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Manchester City Held to a 1-1 Draw by RB Leipzig in Round of 16 First Leg Clash

Manchester City drew 1-1 with RB Leipzig in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg clash at the Red Bull Arena.

Riyad Mahrez put City ahead with a clinical finish in the 27th minute. However, the Bundesliga side equalized midway through the second half when Croatian international Josko Gvardiol headed in from a corner.

City had to make three changes to their starting line-up with Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne feeling unwell, and Phil Foden dropping to the bench. Bernardo Silva was pushed further forward, while Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake were brought in.

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Despite controlling possession in the early stages, City had to be patient to create opportunities with Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker trying to stretch the pitch. The first moment of danger came in the 13th minute when a Mahrez corner picked out Ruben Dias but his header was straight at Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich.

Mahrez got the next sight of goal and made no mistake with his finish in the 27th minute. Grealish pounced on Konrad Laimer’s loose pass to feed Gundogan, and the ball wriggled through his legs to Mahrez, who drove a low shot into the corner.

City continued to push forward, and Grealish went close with an effort that curled just over the bar. At the other end, Leipzig struggled to create chances, and City’s defense remained solid. The home side began to look more dangerous following the introduction of substitute Benjamin Heinrichs.

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The Brazilian keeper, Ederson, was then called upon to keep out Werner’s low cross and then to stop Andre Silva’s effort after a jinking run. However, he was unable to keep out Gvardiol’s header from a corner in the 70th minute. City almost restored their lead immediately, but Blaswich was at full stretch to turn away Ilkay Gundogan’s strike and away from the onrushing Erling Haaland.

Despite both sides’ efforts, neither could force an advantage ahead of the second leg. Manchester City will return to the Etihad Stadium level with RB Leipzig for the second leg of their Round of 16 clash.

Fidelis Musamba

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