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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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HomeSportsMan City, PSG and Real Madrid among Champions League qualifiers

Man City, PSG and Real Madrid among Champions League qualifiers

Manchester City beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Wednesday but both clubs qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, along with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Sporting Lisbon. Gabriel Jesus tapped in from Bernardo Silva’s deft knockdown on 76 minutes to settle an absorbing match at the Etihad after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Kylian Mbappe’s goal.

Before Jesus sent the crowd wild in Manchester, Neymar shot wide to blow a golden chance to put the Parisians ahead. Lionel Messi had a low-key game and Sergio Ramos, named among the substitutes, was not called on to make his PSG debut.

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Pep Guardiola’s City, who were the beaten finalists last season, are guaranteed of winning Group A, while PSG qualified in second place despite the defeat because RB Leipzig thrashed Club Brugge 5-0 in Belgium.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino, in the city where he is being linked with the vacant Manchester United job, insisted his expensively-assembled side were showing improvement.

“We have to improve,” added Pochettino. “I am happy in the process. Things are better than one month ago and much better than two months ago. Little by little the team is going to improve.” About the United rumours, the former Tottenham coach said, “We are living in a business that rumours are there, sometimes positive, sometimes negative.”

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Karim Benzema scored just hours after being found guilty by a French court in a blackmail case as Real Madrid eased past Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 to reach the knockout stage. The French striker notched his team’s third goal of a confident display in Transnistria after David Alaba’s free-kick and Toni Kroos’s strike, as Real took revenge for their shock 2-1 loss to Sheriff in Madrid earlier this season.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said the court verdict, and the one-year suspended jail sentence Benzema received for his part in blackmailing former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex-tape, had not affected the striker.

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