Pep Guardiola (Manchester City Manager) was seen giving his players a team talk on the pitch rather than inside the dressing room — a rare sight in the world of football. Even after dominating with 62 per cent possession and creating 12 chances in 90 minutes, Guardiola’s side failed to take an advantage back at the Etihad Stadium. Riyad Mahrez broke the deadlock as the clock struck the 27th-minute mark. A mistake from Leipzig’s defenders allowed Mahrez to get past Blaswich and get his 12th goal of the season.
In the second half, Leipzig shifted gears quickly to get back in the game. Leipzig had a golden opportunity to grab an equalizer within the first 10 minutes of the second half. With Leipzig on the break the young Hungarian attacking mid-fielder Szoboszlai slipped past the ball to Benjamin Henrichs who got his angles all wrong and sent the ball wide of the goalpost.
Leipzig eventually found the equalizer as Halstenberg whipped a cheeky cross from a short corner. With Ederson scrambling Gvardiol rose higher than everybody and headed the ball to put Leipzig on level terms. Man City tried to push for an equalizer but their efforts went in vain. In the dying moments of the game, City raised their voice for a penalty as Henrichs was clearly seen handling the ball in his box but the referee failed to spot the incident. Surprisingly this incident was not checked by the VAR team.
Former Premier League referee Peter Walton shed some light on this matter in the studio and he said, “I thought there was a handball offence there. The arm is in an unnatural position for that phase of play, the ball clearly strikes it from the angles we are seeing but the VAR did not check it. I have a monitor linked with UEFA that tells me when VAR is checking incidents. This particular incident wasn’t checked and I am surprised it wasn’t,”
Even Pep Guardiola made some witty comments about this incident. In the post-match press conference, Guardiola made his feelings clear: “Like I said, the goal for Gvardiol and the penalty, I didn’t see it, I didn’t see it so I cannot talk about it, but I know what happened.”
The fate of this match will be decided on 15th March as Man City will host RB Leipzig. For now, as things stand this fixture has become an open tie for both teams. A spot in the last eight is up for grabs for both teams. Man City will have an advantage as the second leg will be played at their home stadium. Also, City starlets Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte are likely to be available for that match.(ANI)