Mahrez scores but Man City held to 1-1 draw by RB LeipzigCity would be disappointed to not secure a win against Leipzig. Author : Arjun Singh
In a thrilling Round of 16 first-leg match of the UEFA Champions League held on 23rd February 2023 at Red Bull Arena Leipzig, Manchester City faced off against RB Leipzig in a clash of the titans. Man City were heavy favorites entering match day but Leipzig showed they shouldn't be underestimated. The match was a roller coaster ride, with both teams showcasing their skills and tactics, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The match started with Man City dominating the first half, controlling the game and creating chances. Their efforts paid off when Riyad Mahrez scored in the 27th minute, giving them a well-deserved lead. RB Leipzig tried to get back into the game but was unable to break down City's defense, and the first half ended with the scoreline in favor of Man City.
The second half saw RB Leipzig come back stronger, with more attacking intent and energy. They pressed hard and finally managed to get a deserving goal in the 70th minute, with Josko Gvardiol scoring a powerful header off a short corner kick. The rest of the match saw both teams pushing hard for a winning goal, but the scoreline remained 1-1, resulting in a draw.
But there was a controversial juncture in the dying moments of the game that could have changed the result in favor of City. In stoppage time, RB Leipzig's Benjamin Henrichs appeared to handle the ball, but the video assistant referee (VAR) Pol van Boekel decided not to award a penalty. The referee, Serdar Gozubuyuk, did not even refer to the pitch side monitor, much to the dismay of Manchester City, who felt that they were denied a clear handball decision. The manager of Man City, Pep Guardiola may have been frustrated by the decision but when asked about it in the post-match interview, he simply shrugged his shoulders.
When interviewed after the match, Guardiola revealed what he said to his players after the game, “They had their heads down and I said, ‘Why not have heads up?’ The game was really good. We played how we should play.” The match showcased the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, with Man City dominating the first half and RB Leipzig coming back stronger in the second. The draw leaves the tie open, with both teams having a chance to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
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The two teams will meet again on March 15, 2023, for the second leg, with everything to play for. The match promises to be another enthralling encounter, with both teams looking to secure a spot in the next round of the competition. Man City will be looking to not repeat the mistakes of the first leg whereas Leipzig would be giving their all to win at the Etihad stadium next time.