City adapt to artificial turf and show Champions League title defence is genuine with emphatic win as Barca flex muscles


Title holders Manchester City and five-time winners Barcelona have maintained their perfect start to the Champions League.

City prevailed 3-1 at Switzerland’s Young Boys thanks to a double from goal-machine Erling Haaland after Manuel Akanji’s opener.

They top Group G ahead of RB Leipzig who beat Crvena Zvezda by the same score.

Barca won 2-1 in Group H, with Ferran Torres and Fermin Lopez on target against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Porto sit second in that group, having recovered from falling a goal behind to prevail 4-1 at Royal Antwerp.

City and Barca will clinch their place in the knockouts if they win the reverse fixtures in a fortnight.

Paris Saint-Germain beat AC Milan 3-0 to return to the top in a tight Group F, where they are two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle after Dortmund won 1-0 at St James’ Park.

Group E also remains close, with Feyenoord the new leaders after a 3-1 victory against Lazio.

Atletico Madrid lie second after twice coming from behind in a 2-2 draw at bottom side Celtic, who could face UEFA sanctions after a number of their supporters displayed Palestine flags during the game.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made seven changes in Bern and it took the reigning champions until the 48th minute to take the lead on the unfamiliar artificial turf.

Young Boys goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi palmed Ruben Diaz’s header against the crossbar but Akanji was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

The Swiss hosts were level four minutes later when Meschack Elia lobbed stranded goalkeeper Ederson.

Haaland restored City’s lead with a 67th-minute penalty before he smashed home his 37th Champions League goal in the closing stages.

“It was a difficult game, a different challenge for us with the surface, the weather and the environment we’re in that they are used to,” City defender Rico Lewis told TNT Sport.

“But the team are so good at adapting and we got the job done.”

In Barcelona, Torres opened the scoring in the 28th minute after a volley from Lopez crashed off the post, the goal standing after a lengthy video review.

The highly rated Lopez had more luck eight minutes later when his shot from the edge of the area went in off the upright.

Erling Haaland adds another two goals to his collection ????

37 goals in just 33 Champions League appearances.
13 in 13 for Manchester City in the competition.


— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) October 25, 2023

“We made a couple of errors but in general I’m happy with the quality of our play. We could have won more comprehensively,” Barca coach Xavi said.

“I’m thrilled with (Lopez) in general. He’s a valuable guy to us. He’ll be in this Barcelona team for years, and I don’t say that lightly.”

PSG rebounded well from their 4-1 defeat in Newcastle, Kylian Mbappe opening the scoring with a solo effort in the 32nd minute.

Randal Kolo Muani poked home the second early in the second-half and Lee Kang-in netted a late third against struggling Milan.

Newcastle were brought down to earth by Dortmund, who got their first goal of the campaign through Felix Nmecha shortly before halftime.

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