Copenhagen 1-3 Manchester City: Grealish withdrawn while De Bruyne stars at Parken

Manchester City travelled to FC Copenhagen’s infamous Parken stadium on Tuesday to resume their defence of the UEFA Champions League title – against a side that had not played a match since the Danish Superliga paused for a winter break on the first weekend of December.

CPH: Grabara; Diks, McKenna, Vavro, Jelert; Mattsson, Falk, Gonçalves; Achouri, Claesson, Elyounoussi

MCI: Ederson; Aké, Dias, Stones, Walker; Silva, Rodri; Grealish, De Bruyne, Foden; Haaland

Manchester City looked to assert their dominance against their Danish opponents from the very start of Tuesday’s clash, with Kevin de Bruyne ghosting into the box and slotting home into the far corner after receiving a well-worked pass from Phil Foden on the right flank.

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But while the Cityzens had enjoyed a strong start, a blunder from Ederson would grant Copenhagen a lifeline. A dreadful clearance was pounced upon by Magnus Mattsson, restoring parity on his club debut with ten minutes remaining before the interval.

The visitors had also been forced into an early substitution, with Jack Grealish withdrawn after sustaining an apparent muscle injury in a tussle for the ball with Diogo Gonçalves.

But Bernardo Silva was on the scene and able to regain Manchester City’s lead just before the break, nestling a tidy flicked effort past Kamil Grabara after a deflected pass from De Bruyne fell to the Portuguese international.

The Belgian would be involved yet again in the dying minutes of the match, ensuring the Cityzens take a two-goal buffer back to the Etihad Stadium as his cutback pass was driven home by Foden.

The return fixture will see Copenhagen fight to overcome the deficit at the Etihad Stadium on March 6 – but first, Manchester City must topple the likes of Chelsea, Brentford, Bournemouth and Manchester United in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s men will also look to progress past Luton Town in the Emirates FA Cup.