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DOR 0-0 MCI: Mahrez MISSES penalty as Borrusia Dortmund hold Man City to a goalless draw

Another season when Manchester City finish the year as group winners in this competition. Six in a row now.

That is what Pep Guardiola will talk about. Avoiding the elite, notably Bayern Munich and probably Real Madrid, in the last 16 when that comes around in February.

Yet equally, he cannot be overly enthusiastic with what he is witnessing generally at the moment. Despite largely positive results, not all of their recent performances have been particularly glittering – and that is when Guardiola is at his most critical.

City might have been significantly better as the game wore on last night but were earlier close to being punished by Dortmund. Defeat would have left them in an uncomfortable position of potentially finishing second.

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As it was, they took the point required and missed another penalty in the process. Riyad Mahrez the culprit again, with Erling Haaland having come off at the break following a subdued comeback appearance at a famous old stadium he so adores.

Haaland moseyed out around 35 minutes before this all started, trailed by a camera that simply could not keep up with a man affectionately described as a racehorse by those who know him best. The return would remain understated.

The striker gently waved to one stand, who offered a few back in kind. Sat behind the away dugout, one youngster held aloft a homemade sign asking for a signed shirt, helpfully penned in Norwegian just in case Haaland had forgotten his German. The Norway flag and picture of the player in question may have given him a clue regardless.

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City had appeared pedestrian on the ball, perhaps wondering whether to stick or twist given a draw sealed top spot. Guardiola’s restlessness increased with each sideways pass, berating his defenders for not aggressively playing through midfield.

And defensively, it all felt a little ragged. Dortmund should have led 10 minutes before the break. Youssoufa Moukoko side-footed wide from eight yards after City – and more specifically Cancelo – had been carved apart. Adeyemi had Cancelo’s number, timing his run and squaring for Moukoko, the 17-year-old, who could not finish.

Jude Bellingham’s influence was growing, one tricky run, almost fashioning a chance for Moukoko. The movement of the young striker, the brightest attacking prospect in Germany, presented headaches for Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. Ortega gathered another shot from the teenager.

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Mahrez had seen one saved at Copenhagen earlier in the month and it happened again, Kobel comfortably beating the effort away to his right. Mahrez has failed to score four penalties this year alone and City have missed 25 during Guardiola’s reign. A quite astonishing statistic given the technical ability of those in this and previous squads.

ENOCH TANDOH

Tandoh Enoch is a Social Media Manager, Website Developer and Designer, Blogger, Content Writer and an IT Consultant . He is a creator and editor at Urbannewsgh.com, an online digital platform focusing on Credible and Timely news in Ghana and worldwide.

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