RB Leipzig improved in the second half to earn a draw against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.
Manchester City failed to capitalise on their early dominance as Josko Gvardiol salvaged a 1-1 home draw for RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League last 16.
Pep Guardiola’s side piled the pressure on in the first half of the first leg at Red Bull Arena and Riyad Mahrez fired City into a deserved 27th-minute lead on Wednesday.
But City’s control wavered in the second period as substitute Benjamin Henrichs missed two great chances before Gvardiol earned a share of the spoils with a thumping header after 70 minutes.
Guardiola will be left rueing what could have been after an impressive display in the opening half, leaving it all to play for in the March 14 return leg at Etihad Stadium.
City monopolised possession in the opening stages but created little without absent chief creator Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the Germany trip through illness.
That pressure soon told, though, as Ilkay Gundogan punished a wayward Xaver Schlager pass to find Mahrez, who arrowed into the bottom-right corner from outside the area.
Rodri headed narrowly wide and Jack Grealish blazed over as City threatened to further their advantage, with Leipzig fortunate to go in at half-time just a goal down.
Henrichs should have levelled after the interval, first wastefully heading over before dragging a glorious opportunity wide to the right of Ederson, who denied a fizzing Dominik Szoboszlai strike soon after.
The much-improved Leipzig grabbed a deserved equaliser from Marcel Halstenberg’s resulting corner as Gvardiol powered home, with City’s appeals for a foul falling on deaf ears.
Janis Blaswich then denied a whipped Gundogan effort destined for the bottom-right corner, ensuring it remains all to play for in the return leg in England.
RB Leipzig player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Janis Blaswich – 7/10 – Stood little chance for Mahrez’s opener but made a key save at 1-1.
RB: Lukas Klostermann – 5/10 – Struggled in the first half and didn’t return after the break.
CB: Willi Orban (c) – 7/10 – Careful with the ball and solid defensively.
CB: Josko Gvardiol – 6/10 – Poor defensively on more than one occasion, including when City took the lead, but scored a towering header of his own to equalise.
LB: Marcel Halstenberg – 7/10 – Accurate with the ball and put in an outstanding cross for Gvardiol.
CM: Konrad Laimer – 6/10 – Had to work extremely hard out of possession.
CM: Xaver Schlager – 6/10 – Lost the ball so cheaply to undo all his team’s early defensive work. Made up for that with a much better second half showing.
RM: Dominik Szoboszlai – 7/10 – Grew into the game and was massively helped when Henrichs came on at half-time because of the space it created for him.
AM: Emil Forsberg – 5/10 – Saw precious little of the ball and was quite ineffective as an attacker.
LM: Timo Werner – 6/10 – Has a point to prove to English audiences after his time at Chelsea and didn’t initially rise to that challenge. Made a better go of it in the second half.
ST: Andre Silva – 7/10 – Another who suddenly turned up after break following a quiet first half.
SUB: Benjamin Henrichs (46′ for Klostermann) – 8/10
SUB: Christopher Nkunku (66′ for Forsberg) – 7/10
SUB: Amadou Haidara (82′ for Schlager) – N/A
SUB: Yussuf Poulsen (82′ for Silva) – N/A
SUB: David Raum (89′ for Halstenberg) – N/A
Marco Rose – 9/10 – Clearly fired his team up during the half-time interval because it was a different side that came out for the second half. Bringing on Henrichs in particular made a major impact.
Man City player ratings (3-2-4-1)
GK: Ederson – 7/10 – Had to make a few saves that proved to be important.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Saw plenty of the ball at his feet with the game in front of him, but went on to struggle when Leipzig took the game to him.
CB: Ruben Dias – 5/10 – Didn’t even get off the ground to challenge Gvardiol fot the Leipzig equaliser. Tried to make the most of soft hands on his shoulders.
CB: Nathan Ake – 6/10 – Had to deal with the double threat of Szoboszlai and Henrichs.
DM: Bernardo Silva – 6/10 – Thrives in the deep-lying play-maker role when City have the ball but found himself chasing shadows a little out of possession.
DM: Rodri – 5/10 – A lot of passes to minimal effect, with a bit of wayward shooting as well.
RM: Kyle Walker – 6/10 – Occupied a very high position after recently being used as a centre-back.
AM: Riyad Mahrez – 7/10 – Playing more centrally than he’s used to but still continued his excellent goalscoring record in this competition.
AM: Ilkay Gundogan (c) – 6/10 – Credited for a slightly fortuitous assist.
LM: Jack Grealish – 6/10 – Looked bright on the left and was directly responsible for making the breakthrough goal when he capitalised on Leipzig’s mistake. Had to do a lot more defensive work in the second half to account for the impressive Henrichs and it neutralised him.
ST: Erling Haaland – 4/10 – Didn’t touch the ball in the Leipzig box until nearly 70 minutes in. Guilty of then missing a great chance to make it 2-0 just before the equaliser. Ended up getting frustrated with his teammates becaue of a surprising lack of service.
Pep Guardiola – 6/10 – Will have been pleased with the dominance of the first half, even if there weren’t a lot of actual chances. Then seemed to lack a response when Leipzig finally arrived.