Injuries to Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva take shine off Manchester City Champions League 3-1 win

Staff Writers
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Jack Grealish limped out of Manchester City's Champions League last-16 clash in Denmark. (AP PHOTO)
Jack Grealish limped out of Manchester City's Champions League last-16 clash in Denmark. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Pep Guardiola has been left to rue injuries to Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva after Manchester City returned to Champions League action with a 3-1 win at FC Copenhagen.

Grealish, handed his first start in six matches, lasted just 21 minutes of the title holders’ largely straightforward last-16 first-leg success at Parken Stadium before being forced off with a groin problem.

Silva, who put City into a 2-1 lead just before the break with a fine flicked finish, took a knock to the ankle late in the game.

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The double blow comes after Josko Gvardiol missed the game with an ankle injury and Mateo Kovacic was also unavailable.

“It’s something muscular with Jack, his groin,” City boss Guardiola said.

“He felt it on the grass, started to complain. The players can feel it immediately if it’s muscular. It’s a pity, he’s gutted.

“He wanted to continue but we didn’t want to make the damage even worse. We’ll make tests tomorrow.

“Bernardo has a big knock in his ankle and Josko is out two to three weeks. Kova is ready to come back.”

The injuries took the gloss off what was a mainly comfortable night for City.

They took an early lead through man-of-the-mtch Kevin De Bruyne and should have led by more before Magnus Mattsson levelled after an Ederson error.

Silva restored the lead and Phil Foden gave the scoreline a more realistic look in stoppage time.

“It was really, really good,” Guardiola said.

“I’m so proud we played at that tempo. It was perfect.

“We were patient in the right moments but it’s not done. I know how difficult it is.

“It’s not decisive but a good result. Hopefully we can finish at home in front of our own people and go to the next round.”

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - FEBRUARY 13: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 first leg match between F.C. Copenhagen and Manchester City at Parken Stadium on February 13, 2024 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between F.C. Copenhagen and Manchester City. Credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

De Bruyne looks to be back in top form after missing five months with a hamstring injury.

“I’m getting there, feeling good and the level is good enough for the moment,” he said.

“I’m just trying to play good football and enjoy myself. It has been a long five-to-six months but I’m just happy to try to help the team win games.”

Asked about De Bruyne’s match-defining performance, City coach Pep Guardiola said, “The biggest players appear in the biggest stages”.

“It’s the moment of truth when you are in the last 16 of the Champions League,” he said.

Real Madrid secured their final 16 place with a 1-0 at RB Leipzig.

Madrid won courtesy of a powerful effort from Brahim Diaz early in the second half, while goalkeeper Andriy Lunin played a big role in the Spanish side’s victory with several stunning saves.

“We had our chances. In the end, it’s decisive to have a goal,” Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi told broadcasters Prime Video.

“Very bitter for us because we played well and today we weren’t a bad team.”

The second leg matches are on March 6.

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