RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol headed in a 70th-minute goal to earn a 1-1 draw against visitors Manchester City in their Champions League round of 16 first leg on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old defender bagged the deserved equalizer with a towering header after City’s Riyad Mahrez had slotted in following a Leipzig mistake in the 27th minute.
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City have now drawn their last two games after being held 1-1 by Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Saturday, while Leipzig’s four-game winning run in the competition came to an end.
“In general I am really pleased,” said coach Pep Guardiola. “I had a feeling the game would be decided in the second leg. I have a lot of respect for Leipzig.
“Hopefully in three weeks we arrive in a good condition. We can do better. We have to adjust some things and to find a way to go through.”
Asked about a post-match huddle with his players, Guardiola said he told them to be proud of their performance.
“I said ‘why do you have your heads down? Heads up, it was good’.”
The visitors, aiming to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for a sixth straight season, were in complete control in the first half, with coach Pep Guardiola having made three changes to the City side that drew with Forest.
They went in front when Jack Grealish easily intercepted a weak Xaver Schlager pass on the edge of the box and played the ball through the middle for Mahrez to finish.
Rodri should have doubled their lead three minutes later when he was left completely unmarked at the far post, but his header sailed wide.
The hosts, who were outplayed in the first half and only had their first shot on target in stoppage time, came out swinging after the break.
They should have equalized when Benjamin Henrichs was left completely alone in the box before sending his low shot wide.
City keeper Ederson then palmed away an Andre Silva effort from close range before also denying Dominik Szoboszlai in the 69th as Leipzig poured forward.
The Germans were rewarded a minute later when Marcel Halstenberg floated a cross into the box and defender Gvardiol outjumped his marker to head in the equaliser.
In addition to his goal, Gvardiol frustrated Man City star Erling Haaland throughout the evening, as the centre-back kept the Norway international relatively quiet over the course of 90 minutes.
“Two different halves,” said Leipzig coach Marco Rose. “We were too passive in the first and just ran after them. The second was different, exactly how we had imagined it and we put them under pressure.”
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