Guardi­ola happy to avoid Bay­ern in last 16

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

PEP GUARDI­OLA ad­mits he is glad his Manch­ester City will avoid his ex-club Bay­ern Mu­nich in the draw for the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League.

City booked their place in the knock­out phase yes­ter­day with a slug­gish 1-1 draw at Borus­sia Monchenglad­bach as both teams fin­ished with ten men.

The point con­firms City will fin­ish sec­ond in their group with one game left to play.

Glad­bach are con­firmed in third – which means the last 32 of the Europa League – af­ter bot­tom side Celtic lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona, who win Group C.

Bay­ern will join City in the same pot when the draw for the last 16 is made on De­cem­ber 12 in Nyon.

The Ger­man gi­ants will also fin­ish sec­ond in their group af­ter their shock 3-2 de­feat at Ros­tov with Atletico Madrid pro­gress­ing as win­ners.

“In the last 16, all the teams will be tough,” said Guardi­ola. “Bay­ern Mu­nich, for ex­am­ple, are also sec­ond. The team who gets them is go­ing to suf­fer and I’m glad we won’t play them.”

Raf­fael’s goal for Monchenglad­bach mid­way through the first half was can­celled out by City’s David Silva on the stroke of halftime at Borus­sia Park.

Glad­bach then had cap­tain Lars Stindl sent off on 50 min­utes for a sec­ond yel­low card and sub­se­quent red.

But both sides were left with 10 men for the fi­nal half an hour when City had Fer­nand­inho dis­missed for his sec­ond yel­low af­ter pulling back Raf­fael.

This was not a con­vinc­ing dis­play from City, who looked a shadow of the side which stunned Barcelona 3-1 in Manch­ester three weeks ago.

For all their pos­ses­sion in the sec­ond half, their star-stud­ded at­tack failed to con­vert their chances.

But City are in last 16 for the fourth straight year and Guardi­ola was de­lighted to have pro­gressed.

“I know how hard it is to win away from home, we have to be so, so happy be­cause some big teams will not be in the sec­ond round,” said Guardi­ola.

“Hope­fully we can do well and qual­ify for the quar­ter­fi­nals.”

Guardi­ola said the Pre­mier League will be their fo­cus un­til their Euro­pean cam­paign re­sumes in Fe­bru­ary with their fi­nal match at Celtic now a dead rub­ber.

Glad­bach are win­less in their last six games, but punched above their weight to hold City at home, es­pe­cially hav­ing been routed by Guardi­ola’s side 4-0 in the away fix­ture last Septem­ber.

The re­sult re­lieves some of the pres­sure on coach An­dre Schu­bert, whose team is midtable in Ger­many’s top flight.

“Over­all, we are very happy with the third place,” said Schu­bert. “In the first half we played an out­stand­ing game and could have scored a sec­ond goal.” – AFP

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