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Man City Truise Towards Champions League Quarters In Copenhagen

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Manchester City closed in on the Champions League quarter-finals with a dominant display to beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 in the Danish capital on Tuesday.

Kevin De Bruyne’s early opener was cancelled out against the run of play by Magnus Mattsson.

Bernardo Silva restored City’s lead before half-time, but they had to wait until stoppage time to add further punishment for the hosts as Phil Foden turned home De Bruyne’s cut-back.

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The English champions have now won 11 consecutive games in all competitions as they remain on course to repeat last season’s treble of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.

READ ALSO: Tottenham Fight Back To Hold Man City In Six-goal Thriller

Copenhagen had not played a competitive game for two months since sealing their place in the last 16 by dumping out Manchester United and Galatasaray in the group stages.

That lack of match sharpness from the Danish champions showed in the early stages as City stormed out of the blocks.

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De Bruyne headed a glorious chance wide and Kamil Grabara denied Ruben Dias with a fine save inside six minutes.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper had no chance when De Bruyne broke the deadlock on 10 minutes with a clinical low finish from Foden’s pass.

READ ALSO: Ex-defender Mendy Sues Man City Over Unpaid Wages

Jack Grealish had been surprisingly handed just his second start of the year by Guardiola, but the England international lasted just 15 minutes before he pulled up with a suspected groin injury.

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The visitors barely skipped a beat with the enforced change as Jeremy Doku replaced Grealish and nearly set up a spectacular goal for Erling Haaland.

Doku cushioned Rodri’s pass into the path of the Norwegian, who contorted his giant frame to meet the cross acrobatically on the volley but the ball flew wide.

City had enjoyed nearly 80 per cent possession and barely let Copenhagen inside their half for the first 35 minutes, yet were made to pay for one moment of sloppiness.

READ ALSO: Ex-Man City Star, Benjamin Mendy Breaks Silence After Being Cleared Of R3pe

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Ederson’s poor clearance was straight into the path of Mohamed Elyounoussi and his blocked shot fell to Mattson to mark his debut with a stunning strike from outside the box.

City regained their composure and the lead before half-time.

Mattson was unfortunate as his attempted clearance ricocheted off De Bruyne and perfectly into the path of Silva to flick beyond Grabara.

The Copenhagen goalkeeper kept his side in the tie in the early stages of the second period with spectacular stops to deny De Bruyne and Doku.

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Grabara then twice won a head-to-head battle with Haaland in stoppage time.

City were keen to build up a comfortable advantage with the second leg falling between crucial Premier League games against Manchester United and Liverpool next month.

And they finally got the third goal that should have killed off the tie when the in-form Foden slammed home his 15th goal of the season as City extended their unbeaten run in European competitions to 21 games.

AFP

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EPL: Top Goal Scorers At Matchday 32

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After Sunday’s matches on matchday 32, here are the leading English Premier League,EPL, top scorers:

20: Haaland (Man City)

19: Watkins (Aston Villa)

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17: Isak (Newcastle), Salah (Liverpool), Solanke (Bournemouth)

16: Palmer (Chelsea)

15: Bowen (West Ham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

14: Foden (Man City), Saka (Arsenal)

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READ ALSO: Five-goal Haaland Crushes Luton As Man City Reach FA Cup Quarter-finals

12: Woods (Nottm Forest)

11: Cunha (Wolves), Nunez (Liverpool)

10: Gordon (Newcastle), Hwang (Wolves), Richarlison (Tottenham)

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Meet The Invincibles: See Three Football Teams Unbeaten In One Season

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Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen of 2023-24 stand on the cusp of greatness, with just 11 matches theoretically between them and a record undefeated season for a top-five European league team.

Of the 42 matches they have so far played this campaign, they have won 37, drawn five and lost a grand total of zero.

Bayer could win the Bundesliga for the first time in their history this weekend when they take on Werder Bremen, while they won their Europa League quarter-final first leg against West Ham 2-0 and face second-division Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25.

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Should their record stay unblemished across their remaining fixtures in all three competitions they will become the first side to go a full season undefeated both domestically and in European competition.

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It is a scenario few, if any, would have ever predicated at the start of the season, with German giants Bayern Munich having won the last 11 league titles and no Bundesliga team ever even completing a domestic league season without losing at least once.

In the history of the sport worldwide, many teams have gone an entire league season without losing, such as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal “Invincibles” of 2003-04, but to do it across multiple competitions is rarified territory.

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AFP Sport highlights three teams that completed a full season without tasting defeat across several competitions:

– Al Ahly –

Egyptian giants Al Ahly won the league and the CAF Champions League without any losses in 2004-05, but were denied from completing the treble only by a penalty shoot-out elimination in the Egypt Cup after their round of 16 tie ended in a draw.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Lagos Court Grants Emefiele N50m Bail

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That season in the league, they finished a staggering 31 points clear of second-placed Enppi SC and failed to win only two of 26 matches.

The dominant double was made all the sweeter by a CAF Champions League semi-final victory against bitter Cairo rivals Zamalek by an aggregate score of four goals to one.

– Preston North End –

One must go back to the 19th century to find such an example in the English game, indeed all the way back to the very advent of the English League in 1888.

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Preston North End won a league and cup double in the 1888-89 season, which saw them go undefeated through 22 league matches and claim the FA Cup final 3-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers at London’s Kennington Oval.

– Johor Darul Ta’zim –

Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim completed an undefeated domestic quadruple in the 2023 Malaysian season.

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With the domestic league and cup running from February to December 2023, Johor Darul Ta’zim won a staggering 37 out of 38 games on their way to claiming the country’s Super Cup, Piala Malaysia Cup, FA cup and league title.

Sadly, their domestic dominance didn’t translate to the bigger challenges of the Asian Champions League where they won three group games but lost three.
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BREAKING: O.J. Simpson, Ex-football Star Acquitted Of Murder, Ries At 76

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O.J. Simpson, the star NFL football player whose 1995 acquittal in the so-called “trial of the century” for the brutal murders of his wife and a male friend gripped the world, has died at the age of 76, his family announced.

On April 10, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer,” a message signed by the family said on social media site X.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Rivers Police Kill Gang Leader Who Murdered Rivers CDC Chairman

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Details later…

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