Manchester City 3-1 (6-2 agg) FC Copenhagen: Cityzens progress to quarterfinals after rampant first half display

Seeking progression to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League as the next step of the fierce race to retain their European crown, Manchester City welcomed FC Copenhagen to Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

MCI: Ederson: Gvardiol, Dias, Akanji, Lewis; Kovačić, Rodri; Álvarez, Bobb, Nunes; Haaland

CPH: Grabara; McKenna, Diks, Vavro; Jelert, Elyounoussi, Clem, Ankersen; Achouri, Froholdt; Óskarsson

The hosts made a quick start to the game, with their first chance extending their aggregate advantage just five minutes in to Wednesday’s clash. A corner from Julian Álvarez found Manuel Akanji in the penalty area, and his right footed volley found the back of the net. 

Just four minutes later, the Cityzens doubled their lead. Another curled corner from Álvarez found Matheus Nunes at the far post, but his effort rebounded off the bar and back into the path of the Argentine forward, who was at the edge of the box. His curled shot was too strong for Kamil Grabara to get hold of, and the ball was ultimately tipped into his own net. 

Embed from Getty Images

In the 14th minute, the hosts had another chance to increase their lead. A whirling cross from Oscar Bobb was headed straight to Josko Gvardiol at the far post, but the Croatian couldn’t get to the ball. 

The first chance for Copenhagen came in the 16th minute. The ball fell directly to the path of William Clem, but his fired effort went straight over the crossbar. 

In the 21st minute, a left-sided corner from Álvarez headed towards the far post, which forced Grabara to rapidly track back and tip his effort over the bar. 

Eight minutes later, the visitors got one back after a brilliant piece of play. Mohamed Elyounoussi found Orri Óskarsson on the left side of the penalty area, and he played a first-time flick back to Elyounoussi, who slotted home a right-footed finish past Ederson. 

In the second minute of stoppage time, the Cityzens had another dangerous chance to edge further ahead. A cross found Nunes in a dangerous position inside the box, but his effort was headed over the crossbar by Scott McKenna. 

Just before the half time whistle, City made it three. A long-ranged cross from Rodri found Erling Haaland inside the penalty area; he weaved around two Copenhagen defenders, sent Grabara the other way and slotted the ball tightly into the visitors’ net.

Embed from Getty Images

After a quiet start to the second half, the Cityzens had another close chance. A ball from Bobb found Sergio Gomez, who sent a low cross directly through the penalty area but nobody was at the other end to poke it home.

Just after the hour mark, Copenhagen had another chance to score. Denis Vavro angled an inviting cross from the right towards the near post; Óskarsson sent himself towards the ball but failed to make contact. 

Three minutes later, the visitors almost pulled back another goal. Roony Bardghji made his way through City’s defence and sent the ball towards Magnus Mattsson who attempted a close-range strike towards the goal, but Ederson was quick to react and pushed the ball away.  

In the 78th minute, Copenhagen came close once again. Mattsson exchanged a one-two with Andreas Cornelius, before his low-footed strike was deflected behind the net. 

Byens Hold created another opportunity just one moment later – Bardghji had two strong attempts at the edge of the home side’s box, but struggled to connect with the ball. The loose ball fell to the feet of Elyounoussi, who fired a right-footed half-volley far over the net.  

For the remaining spell of the game, the Cityzens were able to hold onto their possession, right up until the final whistle. Their 6-2 win on aggregate is enough to see them go into the quarterfinals and edge one step closer to repeating their European heroics of last season.