time played. Moments earlier, Julian Alvarez rifled a shot towards the far corner but was tipped away by the keeper. The referee pointed for a goal kick while the Argentine star was convinced it should have been a corner.

Ederson was called into action to tip a shot by Lerager over the bar before another handball debate was settled again by VAR.

A city corner on the right saw the ball bounce off the arm of the defender. The referee again checked the pitchside monitor before deciding it was a penalty. In fairness, he couldn’t give anything else, considering the handball given against Mahrez.

The Algerian stepped up to take the penalty but saw his spot-kick saved by the keeper. In fairness, it was a good penalty by Mahrez, which made the save impressive.

And just a few minutes later, VAR was earning its salt again as Gomez’ clumsy challenge triggered a review. The Spanish defender got on the wrong side of Hakon Haraldsson and a tangle saw the youngster hit the floor. After a VAR review, it was deemed a red card offence and Gomez was off for an early bath.

City would play for an hour with ten men, but it didn’t seem to impact the play. Mahrez was replaced by Ruben Diaz after the sending off and City still dominated possession throughout.

The blues could have taken all three points, with efforts from Kevin de Bruyne and Joao Cancelo saved, and the home side also tried to create some chances. But despite the one man advantage, Copenhagen still only managed one shot on target.

City are now safely through to the knock-out stage and if they avoid defeat at Dortmund in two weeks time, the blues will finish as group winners.

Final score: FC Copenhagen 0-0 Manchester City