Olympiakos 0-1 Man City: Phil Foden fires City into Champions League last 16

Match report as Manchester City reach the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the eighth successive season; Pep Guardiola's side are unbeaten in 15 group stage games, having won all four this season; Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero make returns as substitutes

Image: Phil Foden scored a fine winning goal for Man City in Greece

Phil Foden's first-half strike was enough to secure Man City's place in the Champions League last 16, beating Olympiakos 1-0.

If a 3-0 scoreline in the reverse fixture three weeks ago flattered Man City, then Wednesday's also did not tell the whole story, with the visitors dominating possession and Olympiakos having only two shots in the entire game.

Man City were mostly blocked by an inspired Jose Sa in the opening period, but a well-worked team goal finish superbly by Foden broke the deadlock and ultimately won the game. Olympiakos rallied slightly towards the end with their two efforts but could not find the equaliser.

It sends Man City into the knockout stages for the eighth successive year, with four wins from four group games this season as they search for their first Champions League title. Olympiakos stay third in Group C with qualification for the Europa League still within their reach.

How Man City reached the last 16

Man City players congrtulate each other at full time
Image: Man City are unbeaten in 15 Champions League group stage matches

Man City dominated the first half and Rodri almost started things off with a thunderbolt inside three minutes. A sublime switch of play from John Stones picked out the returning Benjamin Mendy on the left flank. His cross was cleared by Ruben Semedo, falling to the waiting Rodri but his thunderous volley went straight at Sa. Just after, another Mendy cross was sent wide by Bernardo Silva at the near post before Foden shot well wide from range.

The visitors continued to see the ball but sometimes looked disjointed in their play, however Gabriel Jesus lifted the attacking spirits with a superb effort just after the half-hour mark. It was a lovely throughball from Silva, allowing Jesus to drive into the area, but his effort was saved by an outstretched leg from the Sa.

Player ratings

Olympiakos: Sa (7), Semedo (6), Ba (6), Cisse (6), Camara (6), M'Vila (5), Rafinha (6), Drager (6), Fortounis (7), Pepe (6), Masouras (4).

Subs used: Vrousai (4), Bouchalakis (4), Nikolis (4), Soudani (5).

Man City: Ederson (5), Cancelo (7), Dias (7), Stones (7), Mendy (7), Gundogan (7), Rodri (7), Foden (8), Silva (7), Sterling (7), Jesus (7).

Subs used: Fernandinho (6), Aguero (5), Zinchenko (5), Doyle (n/a).

Man of the match: Phil Foden.

Man City eventually found the breakthrough five minutes later in a well-worked team goal. Jesus held the ball up well before slotting Raheem Sterling in down the left-hand side. The forward then played a backheel pass for the waiting Foden, who rifled an effort home with his first touch as City deservedly took the lead.

Also See:

Team news

  • Man City made five changes. John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Benjamin Mendy and Raheem Sterling all returned to the starting XI with Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker left out of the matchday squad, while Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte started on the bench. Fernandinho also joined them among the substitutes after recovering from illness.

Sa twice denied Sterling in the final throes of the half. The England international - handed the armband for the evening - sent an effort goalwards from just outside the area, but the Olympiakos goalkeeper leapt across to keep him out. It was a similar story in added time when Sterling curled a sensational free kick his way, but Sa flicked the fizzing effort over the crossbar.

The second half saw a more cautious approach from Man City, but they still had a few sights of goal. In the 65th minute, Joao Cancelo played a neat give-and-go with Jesus, before skipping over Semedo's leg and striking, but it went straight at Sa.

Not long after, Cancelo turned provider as he floated a cross towards the back post, but Foden nodded wide. The England midfielder then slotted Silva in down the right of the area, but the latter's cross could not be turned home by either Jesus or Sterling.

Olympiakos were determined to make it a nervy finish though with their only two shots of the game. The first saw captain Kostas Fortounis - who was the hosts' best attacking threat throughout - fire just wide of the far post. Mady Camara then sent a cross into the area but Pape Abou Cisse could only nod behind.

Man of the match - Phil Foden

Image: Phil Foden has now scored five goals for club and country this season

It was a confident performance from the young midfielder, who followed up his two international goals against Iceland a week ago with another in Greece. It was a well-taken strike too, and he should really have had another.

Foden has now scored five goals in his 10 combined starts for Man City and England in 2020-21, with a further two assists. He also continues the streak of when he scores, City do not lose.

Foden has now scored 10 goals for Man City in all competitions this year (excluding penalties).

Pep praises Man City performance

Ruben Dias is challenged by Kostas Fortounis of Olympiakos
Image: Ruben Dias helped Man City to keep a third successive clean sheet in the Champions League

Man City manager Pep Guardiola said: "Today we were much more aggressive to the goal. It is not easy when there are nine players defending. Our central defenders were outstanding - John Stones, it is not easy when you have not played for a long time.

"We put our wingers closer to the striker. All of them, Bernardo, Phil, Raz [Raheem Sterling], were so aggressive. Mendy and Joao were outstanding too, [Ilkay] Gundogan and Rodri as well.

"In general, the performance was of a top, top level. Unfortunately, we couldn't score a second and a third one or the game would have been completely different at the end. We came here to get to the last 16. We are there again and now we focus on the Premier League.

"We made an incredible group stage. Especially our two games away; the second half against Porto and the first half against Olympiakos at home.

"We will see tonight the result of Marseille and Porto. We made an incredible performance. Unfortunately, we could only score one goal, but the team is alive."

Opta stats - Pep's 100 per cent record

  • Manchester City have won each of their opening four games in a UEFA Champions League campaign for the second time, also doing so in 2017-18 when they won their opening five.
  • Manchester City have kept three consecutive clean sheets in major European competition for the first time since 1969-70 when competing in the Cup Winners' Cup (excluding qualifiers).
  • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has progressed from the UEFA Champions League group stages at all 12 attempts as a coach, the best 100% record of any manager.

What's next?

Man City host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm. They then travel to Porto in their penultimate Champions League group game on Tuesday; kick-off 8pm. Olympiakos face Aris in the Greek Super League on Saturday before travelling to Marseille in the Champions League on Tuesday; kick-off 8pm.

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