Manchester City 3-0 Marseille: Champions League – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 26 PM GMT+0

City eased past a toothless Marseille to finish their Group C campaign in style

No sign of Pep ... but Jamie Jackson’s report has landed. And here it is! Thanks for reading. Nighty night.


Bernardo Silva’s verdict. “It was a good game ... we knew we had already qualified, but it is always good to finish with a good win ... we are happy ... it is a good start for us, we are into the last 16 and our goal is to do better than we did for the last three seasons ... everyone knows how important Sergio Aguero is for us, one of the best players to ever play for this club, and it’s good to have him back ... for a few games we have been winning and when you are winning it is always easy to go to the next, to the next, and win again, and win again, so we just want it to keep going ... we want to do well against Man United and keep winning.”

City finish Group C top with 16 points. Porto, the only team to take points off them, are second with 13, after beating ten-man Olympiacos 2-0 in Greece. Olympiacos will play in the Europa League come the new year; they end up with three points, just like Marseille, but edge it on the head-to-head.

FULL TIME: Manchester City 3-0 Marseille

City finish Group C in style. They didn’t need to shift out of third gear during that second half to romp past Marseille. A message sent around Europe that they mean business. Marseille were very poor, mind you, and crash out of Europe altogether.

90 min +2: As does the second. As has most of the match, to be honest.

90 min +1: The first of three added minutes elapses without incident.

GOAL! Manchester City 3-0 Marseille (Sterling 90)

Torres again down the right. He hits a low cross-cum-shot. Mandanda gets down to parry with a strong arm ... but the ball balloons up and hits his team-mate Alvaro in the chest. The unlucky ricochet tees up Sterling, who can’t miss from two yards.

89 min: Torres turns the engines on again, reaching the byline on the right and chipping into the centre. A melee is about to break out when the flag goes up. Torres is adjudged to have run the ball out of play. An incorrect decision, but no matter, because City soon come again and ...

87 min: Foden does. He whips over the wall and is this close to finding the top-right corner. Inches wide.

86 min: Torres turns on the jets and races inside from the right. He’s bundled over by a combination of Strootman and Nagatomo, just to the right of the D. Foden’s eyes light up. So do Sterling’s. Who’ll win the battle?

85 min: Matchday six in the group stages, huh.

83 min: Marseille knock it around the back for a bit, showing surprisingly little urgency. Maybe they want to concentrate on the league.

81 min: Porto are now 2-0 up at Olympiacos. The Greeks will nevertheless be heading to the Europa League, unless Marseille can find two goals in the last few minutes.

79 min: From the corner, Sterling skedaddles infield, left to right, and sends a daisycutter straight at Mandanda.

78 min: Torres romps down the right and chips into the centre, hoping to tee up Aguero. Balerdi gets in the road to concede a corner.

GOAL! Manchester City 2-0 Marseille (Aguero 77)

Foden takes. Nathan Ake meets the corner six yards out. He bangs a header downwards, straight at Mandanda, who does well to parry, but can only tee up the poacher supreme, Aguero. City’s star striker pokes the loose ball into the bottom right. Marseille’s goose looks cooked.

Sergio Aguero hits the second goal.
Sergio Aguero hits the second goal. Photograph: Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC/Getty Images


76 min: Aguero tries to release Sterling down the middle. Alvaro sticks out a telescopic leg to poke out for a corner, just in time.

75 min: Andre Villas-Boas makes his last roll of the dice. A triple change, using up all his substitute options. Gueye, Thauvin and Germain are replaced by Strootman, Benedetto and Marley Ake.

73 min: Marseille continue to hog the ball to very little effect. They’ve no options in the final third, unwilling to risk too many men upfield.

71 min: Marseille have enjoyed 62 percent of possession during the last 15 minutes. Much good it’s done them: Steffen has had nothing whatsoever to do.

69 min: Marseille commit a few men forward for the first time in a while. Rongier, meeting a right-wing cross, elects to eyebrow towards Sanson on the left wing instead of taking the ball down and having a pop. Very strange.

67 min: Meanwhile Marseille make a double change. Cuisance and Rongier come on for Kamara and Payet.

66 min: Aguero is back! He comes on for Mahrez.

Pep Guardiola gives instruction to Sergio Aguero.
Pep Guardiola gives instruction to Sergio Aguero. Photograph: Jon Super/AP


65 min: Mahrez considers taking up possession of a loose ball to the right of the D. Walker gives him the call to leave well alone, and steams in from nowhere to send an absolute screamer towards the bottom right. Mandanda does extremely well to react and parry clear. Nothing comes of the resulting corner.

64 min: Laporte clatters into Payet as the Marseille man tries to power down the right. He’s slightly fortunate not to go into the book.

63 min: Marseille continue to struggle to get out of their own half. They’re preparing changes.

61 min: Mahrez drives in from the right and takes a shot. Blocked. City are coming at Marseille from all angles.

59 min: City are getting closer and closer to a second, as Marseille commit more men upfield. They snaffle the ball and shuttle it forward for Foden, who has a dig from the edge of the box. Straight at Mandanda.

58 min: Torres works his way down the left and loops long. Mahrez, on the other flank, heads back into the centre. Foden, arriving just in time, sidefoots wide right. That would have been a picture.

57 min: Sakai whistles a lovely long pass down the right for Thauvin, who reaches the byline and cuts back into the middle. But there’s nobody in dark blue in the six-yard box, and Stones is able to clear.

55 min: Sterling, Mahrez and Silva race towards the Marseille backline with extreme prejudice. They’re three on two, in full flight. Pick the right passes, and City are in. Sterling slips right for Mahrez, who rolls down the channel for Silva. But the final ball is a bit too heavy, pushing Silva too wide, and he can’t do anything from a tight angle. Shame, because that was a lovely high-velocity attack.

53 min: You could cut diamonds with the frown atop Villas-Boas’s boat.

51 min: Marseille have to go for it now if they’re to have any chance of Europa League action in the new year. Payet causes a bit of bother down the right, Balerdi rippling the side netting with a snapshot.

49 min: On the touchline, Andre Villas-Boas throws a full tantrum after the goal. He’s fuming. His players were late out from the dressing room just before the restart; they were still metaphorically in there as City romped through them with ease.

GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Marseille (Torres 48)

That might be academic now. Silva slips wide right for Mahrez, who drives infield. He’s about to flick down the inside-right channel to release Torres, when the backtracking Germain does the work for him with a toe-poke. Torres fires the ball home from six yards. Easy as that.

Ferran Torres slides the ball past Steve Mandanda to score.
Ferran Torres slides the ball past Steve Mandanda to score. Photograph: Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA/Getty Images


47 min: A reminder that Marseille have to better Olympiacos’s result against Porto if they’re to reach the Europa League. Olympiacos would go through on the head-to-head if the Group C stragglers end on the same number of points.

City get the second half underway. They’ve made a substitution at the break, their second of the evening: Sterling comes on for Gundogan. No word as to whether it’s an enforced change or a tactical one.

Half-time entertainment. City fans may well enjoy listening to this.

HALF TIME: Manchester City 0-0 Marseille

Foden tries to squeeze a shot home from a tight angle on the left. Easy for Mandanda, and that’s it for the first 45. Not much of a game, if we’re being honest with ourselves ... but Marseille won’t give two hoots. Porto are winning 1-0 at Olympiacos. If both Group C matches finish like this, Marseille qualify for the knockout stage of the Europa League at the Greek club’s expense.

45 min: Marseille are giving as good as they’re getting now. In fact they’re the better side as the half draws to a close. They’ll be sorry to hear the whistle, which is coming in two minutes’ time.

43 min: Gueye chests the ball down to break into the box on the right, past Laporte. His powerful shot from a tight angle is well turned around the corner by Steffen. Nothing comes of the set piece.

42 min: City can only half-clear the corner. Sanson, to the left of the D, pulls a volley wide left of goal. This is much better from Marseille.

41 min: Thauvin opens up his legs down the right and fizzes low towards the near post. Stones slides in to concede a corner, with Germain behind him waiting to bash home from six yards.

39 min: Gueye is booked for cynically tugging at Gundogan as City poured forward with Marseille light at the back.

37 min: Looking back, we probably oversold this in the preamble.

35 min: Had the officials at the Midtjylland-Liverpool game been in charge here instead, we’d still be checking VAR for Payet’s ‘goal’.

33 min: Mahrez dashes across the face of the Marseille box, right to left, before spinning and pulling a low shot wide right.

32 min: Payet, buoyed by that finish, tries to loft the ball over Steffen from 40 yards. Steffen claims a flat, weak delivery. Had Payet caught that properly, the keeper, near the edge of his box, would have been in serious trouble.

30 min: Marseille put the ball in the City net! Sanson rolls a cute pass down the inside-right channel for Payet, who is clear in the box! He takes a touch then caresses a shot with the outside of his right boot, across Steffen and into the bottom left! But the flag goes up, correctly, for offside.

Ex-West Ham star Dimitri Payet curls his shot into the net.
Ex-West Ham star Dimitri Payet curls his shot into the net. Photograph: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images


28 min: Stones finally turns up for his shift.

27 min: Yep, Garcia hobbles off ... but Stones isn’t ready to come on yet. The ten men of City allow Marseille their first serious period of possession in enemy territory, amd for a second it looks like Thauvin is going to get the better of Ake down the right and breeze into space. Not quite.

25 min: Garcia is down with some sort of ailment. His left leg is being manipulated by the physio. Stones prepares to get a rare run-out.

24 min: Foden takes a smack from 25 yards. It flies 25 yards over.

23 min: City have enjoyed 70 percent possession so far. Marseille are really struggling to get out of their final third, never mind their half. But they’ve limited City to a couple of half-chances, so Andre Villas-Boas will be happy enough with his game-plan so far.

Phil Foden of Manchester City runs to take a corner.
Phil Foden of Manchester City runs to take a corner. Photograph: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC/Getty Images


22 min: This match has gone off the simmer. It was never on the boil.

20 min: Foden busies himself down the left. He’s tugged back by Sanson, who is slightly fortunate not to go in the book. There’s no real jeopardy here tonight, though, so the referee is disinclined to whip out the cards for the sake of it.


18 min: Walker reaches a ball he’d no right to keep in play down the right. He wins a corner with a whipped cross from the byline. Nothing comes of the corner, but Marseille can’t get out of their final third, and nearly pay when Gundogan and Laporte one-two down the inside left. Gundogan, hoping to break clear into the box, takes a heavy touch and runs the ball out for a goal kick.

16 min: Marseille look a wee bit more comfortable now. Mahrez probes down the right but Balerdi isn’t having any of it, taking the ball off him and sauntering away.

14 min: Payet slips a pass down the right for Sakai, whose delivery is poor and blocked. But Marseille come again. Payet whips in from the wing and finds Germain, six yards out. Only problem is, Germain wasn’t expecting the cross to get as far as him, passing Laporte and Garcia. But that’s what it did. The ball slaps artlessly off his noggin and out for a goal kick.

12 min: Gundogan curls a beaut in from the right. Laporte meets it, diving in, eight yards out, and eyebrows gracefully towards the top left. It’d have gone in, were it not for a little nick off Alvaro. City don’t get the corner they deserve.

11 min: Silva shimmies down the right and is unceremoniously upended by Germain. Free kick, out by the touchline, and a chance to pack the box. Up come Laporte, Ake and Garcia.

10 min: It’s all City in the early stages. Marseille are showing very little in attack and looking a little nervous at the back.

8 min: Mandanda stars again, literally this time, star-jumping to block Mahrez, who had been put through down the inside-right channel by Silva. Mahrez’s shot deflects over the bar, and nothing comes from the corner.

6 min: Mandanda, the ball at his feet, sells Torres, closing him down at speed, a wild dummy. A smooth turn, danger averted, the ball cleared. Such lovely skill from the keeper. When this sort of thing goes wrong, it goes wrong badly, and everyone piles on, so fair’s fair.

5 min: Foden again makes a nuisance of himself out on the left, nearly finding Torres on the edge of the six-yard box. Marseille do well to swarm the striker just before he can get his shot away, and clear.

Phil Foden in action against Boubacar Kamara of Marseille.
Phil Foden in action against Boubacar Kamara of Marseille. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA


4 min: Sanson and former Newcastle star Thauvin combine well down the right, the erstwhile Toon man attempting an ambitious whip across Steffen and into the top left. Steffen is wise to his game and claims with ease.

2 min: It was a slightly harsh hand-ball shout against Silva, the ball having been headed clear onto his arm, which wasn’t dangling around in a crazy way.

Marseille get the party started ... but only after everyone takes a knee of solidarity. There’s no room for racism. City are quickly on the attack, Foden crossing from the left, Silva handling six yards out. Peep!

VAR Is Ruining Football (pt XXVII in an ongoing series). A series of absurdly pedantic video reviews meant the Midtjylland-Liverpool match over-ran by 17 hours, banjaxing the build-up to this match on BT Sport 2. They probably did record an interview with Pep Guardiola, but there’s no time to show it. Say what you like about the banality of pre-match pressers, they still beat watching confused footballers standing stock still for minutes on end while faceless bureaucrats toil away in search of reasons to undo their good work and spoil everyone’s fun. Anyway, we’ll be off at the Etihad in a minute, City in their famous blue, Marseille in second-choice dark blue.

Manchester City make nine changes to the team sent out to beat Fulham last Saturday. Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez are the only players to retain their places. Aymeric Laporte returns after five games out, while Sergio Aguero makes the bench after a three-match absence with a knee problem. The US goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who has already pulled on a shirt for City this season in the League Cup against Bournemouth and Burnley, makes his Champions League bow.

The teams

Manchester City: Steffen, Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Ake, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Foden, Torres.
Subs: Stones, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Aguero, De Bruyne, Mendy, Joao Cancelo, Carson, Nmecha, Doyle, Palmer, Bernabe.

Marseille: Mandanda, Sakai, Alvaro, Balerdi, Nagatomo, Sanson, Kamara, Gueye, Thauvin, Germain, Payet.
Subs: Vanni, Strootman, Benedetto, Luis Henrique, Caleta-Car, Pele, Cuisance, Rongier, Ake, Khaoui, Perrin.

Referee: Halil Meler (Turkey).


This isn’t quite a dead rubber, but it’s a fixture gasping for air. Manchester City are already through, guaranteed winners of Group C, while Marseille are out. The French team still have a chance of making the knockout stage of the Europa League, however, and they’ll do that if they better Olympiacos’s result at home to Porto. A big ask, even if Pep Guardiola is likely to rotate his team ahead of Saturday evening’s crucial Manchester derby. We’ll not insult your intelligence by bigging this one up any further. Having said that: it’s on!

Kick off: 8pm GMT.


Scott Murray

The GuardianTramp

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