By Simon Evans
Manchester: Gabriel Jesus scored a 76th-minute winner as Manchester City beat Paris-Saint Germain 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday (Thursday) to take their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Group A winners.
PSG also advanced to the last 16 thanks to Leipzig’s 5-0 win over Club Brugge.
Kylian Mbappe fired PSG into a 50th-minute lead, drilling the ball home at the back post after Lionel Messi’s cross had deflected off Kyle Walker into the French forward’s path.
City drew level when Raheem Sterling poked home at the back post after a lovely ball from Rodri had set up Walker for a trademark low cross.
Riyad Mahrez created the winner, floating a ball to Bernardo Silva at the far post and the Portuguese midfielder showed a deft touch to cushion the ball to Jesus who picked his spot.
With one round of games remaining, City lead Group A on 12 points with PSG on eight and Leipzig and Brugge, both on four points, left to compete for third place and a spot in the Europa League.
Guardiola praised the way his team reacted to going a goal behind.
“It is a good lesson. When you are losing you have to continue. We knew a draw was a good result for us, but we won,” said the former Barcelona coach.
“Always I believe with their forwards, the further they are from our goal the safer we are. Look at the action of Neymar when he missed the shot. They found that from nothing. We have to defend as a team. I thought we were brilliant today,” he said.
Elsewhere, second-half goals by Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah earned a below-strength Liverpool a 2-0 win over Porto to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group B.
UEFA Champions League matchday five results
- Dynamo Kiev 1 Bayern 2
- Villarreal 0 Manchester United 2
- Chelsea 4 Juventus 0
- Barcelona 0 Benfica 0
- Sevilla 2 Wolfsburg 0
- Malmo 1 Zenit St Petersburg 1
- Lille 1 RB Salzburg 0
- Young Boys 3 Atalanta 3
- Besiktas 1 Ajax Amsterdam 2
- Inter Milan 2 Shakhtar Donetsk 0
- Manchester City 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1
- Liverpool 2 Porto 0
- Sheriff Tiraspol 0 Real Madrid 3
- Club Brugge 0 RB Leipzig 5
- Atletico Madrid 0 AC Milan 1
- Sporting Lisbon 3 Borussia Dortmund 1
Porto, who started the day second in the group behind already-qualified Liverpool, wasted numerous first-half opportunities and were made to pay a heavy price.
Their record against Liverpool now stands at played 10, drawn three and lost seven.
Liverpool, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson rested, went ahead through Thiago’s stunning low strike in the 52nd minute before Salah made the points safe with a clinical finish in the 70th.
Juergen Klopp’s side have a maximum 15 points from their five matches while Porto hung on to second place with five points thanks to Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 home defeat by AC Milan.
Porto, who have five points, host Atletico (four points) in their final match in the group.
Earlier, Sebastien Haller continued his Champions League scoring spree with two second-half goals as Ajax Amsterdam came from behind to beat Besiktas 2-1 and clinch top spot in Group C.
Haller came off the bench at the start of the second half and netted goals in the 54th and 69th minutes as Ajax overturned a half-time deficit to keep up their 100 per cent run in the group.
The 27-year-old Haller has nine goals in five games in the group phase, tied with Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League scoring charts.
The Ivory Coast striker has now scored in his first five Champions League matches, a feat only previously achieved by Alessandro Del Piero, Diego Costa and Erling Haaland. He is the first player to score nine goals in his first five matches in the competition.
“I just tried to keep my focus, stay in the game and, yes, be important for the team,” he told Dutch television.
Besiktas, who have lost all five of their group matches, went ahead after Ajax fullback Noussair Mazraoui handled the ball and Rachid Ghezzal tucked away a 22nd-minute spot kick.
But Ajax did not take long to impose their supremacy and equalised after a long pass out of defence from Lisandro Martinez set Nicolas Tagliafico away down the left wing and his square ball provided an easy conversion for Haller.
Ajax’s winner came from Dusan Tadic’s free kick, initially falling to Martinez who miss-hit his shot but Haller stuck out a lanky leg to steer the ball home.
Haller had the ball in the net in stoppage time but his teammate David Neres was offside to deny him a hat-trick.
Ajax, who rested several regulars in Wednesday’s game, can complete a full house of wins when they conclude the group campaign at home to Portuguese side Sporting on December 7 with both sides already safely through to the knockout stage. The Lisbon club upset Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to send the Germans into the Europa League.
Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol ensured the Spanish giants remained top of the group and gave Inter Milan their first knockout stage appearance in more than a decade.
Edin Dzeko had earlier scored twice in the space of six second-half minutes to earn Inter a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at San Siro.
The Bosnian swept home a finish after 61 minutes to give Inter a deserved lead after they had been left frustrated by two disallowed goals and a string of missed opportunities.
Dzeko did not need long to double his tally, heading in an inviting Ivan Perisic cross to mark his 50th goal in European club competitions.
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