Porto 0 Man City 0: Gabriel Jesus has goal disallowed in stalemate for wasteful Citizens
1st December 2020

JOB done for Pep Guardiola as Manchester City secured top spot in their group.

But it was a night that summed up their frustrating season so far as once again they failed to turn their total domination into goals.

City should have won at a canter but found home keeper Augustin Marchesin in outstanding form.

Guardiola said at the weekend that despite their 5-0 win over Burnley, he needs his forwards Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to be scoring goals.

Well both ended the night empty handed once again – thanks to a combination of the Porto number one and the VAR.

Still, the positive for Pep is that he can give his players a rest next week when they face Marseilles.a t the Etihad.

And how important could that be with the Manchester derby at Old Trafford looming just three days later?

While City’s qualification for the knock-out stages was already secure, Porto just needed a point to join them in the last 16.

And that was clear right from the start with Sergio Conceicao’s side happy to sit deep and let the visitors try to break them down.

Porto had caused City problems when they met at the Etihad back in October but they showed little ambition here.

Yet their gameplan was almost smoked when defender Malang Sarr slid in and appeared to take the legs of Sterling in the box.

Dutch ref Bjorn Kuipers did not see an offence and – perhaps surprisingly – the VAR did not feel it warranted a spot-kick either.

A sweeping counter attack from City saw Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden link up to create a chance for Ferran Torres but Augustin Marchesin got down well to deny him.

The Porto keeper did not have many shots to save – but was having a busy night all the same. In the first half he had more touches of the ball than any of his team-mates.

City were looking to secure the point they needed to ensure top spot in the group – but were perhaps lacking their usual cutting edge.

Bernardo pulled out a rabona to sling over a cross from the right but it did not quite drop for Sterling  on the edge of the box.

A ball over the top from Fernandinho – who was starting his first game in two months after injury – put Sterling clear but the ball would not drop and Sarr was able to get a boot in.

The England ace had not scored in five games before this and looked determined to put that right.

He jinked in from the left hand side and sent over a low cross-shot which was dummied by Fernandinho but hoofed off the line by Zaidu Sanusi.

The home side were still not showing much ambition – but were defending for their lives and were willing to use any method of stopping the visitors.

The best chance of the night came just before the hour as Foden’s great ball set Sterling clear but Marchesin was out quickly to deny him.

The rebound fell nicely for Ferran Torres but he dallied too long and allowed Chancel Mbemba to get back and clear..

Porto had another huge let off as Sterling’s deflected cross looked certain to be touched in at the back post by a stretching Ruben Dias but he could only divert the ball backwards.

Torres improvised brilliantly with an overhead kick but once again Marchesin was in the right place to keep it out.

The keeper got down low to save another effort from Bernardo – who would have loved a goal on his return to Portugal.

He made yet another stop to deny Garcia’s close range effort and then reacted superbly tipped a Jesus header from Bernardo’s cross onto the bar.

This time the rebound fell to the Brazilian who tapped home – only for the VAR to rule this one out for an offside earlier in the move.

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