The Cityzens reached the summit of domestic and continental club football competitions when they became only the second English Premier League side to win the English top-flight football, FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the same year, with the other being their arch-rivals Manchester United, who did it back in the 1998/1999 Season. Apart from being knocked out of the EFL Cup in the Third Round by Newcastle United, the Cityzens showed no interests of abdicating their throne in the league as well as European club football competition this year, as the current first-placed team in the Premier League have now progressed into the next round of the Champions League with four wins out of four.
Haaland Netted Back-to-Back Champions League Brace for the Cityzens
Norwegian striker sensation Erling Haaland ended his goal scoring draught in the Champions League in the Cityzen’s 3-1 triumph over BSC Young Boys with a couple of goals last time around, and the 23-year-old forward replicated his brace in the returning of this Group G fixture, helping Manchester City to edge past their opponents with a similar score line of 3-0 in this match.
The Norway striker broke the deadlock for Pep’s team from the spot in the 23rd minute, after Matheus Nunes was brought down by Sandro Lauper. Haaland scored the first goal of the match by sending the goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi to the wrong direction with his penalty kick. The Cityzens’ lead was then doubled right before half time, as Phil Foden worked his magic into the dangerous zone from the right wing, before placing a delicate shot into the far post.
The Cityzens are certainly not known for having mercy on their opponents. Hence, moments after play was resumed in the second 45 minutes, Haaland found the back of the net for the second time in the evening. A series of connections between the Manchester City players saw Haaland pick up the ball outside the box, before he caught everyone off guard with a perfect long-ranged effort. Last night’s brace not only increased Haaland’s season tally to 15 goals in 17 matches for the Cityzens, the team are also now in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League with 12 maximum points collected so far.
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Guardiola’s Statement After the Cityzens’ 3-0 Victory Over BSC Young Boys
The 52-year-old Pep had this to say on the Cityzens’ victory over BSC Young Boys and their early advancement to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League: “Of course we are incredibly happy to have qualified with two games left. Finish first. We have time to think about it. We were not soft enough in the last moment to score more goals. But I love to see the team. The word that defines this group of players for many years is the consistency. We have high standards and that is why we are still in the Premier League up there and qualified from the Champions League.”
Guardiola also brushed away the idea of letting his team’s guard down in the remaining two group fixtures of the Champions League, saying that it is important to finish first to gain an advantage in the knockout round of the competition. “People say ‘yeah, the group stage, it is easy’, but you have to do it. In life, you have to do it when people expect you to do it. Two games left. Leipzig are the toughest opponents in this group and we have to try and finish further. It is important in the last 16 to have the weapon of the second game at home rather than away.”
Guardiola’s former playing and coaching club Barcelona suffered the rarest of Champions League defeats in the hands of Ukrainian Premier League side FC Shakhtar Donetsk. The 1-0 upset was Donetsk’s third win over the Catalan Giants and you can go through the full match details here.
FULL-TIME | Qualified from Group G! 🙌
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 7, 2023
Pep: “It (Stones’s Injury) Is a Big Loss for Us.”
The Cityzens may be sitting at the top of the Premier League table and have reached the Last 16 of the Champions League, but they will be without the services of England defender John Stones for an extended period of time, since the 29-year-old picked up a muscular issue during the first half of the Young Boys clash and was forced to be taken off after the break.
“I feel so sorry for him because he’s so incredibly professional and his commitment again. It is a big loss for us. John is so important for what he does but he will recover and the season is long and he will be back stronger.”
According to Guardiola, Stones is suffering from a muscular injury and is likely unavailable for both Manchester City and England in the remainder in the calendar year of 2023. It will be interesting to see how well the Cityzens and Southgate’s team can cope without their starting centre-back in Stones in their upcoming matches. Guardiola’s men will be facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend, before the next international break takes place, where the already-qualified Three Lions will complete their 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia respectively.