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Man City 3 Porto 1: Gundogan shrugs off coronavirus to lead City’s comeback win in CL opener with brilliant free-kick


ILKAY GUNDOGAN shook off the effects of Covid to provide Pep Guardiola with the perfect tonic.

The German international missed the first five matches after testing positive for Coronavirus on the eve of Manchester City’s opener.

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Ilkay Gundogan bags the pick of Man City’s goals to put them in front for the first time as they beat Porto 3-1[/caption]
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Man City sub Ferran Torres confirms Porto are slipping to defeat by adding a third goal for Pep Guardiola’s home side[/caption]
Raheem Sterling congratulates scorer Ilkay Gundogan as Man City prove they have the stomach for a fightback[/caption]

But the £20.8million midfielder showed he is back in rude health by curling in a 20 yard free-kick just when Porto looked set to take a point.

On his first start of the season, Gundogan also played a prominent part in the move which led to Sergio Aguero pulling City level from the spot in the first half.

And sub Ferran Torres put the seal on a good night’s work for Guardiola’s men with a super goal just five minutes after climbing off the bench.

It is just over nine weeks since City went out of last season’s Champions League in such disappointing fashion to Lyon.

Yet here they were again, starting out at Europe’s top competition for a tenth straight campaign – with just one semi-final to show for it.


By contrast Porto had a team consisting of only five players who have played in this competition before.

And like City, the Portuguese champions have had a patchy start to their domestic season.

But the visitors looked up for this one and they took a shock lead just before the quarter hour mark as City’s record signing Ruben Dias gave the ball away.

Matheus Uribe slipped a short pass to Luis Diaz who was just inside the opposition half and out on the left wing but set off towards goal.

The Colombian was allowed to run and run with no serious challenges coming in before going round Joao Cancelo and slamming a low shot past Ederson.

The lead did not last long though as Gundogan burst into the box and turned a low shot against the base of the post from a narrow angle.

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Sergio Aguero drills Manchester City level with a penalty on 21 minutes[/caption]
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Striker Sergio Aguero hails his prompt equaliser after Porto took a shock early lead[/caption]
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Porto ace Pepe for once gets on top of Raheem Sterling as the Man City attacker helped inspire a home win[/caption]

Raheem Sterling picked up the rebound and was blocked off by Pepe and the Latvian referee correctly pointed to the spot.

The VAR checked whether Gundogan had fouled Porto keeper Agustin Marchesin before having his shot but decided there was no reason to overturn the decision.

And Sergio Aguero’s pen had just too much power for Marchesin – as he scored his first goal since March 4.

That’s nearly eight months ago and the longest goal-scoring drought of the Argentine’s career – although to be fair he wasn’t playing for most of them due to the lockdown and Covid.

Having got themselves back in the game, City almost presented the visitors with another goal as Ederson’s sloppy pass completely missed intended target Eric Garcia.

Uribe had more time than he realised and fired his shot high over the bar – when he had plenty of the goal to aim at.


Garcia had been a surprise starter for City as he made it clear he wanted to join Barcelona in the transfer window – but his boyhood club could not come up with the money.

And the defence was once again looking shaky as Moussa Marega got in only for Kyle Walker to make a brilliant last ditch clearance.

Pepe tried to make up for his earlier blunder by earning his team a penalty – but his theatrical dive after the slightest touch from Cancelo was never going to fool anyone.

Even so, the visitors had caused City problems in the first half and Pep Guardiola would have wanted more from his players.

He almost got it soon after the re-start as Bernardo’s cross was only half-cleared into the path of Gundogan’s whose low shot brought a smart save out of Marchesin.

A free-kick from the German created a half chance for Rodri but the midfielder’s header drifted wide of the far post.

The game was becoming tetchy with the Portuguese constantly putting pressure on the officials to give decisions their way.

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Boss Pep Guardiola saw Man City survive awkward moments before roaring back for victory[/caption]
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Luis Diaz fires a superb solo opener for Portuguese giants Porto at the Etihad[/caption]
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Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan puts Man City in the lead with a brilliant free-kick on 65 minutes[/caption]

And the free-kick given against Fabio Vieira for a foul on Gundogan clearly angered them – but the German obviously didn’t care.

He stepped up and curled a delicious 20 yard effort over the wall and beyond Marchesin.

Kevin de Bruyne normally takes the free-kicks and penalties for City but in his absence the understudies had stepped up.

Both goalscorers were subbed off soon afterwards as they are still edging their way back to full fitness and Guardiola wanted some fresh legs against the lively visitors.

And it paid off handsomely as the two replacements – Phil Foden and Torres – linked up brilliantly within five minutes to put the game to bed.

Foden received the ball on the left and slipped a pass inside to Spanish winger Torres who skipped round his man before blasting a superb rising shot past Marchesin.

City almost added a fourth as Sterling and Pepe tangled on the edge of the box – with both men believing they had been fouled.

Rodri didn’t wait for the ref to decide as he thumped a long-range shot that was tipped onto the post by the visiting keeper.

Guardiola is still without key men De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte – but his team look to be warming up nicely.



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