Manchester City Held to A Goalless Draw Via VAR Domination, Guardiola Explained Why He Benched Erling Haaland Against FC Copenhagen


Manchester City, which won its first three Group G matches and defeated Champions league minor FC Copenhagen 5-0 in their first meeting has failed to repeat the trend as they were held 0-0 by the Danish League club.

FC Copenhagen, a club struggling in the bottom half of the Danish league, has become the first team to end Manchester City’s scoring mania this season as the England Champions were frustrated to a goalless draw via timely video review decisions.

Manchester City
Video Review dominated Manchester City v FC Copenhagen Champions League match

Earlier, City midfielder Rodri had a brilliant long-range strike disallowed after VAR spotted a handball by Riyad Mahrez in the build-up.

Manchester City thought they had taken the lead after midfielder Rodri fired a brilliant long-range shot into the top corner from outside the area in the 11th minute of the first half.

However, in what was perceived to have become a common attitude, the Portuguese referee, Artur Dias was called to have a review of the goal.

To City’s chagrin, the referee canceled the goal for handball against Mahrez in the build-up.

Afterward, following another VAR review, Guardiola’s City was awarded a penalty after a free kick swerved into the box and knocked the outstretched arm of one Copenhagen defender, Nicolai Boilesen.

Manchester City
Mahrez’s penalty strike was palmed by the host goalkeeper.

Mahrez looked like the beneficiary of the penalty as he has been increasingly reliable from the spot but saw his strike parried away by host goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.

Manchester City
Sergio Gomez red carded

One of the VAR invitations also led to a red card for Manchester City defender Sergio Gomez in the 30th minute when he pulled back Hákon Arnar Haraldsson as the last man, obstructing the host’s quest to convert the opportunity to score at the atmospheric Parken Stadium.

With the productive Erling Haaland on the bench for the first time this season, the host managed to put Manchester City to a goalless draw for the first time since the season began.

Speaking after the match, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Explained his decision not to play Haaland.

Manchester City
Erling was benched for the first time this season.

Guardiola announced during his post-match press conference: “He finished the game against Southampton so, so tired and didn’t recover well.

“Yesterday was not good, today a little better but not perfect so we decide not to take the risk.”

More so, Guardiola believed Haaland was not the only City player to be feeling the effects of their unexpected Champions League match draw.

He added: “I thought about energy levels. Many players didn’t start because they are really exhausted with fatigue and some niggles.

“Phil Foden has also some problems and Bernardo Silva was so tired yesterday, he told us. The players I played felt better.”

Speaking on Manchester City’s performance against Copenhagen on Tuesday, Guardiola said: “To play one hour like that is tough. The width of the pitch made it tough to control.

“We had a lot of possession and in the last 10 minutes with Phil coming on I felt maybe we could break it, but the players gave absolutely everything.

“It’s a good point and we will take it. I’m so satisfied. Tomorrow we will regenerate and then we have two days to prepare to play against Liverpool.”

When asked about the goal that was ruled out by VAR following the handball decisions, Guardiola said “no” but added he “didn’t see” the handball.

Manchester City’s 10 points have already qualified them for the knockout stage of the Champions League Campaign, despite failing to score and having Sergio Gomez red carded in a frustrating VAR-dominated goalless draw against Copenhagen.

What’s Next?

Manchester City will go head-to-head with Premier League rival Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, 16th of October, 2022. The match will kick-off at 16:30.


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