Sloppy defending ended Manchester City’s winning run as RB Leipzig beat them 2-1, with Kyle Walker sent off for a rash challenge late in the match.
Having already secured top spot irrespective of the outcome in their last group game and results elsewhere, Manchester City succumbed to a defeat against RB Leipzig. The loss ends their seven-game winning run across all competitions.
Manchester City got the engine running as they controlled the game with their usual vigour. The only difference was Leipzig’s determination to hit them on the counter and a sloppy defensive performance from Pep Guardiola’s men. In particular, Kyle Walker and John Stones were disastrous, with the right-back seeing red late in the game.
Walker will now miss Manchester City’s first leg of the Round of 16 clashes, which will force Guardiola to tinker with his squad. Dominik Szoboszlai got the game’s first goal after being sent clean through and beating Zack Steffen with ease.
The hosts then scored a second goal, at which point it felt like the winner as Manchester City looked out of sorts in the second period. However, Riyad Mahrez pulled one back to open the game heading into the final phase. Walker’s red card then gave the German side the control, and they saw out a narrow victory.
2021/22 Champions League Group A final standings:
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) December 7, 2021
The draw for the knockout phase will come later this week, and Manchester City will be satisfied after finishing as group winners. On the other hand, Leipzig will now compete in the Europa League Round of 32 stage. Here is how Manchester City stars fared against RB Leipzig.
Zack Steffen: 8/10
The most alert player in the Manchester City backline, Steffen made some good judgement calls to stave off critical chances created by the Leipzig attackers. He could not have done much about either goal, as the defenders were to blame for the outcome.
Kyle Walker: 2/10
An already terrible night was compounded by a silly red card which means Walker will miss the first leg of the Round of 16 tie in February.
Kyle Walker is sent off for a wild challenge on Leipzig's Andre Silva… 😳
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 7, 2021
John Stones: 3/10
Another defender who had an awful time on the pitch. Stones let Szoboszlai run through on goal, leaving the defence exposed. Walker was equally suspect for the first goal, although it was Stones’s job was to mark the attacker. Culpable for the second goal, which eventually turned out to be the match-winner.
Nathan Ake: 5/10
Unlike Stones, Ake did not commit any major errors. Instead, he lacked the composure at the back, especially when his central defensive partner was having an off day.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6.5/10
Zinchenko capped his night with a fantastic assist, providing a deep cross for Mahrez to head home. He defended against the Leipzig attackers smartly and won possession in the middle to progress the ball further. A decent outing for the Ukrainian.
Zinchenko was often seen covering and helping Fernandinho out as the Brazilian produced a more leggy display.
Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10
A busy evening for the Belgian. With his incisive passing, De Bruyne kept knocking on the door and was in the mood to create those usual chances. He looked rusty as the game wore on.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
The German was a threat when probing forward, although he lost most of his midfield battles as the Leipzig midfielders took control of the central areas.
Riyad Mahrez: 7/10
— 90min (@90min_Football) December 7, 2021
Mahrez scored the only goal for Manchester City, which at the time seemed to open the game up. Before the strike, however, he was largely ineffective when attacking from the right side.
Jack Grealish: 4/10
Grealish failed the audition to play as a false nine for Guardiola. He moved to his customary left-wing berth when Sterling was introduced in the game.
Phil Foden: 7/10
Guardiola wanted to give him a good outing, and for 45 minutes, Foden tormented the Leipzig backline. He was taken off at half-time to preserve some energy ahead of the weekend.
Raheem Sterling: 6/10
Sterling could have scored a goal or two, but Manchester City failed to create major clear-cut chances despite all the pressure. The English international moved centrally to end Grealish’s miserable time playing the false nine role.
Cole Palmer: N/A
Palmer came on for De Bruyne late and had very little time to create an impact or earn a rating.
Ruben Dias: N/A
Dias came in very late to cover the backline as Guardiola wanted to see the game through without conceding any more goals.