Josko Gvardiol’s late header cancelled out Riyad Mahrez’s opener to help RB Leipzig snatch a point against Manchester City, setting up a crunch Champions League decider at the Etihad Stadium.
City started the game on the front foot and looked the likelier side to open the scoring. Ruben Dias’ early header, which was straight at Janis Blaswich, set the tone for the clash.
Leipzig struggled to pose a threat in the final third, and Ederson remained a spectator for most of the opening proceedings as Pep Guardiola’s side controlled possession.
City’s dominance eventually paid off in the 27th minute. Jack Grealish pounced upon Xaver Schlager’s misplaced pass to set up İlkay Gundogan, who slotted in Riyad Mahrez to fire beyond Blaswich.
Grealish, who made himself a menace to the Leipzig defence, then spurned a golden opportunity to extend City’s lead before half-time. The England international blazed his shot over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Leipzig, who were guilty of being passive in the first half, began the second looking to level matters. Two guilt-edged chances presented themselves in the 53rd minute, but half-time substitute Benjamin Henrichs spurned them both.
However, Marco Rose’s side kept probing for an equaliser, and their endeavour was rewarded in the 70th minute. Premier League target Gvardiol rose highest to head home Marcel Halstenberg’s cross, with Ederson caught in no man’s land.
City came close to regaining the lead late on, but Leipzig were left indebted to Blaswich, who was called into a smart save from Gundogan.
The German shot-stopper turned his compatriot’s strike away from the fast-approaching Erling Braut Haaland, who was itching to pounce.
Leipzig held on to secure a vital draw, but City will feel they have the upper hand with the deciding clash to be played in front of the Etihad faithful.
A draw at the Red Bull Arena means Leipzig have only lost one of their last 21 matches across all competitions.
Meanwhile, City’s concerning away form continues in Europe, with the English champions registering just one victory in their last six games on the road.
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