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Manchester City on course for quarter-final spot after win away to Copenhagen

City players celebrate

Few expected Copenhagen to cause Manchester City any real difficulties on Tuesday, although it was a closer game than expected, despite the Blues taking a 3-1 victory away with them.

With a second successive potentially on the cards, the English champions produced an exceedingly professional display in Denmark.

Kevin De Bruyne’s return to full fitness has been timely for Pep Guardiola, with the team’s creator-in-chief finding his form once more.

The Belgian opened the scoring for the English club with a beautiful shot into the bottom left corner of the net, taking full advantage of the assist that Phil Foden put on a plate for him.

Copenhagen didn’t collapse

The natural expectation at this moment would have been for the team with vastly more resources and individual quality to take full control of the tie, yet the hosts were resilient.

Much like they did in games against Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, Copenhagen hung around and kept themselves within touching distance of their superior opponents.

They were given a deserved reward after 30 minutes of football when an equalizer arrived through Magnus Mattsson.

A fortuitous rebound fell to Mattsson on the edge of the penalty area and he hit a first-time shot with significant power beyond the outstretched arms of Ederson.

Mattsson could have doubled his tally minutes later, making space for himself inside the box once more, however he fired a shot over the bar from close range.

Manchester City, though, rode out this miniature spell of pressure from Copenhagen and regained the lead before half-time.

Bernardo Silva picked up the ball inside the box and he powered a shot low into the bottom corner of the net, just tucking inside the left post.

The second-half saw far fewer chances, although De Bruyne tested the hands of Kamil Grabara with a shot from distance in the 55th minute.

Grabara was again called into action when the nimble feet of Jeremy Doku waltzed beyond multiple challenges before curling a shot towards the right side of the net. Grabara, though, was equal to it again and denied the former Anderlecht star.

Erling Haaland has been slowly returning to fitness of late, but he too was denied by the impressive Grabara. In injury-time he met a cross on the six-yard line, and his header forced the keeper into another diving save.

However, there was to be late pain for the hosts as Phil Foden scored a third goal with the last kick of the game, handing the English club a 3-1 lead heading into the second-leg.