NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Pep demands more from Man City despite away win

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“We controlled the game. Unfortunat­ely we were not clinical up front, it is something we have to improve in this competitio­n, we were not good enough in the box, we didn’t dribble and shoot enough.”

BUDAPEST — Manchester City moved to the verge of the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Borussia Moenchengl­adbach on Wednesday but coach Pep Guardiola (pictured) insisted his team still need to “be more clinical up front”.

A first half header from Bernardo Silva and a Gabriel Jesus strike in the second period of the last 16 first leg tie extended a winning streak by Guardiola’s high-flying side to 19 games in all competitio­ns.

Premier League leaders City camped inside the Gladbach half for most of the game, which was moved to Hungary due to Germany’s Covid-19 travel restrictio­ns.

Although dominant, City took time to break down a stubborn German defence, often foiled by the intercepti­ons of Algeria leftback Ramy Bensebaini.

While Guardiola said afterwards he was “pleased” with the result, he added City “have to improve” to challenge for Champions League honours.

“We controlled the game. Unfortunat­ely we were not clinical up front, it is something we have to improve in this competitio­n, we were not good enough in the box, we didn’t dribble and shoot enough,” Guardiola said. “In this competitio­n you have to be perfect to be sure you can go through,” he said.

Debutants in the Champions League knockout stages, Gladbach had been urged by coach Marco Rose to be brave against Guardiola’s side. France’s Alassane Plea was almost through on goal on 20 minutes after a rare counteratt­ack, but a nervy and deep-lying Gladbach eventually succumbed to mounting pressure in the 29th minute.

A sublime inch-perfect cross by Portuguese defender Joao Cancelo curled over the defence from the left to reach his compatriot Silva who flicked his close-range header past Yann Sommer.

“We tried to play simple and not make mistakes. It’s a good win for us, but it’s not over yet,” Silva told BT Sport.

“Every time when he plays (Silva) is an exceptiona­l player, he’s really good in the air, the goal was fantastic how he finished it,” Guardiola said.

The 26-yearold Cancelo, impressive throughout, nearly doubled the lead five minutes from the break but his shot from just outside the box pinged over the bar. —

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