Porto advances in CL, Man City tops group after 0-0 draw

PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Porto advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League with a 0-0 draw against already-qualified Manchester City, whose point assured the English team a first-place finish in Group C on Tuesday.

The result suited both teams, though City created much the better openings at the Estádio do Dragão especially in the second half when defender Ruben Dias squandered a chance from a meter out and substitute Gabriel Jesus had a goal disallowed for offside against teammate Rodri.

Porto needed just a draw to join City in advancing and is guaranteed to finish in second place. Marseille beat Olympiakos 2-1, leaving them tied for points, and results in the last round of matches will determine which of those teams places third and drops into the Europa League.

City rested many of its first-team regulars like Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte, though a start for Raheem Sterling up front suggested the England international is currently not a first-choice starter under Pep Guardiola.

There was little action of note in the first half, save for a shot from Sterling from the left that was cleared off the line. At the other end, City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes was perhaps fortunate to avoid giving away a penalty for clattering into Otávio as he challenged the Porto midfielder for a bouncing ball.

The second half was much more open and City somehow failed to break the deadlock when Sterling latched onto a cross from the right and hooked the ball across the goal-line, only for Dias to kick the ball backwards as he stretched to volley home.

The ball fell to Ferran Torres, whose overhead kick was saved by goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín.

Jesus came on as a 71st-minute substitute and, eight minutes later, thought he had given City the lead when he tapped in from close range after his initial header was tipped onto the bar superbly by Marchesín.

However, the goal was disallowed because VAR spotted that Rodri was offside at the start of the buildup to the chance.

City won its first four games in the group, and Guardiola is delighted with how the campaign has worked out with one match left.

“In this period at the start of the season, this year especially, the Champions League is tricky because if you lose one or two games, or draw, always you have to go to the last game,” Guardiola said. “In this COVID situation and maybe you have injuries, it is a risk.

“But we have done an incredible group stage. I know it is a disaster when you are not able to (qualify). We know in other groups, some important, incredible teams are having difficulties to qualify.”

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