News Matches
Winners & Losers

No Haaland, no party: Man City winners, losers and ratings as Mahrez flops in Copenhagen stalemate

3:09 AM SGT 12/10/22
Riyad Mahrez Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23
Pep Guardiola left his top scorer on the bench as City were held to a goalless draw in Copenhagen in a game dominated by VAR decisions

Manchester City's perfect start to the Champions League was halted with a surprising goalless draw in Copenhagen.

Pep Guardiola's side remain top of Group G, but were made to wait a little bit longer to secure their place in the knockout stages.

Rodri had a stunning goal ruled out for a controversial handball and Riyad Mahrez then missed a penalty after another ruling from VAR.

But City were reduced to 10 men after half an hour when Sergio Gomez was shown a straight red after pulling back winger Hakon Haraldsson as the last man.

Copenhagen were delighted with the point, but it was a frustrating one for City, who opted to leave Erling Haaland on the bench throughout despite not managing to find the net in his absence.

  • Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23

    The Winners

    Erling Haaland:

    It's no coincidence that City's first blank of the season came in the first game that their marquee summer signing did not start. After netting 20 goals already, Haaland has looked almost unstoppable, and him being away from the action only underlined his importance. It was, though, a precious 90 minutes rest for the Norwegian after a hectic start to the life at the Etihad Stadium and with a visit to Anfield on the horizon.

    Liverpool:

    Jurgen Klopp has an injury crisis to deal with ahead of Sunday's game, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz and Joel Matip the latest to enter the Anfield treatment room. He will, then, have been happy to see City forced to play for over an hour with only 10 men and pushed so hard in a game that was expected to be a stroll ahead of the two teams' meeting on Sunday. Already 14 points off the top of the Premier League and 13 behind reigning champions City, that clash is a must-win if Liverpool are to keep any title hopes that they still have alive. Haaland may have stayed on the bench , but many of Guardiola's other main men were given an unnecessary and draining workout.

    Kamil Grabara:

    Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Grabara was Copenhagen's man of the match a week ago at the Etihad Stadium, despite a 5-0 defeat, making 12 saves. And he was the hero again on Tuesday when he guessed right to deny Riyad Mahrez's first-half penalty. City have missed now 24 penalties in all competitions under Guardiola, nine more than any other Premier League side over the same period. But Grabara won't care about City's appalling record, and can look back on his two appearances against the Premier League champions with huge pride.

  • Sergio Gomez Manchester City 2022-23

    The Losers

    Sergio Gomez:

    What should have been a comfortable night for City got considerably harder when Gomez was shown a straight red card following a VAR intervention. The left-back was caught on the wrong side of Copenhagen teenager Hakon Haraldsson and hooked his arm around the forward to stop him breaking through. A clear goalscoring opportunity, it was the right decision to send Gomez off after some poor defending in a game that City expected to control from start to finish. Trying to force his way into becoming a regular for City, this was a major error and is likely to seriously set back his first-team hopes.

    VAR:

    There can be no complaints about VAR getting involved with Gomez’s sending off, but the other interventions do nothing to improve the game. Rodri scored one of the best goals of the group stage, a fierce 25-yard strike that arrowed into the top corner, but you’re unlikely to ever to see it again thanks to VAR. The ball brushed Riyad Mahrez’s fingers in the build-up, and after watching a replay of the incident another 10 times, referee Artur Dias ruled the goal out. There were no complaints from anyone in the stadium - fans or players - just as there weren’t when the ball accidentally struck Nicolai Boilesen's arm for a penalty - but the VAR had his super slo mo and magnifier in overdrive.

    Riyad Mahrez:

    City's top scorer in last season's Champions League, Mahrez has had a difficult start to this campaign. Guardiola has said that he needs him to get the winger to his best, and two goals in his last two appearances suggested he might be getting there. His involvement in Rodri's disallowed goal was bad luck, but his penalty miss ensured that the match could not settle down in City's favour. He was then the player that was sacrificed in the 33rd minute following Gomez's red card, with Ruben Dias brought on.

  • Aymeric Laporte Manchester City 2022-23

    Man City Ratings: Defence

    Ederson (6/10):

    One rare miscontrol could have been embarrassing had he been closer to his goal, but that shouldn’t take away from his otherwise good distribution.

    Joao Cancelo (6/10):

    Couldn’t make his usual creative impact as Copenhagen tried to use the extra man to shut down one of City's main threats at source.

    Manuel Akanji (7/10):

    Started at centre-back but was pushed out to right back when Gomez was sent off and looked unruffled in either position.

    Aymeric Laporte (7/10):

    More valuable minutes as he continues his recovery from a knee operation in the summer and controlled the backline with comfort.

    Sergio Gomez (3/10):

    A night to forget for the young left back who paid a heavy price for a moment of slack defending that put his team-mates in trouble.

  • Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City 2022-23

    Midfield

    Rodri (7/10):

    Unfortunate not to score a brilliant opener while defensively he made sure the Danish champions weren’t able to overload on the counter-attack.

    Ilkay Gundogan (6/10):

    Found it difficult to create too much but helped City maintain their usual control.

    Kevin De Bruyne (6/10):

    Made good runs from the centre of midfield but couldn’t make his usual impact when he got into dangerous areas.

  • Jack Grealish Manchester City 2022-23

    Attack

    Riyad Mahrez (5/10):

    Guardiola has said the Algerian has not been at his best and his missed penalty will not have helped his manager's mood.

    Julian Alvarez (6/10):

    Fired one early shot just off target but was crowded out as Copenhagen concentrated on stopping City’s threat.

    Jack Grealish (6/10):

    Some nice touches but didn't offer too much threat in a game where City needed moments of magic.

  • Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Ruben Dias (6/10):

    Shored up the City defence when he came on following Gomez's red card to ensure there were no more kamikaze moments.

    Bernardo Silva (5/10):

    Unable to change the direction of the game.

    Phil Foden (5/10):

    Couldn't find a sight of goal.

    Nathan Ake (n/a):

    Very late change.

    Pep Guardiola (6/10):

    Despite saying that Haaland wasn't rested with Liverpool in the mind, the City boss picked a team that should have been strong enough to take the three points. Bringing on Dias for Mahrez was sensible and he will have expected his side to still have too much.