Phil Foden was the star of the show as Manchester City defeated Olympiacos 1-0 to qualify for the knockout stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League.
It was a one-way affair throughout as Manchester City dominated possession and controlled the game from start to end, with Olympiacos hardly getting a sniff in Piraeus. Indeed, the hosts did not have a single shot on goal, nor they managed to touch the ball in the Manchester City box, until the 88th minute (!).
At the other end, though, Pep Guardiola’s men kept peppering Jose Sa with shot after shot, taking aim at the goal on no less than 22 occasions. However, Phil Foden’s strike in the 36th minute, after some brilliant interplay and lovely backheel from Raheem Sterling was the only time that the Cityzens found the back of the net.
Ilkay Gundogan had a good chance, but blazed his effort wide, while Bernardo Silva forced a save from the Olympiacos goalkeeper as the second goal eluded Manchester City. Nonetheless, Foden’s strike was more than enough to see them through to the Round of 16 after just four group matches. And here’s how we rated the performances of the Manchester City stars on the evening.
Ederson Moraes: 6/10
Pretty much a spectator at the Karaiskakis Stadium as the Brazilian international had nothing to do with the hosts hardly getting on the ball to trouble him. They had two shots at goal, neither of which were on target. One of the easiest clean sheets of his career.
Joao Cancelo: 7.5/10
Joao Cancelo vs Olympiacos:
90 Minutes Played
60 Accurate Passes
83% Pass Accuracy
2 Key Passes
1 Clearance#MCFC | @ManCity | #OLYMCI pic.twitter.com/lCAwtl1zA9
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) November 25, 2020
Starting at right-back as Kyle Walker was afforded a rest, Cancelo continued his excellent start to the new season. Was solid at the back whenever needed and provided a constant outlet down the right flank, getting forward at will, hitting dangerous crosses, while himself testing the Olympiacos goalkeeper on an occasion or two.
John Stones: 7/10
Making his second start in a row in the Champions League, the former Everton man showed signs of growing back in confidence. Kept things neat and tidy when on the ball and was solid off of it, although he wasn’t tested a great deal by the Greek outfit. Won three aerials, while also making two interceptions and three clearances.
Ruben Dias: 7/10
Showed once again why he has become City’s most important defender in a short time after arriving at the club. Marshalled the backline throughout and oozed confidence and composure each time he was on the ball. Will have sterner tests, but continues to grow in stature with each passing game.
Benjamin Mendy: 7/10
Starting his first game for Manchester City since early October, the Frenchman enjoyed a rather straightforward outing on Wednesday. Showed good game intelligence to pick his moments to get forward and did so with purpose, delivering some inviting crosses into the box. Misplaced just one pass all game, while making two key passes.
Bernardo Silva: 6.5/10
Preferred over Kevin De Bruyne in the middle of the park in Greece, Silva offered a lot of industry and work-rate off the ball, but could not make the desired impact going forward. Did complete two dribbles and two key passes, but is nowhere near his best.
Almost scored a screamer early in the game with a brilliant first-time effort. Kept things ticking with his accurate distribution, misplacing just six of his 100 attempted passes, while creating one chance as well. Off the ball, pretty solid although the opposition did not offer that much of a threat.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7.5/10
Back into the starting lineup for the Champions League clash, the German international was his usual assured self in the middle of the park. Almost everything positive City created went through him as Gundogan had the most touches of the ball (128) and completed the most number of passes (100) on the night, while completing four tackles as well. Played a key role in the lead-up to the opening goal.
Phil Foden: 8/10
Phil Foden’s game by numbers vs. Olympiacos:
81% pass accuracy
75 total touches
6 shots (2 on target)
4 chances created
3 successful take-ons
Evolving into one of the side’s most important players. ? pic.twitter.com/vYhUw80k8c
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 25, 2020
Reinstated to the starting XI, the England international showed why he is rated as one of the most talented youngsters in the country with a fine display. Scored the only goal of the game with a brilliant shot in the first half and continued to be a thorn in the side for the visitors as he completed three dribbles and four key passes – the most by any player on the night. Deserves to start more games.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
Worked hard and looked bright in bits in the attacking third, while also being involved in the move to the only goal of the game. However, he failed to offer a direct threat to the hosts’ goal before making way for Sergio Aguero.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
Captain of the side on the night, Sterling looked in the mood from the get-go, driving at the Olympiacos defence with intent. Set his compatriot Foden up for the goal with a delightful backheel pass. Showed good understanding with the rest of his attacking partners, although he could not help his team add to the scoreline.
Replaced Rodri for the final fifteen minutes. Solid upon his return from injury.
Riyad Mahrez: 6/10
Came on for Sterling in the 76th minute. Bright cameo, as he got involved positively in attacks.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: N/A
On for Mendy with a little over ten minutes left. Ensured there were no slip-ups.
Sergio Aguero: N/A
Got some important minutes as he steps up return from injury.
Tommy Doyle: N/A
Sent on in place of Gundogan in the 86th minute.
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