Marco Rose’s Leipzig withstood Manchester City’s early dominance at the RB Arena to level after the break, leaving this round of 16 encounter finely poised.
Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the first half but had little to show for their early possession. The only attempt on target from either side in the opening 25 minutes came when Rúben Dias nodded a Riyad Mahrez corner straight at Janis Blaswich.
However, the visitors proved just how ruthless they can be in attack when Jack Grealish pounced on an under-hit Xaver Schlager pass before threading a ball into the area for the lively Mahrez, who sent a left-footed strike across the Leipzig goalkeeper and into the far corner.
City could have gone in at the break further ahead, but Rodri headed across the face of goal with Erling Haaland unable to turn the ball into the net.
Leipzig were a different prospect after the interval and half-time substitute Benjamin Henrichs spurned two chances to level in as many minutes. The defender sent a powerful header from Marcel Halstenberg’s centre narrowly over before firing wide with only Ederson to beat.
Shortly after the hour, the goalkeeper had to be alert to race off of his line to deny André Silva and then pulled off a stunning stop from Dominik Szoboszlai’s long-range curler.
From the resulting corner, Leipzig’s pressure finally told. Halstenberg’s high, hanging cross left Ederson stranded and was met by the leap of Joško Gvardiol, who sent a towering header past the helpless keeper.
City went closest to finding a winner in the closing stages but Blaswich was equal to İlkay Gündoğan’s low strike, ensuring the sides meet again in Manchester on level terms.
Marco Rose, Leipzig coach: “Two very, very different halves. It just didn’t happen in the first half; we just chased the ball and we were very bad when we had it. The second was quite different: we were better with the ball, won it back better and played how we had wanted to play.”
Benjamin Henrichs, Leipzig defender: “In the first half, we were lucky with the scoreline. We were braver after the break. It’s extremely bitter that I missed my chance. Those are the situations you take home with you; it will be a sleepless night for me as I should have scored or at least managed to square it.”
Pep Guardiola, Man City manager, speaking to BT Sport: “I’m happy about the whole game, not just the first half. It’s a competition in which many important teams are out. If people expect us to come here and win 4-0, I’m sorry. We’re not able to do this.”
İlkay Gündoğan, Man City midfielder: “We knew Leipzig would come back improved after the break. Surely they couldn’t be pleased with the first half. We knew they would try to apply more pressure, but then we lost the ball too quickly when we were in transition and conceded a bitter goal.”
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