Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku came off the bench to grab late goals and push Manchester City to a 3-1 victory at RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Facing Leipzig in the Champions League for the third straight year, City dominated from the start, Phil Foden slamming in the opener after some impressive lead-up play from teenage wing-back Rico Lewis.
Clearly outclassed in the first half, Leipzig struck back immediately after half-time, Lois Openda scoring after a sweeping counter attack to equalise.
But with Leipzig focused on talisman Erling Haaland, who scored five in 60 minutes the last time these sides met, it was the Norwegian’s understudy who scored the crucial goal, curling in City’s second just five minutes after being introduced.
Doku sealed the win with a goal in injury time.
Bullish in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with German champions Bayern Munich, Leipzig were timid in the opening half, repeatedly losing the ball on the rare occasions City gifted it to them.
Foden and Lewis terrorised Leipzig down the right flank, the two linking for the opener 25 minutes in.
Lewis found an onrushing Bernardo Silva, who played it back for the 18-year-old to find Foden, who hammered the his shot into the grass, the ball looping past ‘keeper Janis Blaswich and into the net.
City showed their quality, cutting through the stagnant Leipzig defence, Haaland going close twice while advancing from the left to close the half.
Marco Rose made no changes to his stuttering side at half-time but Leipzig emerged a different team, equalising just three minutes after the break.
Yussuf Poulsen threaded a pass to a sprinting Openda, who kept City’s Manuel Akanji at bay with one arm while squeezing his shot in off the post as a frustrated Pep Guardiola kicked the turf, cupping his face in his hands.
With Leipzig happy to sit and counter and City equally happy to control possession, Foden looked the most likely, Blaswich nearly caught out by his 64th-minute free-kick that bounced back off the crossbar.
Foden was taken off with 11 minutes remaining and replaced by Alvarez and the Argentinian World Cup winner would prove crucial, collecting a pass from fellow sub Doku and unleashing an inch-perfect shot into the top corner.
Doku got a goal of his own as the clock wound down, finishing off a City counter to seal the win for the visitors.
The victory was City’s first in three attempts in Saxony, having drawn and lost in previous visits to Leipzig.
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