City rout Dinamo; Bayern thrash Hotspur in CL

ZAGREB (CROATIA), DEC 12 (IANS) | Publish Date: 12/12/2019 12:21:29 PM IST

Manchester City have wrapped up round-robin play in this season’s Champions League by routing Dinamo Zagreb 4-1, rallying from an early deficit thanks to a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick. Bayern Munich completed the UEFA Champions League group stage with a perfect record, beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 to clinch their sixth win in as many games and finish at the top of Group B.

In other Group C action which took place on Wednesday, Serie A side Atalanta booked their first-ever berth in the knockout stage of Europe’s premier annual club competition thanks to their 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo’s defeat, reports Efe news.

Man City had already clinched their spot in the tournament’s round of 16 and started the game with several players that are not regular starters, including defender Eric Garcia, goalie Claudio Bravo and midfielder Phil Foden.

In near-freezing conditions at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb, City came out sluggishly and paid the price in the 10th minute when lax defence by midfielder Ilkay Gundogan allowed Dinamo’s Damian Kadzior to send a perfectly placed cross into the area.

The goal briefly put Dinamo on course for a potential knockout stage berth, although the Croatian squad still had the tall order of holding Pep Guardiola’s men in check for more than 80 minutes.

Although the Citizens’ first shot on goal did not come until the 18th minute, Gabriel Jesus scored three times over a 20-minute stretch spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second.

The Brazilian’s first goal came on a controversial play in the 34th minute. With an injured Dinamo player lying on the turf, Jesus rose up athletically amid a pair of defenders and headed home a cross by Riyad Mahrez.

Jesus’ memorable night continued with a goal four minutes later off a cross from left back Benjamin Mendy, while Foden piled on for Manchester City with one final score in the 84th minute off a pass from Bernardo Silva.

For Dinamo (five points), a night that began on a high note ended with the club not only losing in a rout and being eliminated from the Champions League, but also failing to book a berth in the round of 32 of the Europa League, Europe’s second-tier club competition.

That spot will instead go to Shakhtar (six points), who started the day in second place behind Manchester City, but fell to third after their 0-3 home loss to Atalanta.

Manchester City, who are far behind Liverpool in the Premier League and may be starting to see the Champions League as a better bet for a big title in 2019-2020, won the group with 14 points.

Meanwhile, in the Group B match between Bayern Munich vs Tottenham Hotspur 3-1, goals from Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho were enough to see off Spurs, for whom Ryan Sessegnon scored what turned out to be a consolation goal on Wednesday evening, reports Xinhua news agency.

Even though both sides had already qualified for the knockout stage before kick-off, Bayern looked to seize control from the start, but it was Spurs who had the first chance of the game as Sessegnon tested Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the third minute.

It was a wake-up call for the hosts, as efforts from Benjamin Pavard and Thiago Alcantara forced Tottenham keeper Paulo Gazzaniga into action twice, before Serge Gnabry squared to Coman, who made no mistake to slot home from close range in the 14th minute.

It was Muller who put Bayern back into the lead just before the break, slotting home a rebound which ricocheted off the left-hand post from close range to make it 2-1.

After the restart, Bayern continued to control proceedings but had to wait until the 65th minute before Coutinho curled the ball into the top right corner to seal the points.

With the result, Bayern Munich top Group B with 18 points followed by Spurs (10 points), Olympiacos (4 points) and Red Star Belgrade (3 points).


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