Manchester City are close to the last 16 after the defeat of Bridge.



Manchester City beat Club Brugge 4-1 on Wednesday to move into the last 16 of the Champions League.

Pep Guardiola’s side recovered from the shock of admitting John Stones’ own goal after Phil Foden’s early opener at Etihad Stadium.

Riaz Mehriz pushed City back in the second half and Rahim Sterling came off the bench to end his goal drought before Gabriel Jesus dismissed him.

City are top of Group A, one point above Paris Saint-Germain, after their third win in four matches.

Last season’s Champions League runners-up are five points ahead of third-placed Brugge and will reach the knockout stage with one point from their last two games against PSG and Leipzig.

“Absolutely deserved. I liked how we played. After admitting we fell a bit, but the second half was really good,” Guardiola said.

“When you are in Manchester City, you realize that no one will help you. We have done what we have to do.

“All the titles I’ve won before that were because I was in the big clubs. Of course, the joy is greater (winning with City).”

After a strong start to the season, City faced the worst period of the campaign.

The shock of Saturday’s home defeat against Crystal Palace was fueled by the loss of a penalty shootout in West Ham that ended their four-year tenure as league cup holders.

Responding to these failures, Guardiola claimed that City were playing at an “incredible” level, labeling their current form as one of the “best moments” of their time at the club.

After beating Brugge 5-1 in Belgium last month, City once again picked Philippe Clement’s side, although the victory was not scary.

Guardiola described Bridge’s tour as more important than Saturday’s derby at Manchester United, and his players received the message.

Kevin de Bruyne’s late contradictory form is a cause for concern, so it was interesting to see Guardiola leave the Belgian midfielder.

Even without de Bruyne, the city had a very aggressive standard for Bruges.

Joao Cancello was a constant threat and the left back was an inch away from scoring with a curling effort that ended the post.

Foden’s early cross shot was blocked by Brugge keeper Simon Magnollet in the 15th minute as City’s relentless pressure was reciprocated.

Mehriz slammed the ball loose and leaned into the bridge area before Cancello was out, whose cross found Foden too low to tap into his fifth goal of the season.

But despite their strong start, City were shaken as Bragg equalized two minutes later under strange circumstances.

Hans Vanniken’s shot was deflected by Aderson and when Charles de Catelier returned to the six-yard box, Bernardo Silva’s block removed the ball from the Stones’ face and into the net.

The shock knocked City out of their lead and they almost conceded once again when de Catellier’s low drive forced Ederson to a good stop.

Early in the second half, Jack Grellish’s capable pass gave Mehriz a golden opportunity, but Magnolet saved Algeria’s near-range strike.

When D’Catlier’s shot widened, Brugge threatened again.

But City regained control and Mehriz regained his lead in the 54th minute.

Cancello provided a pinpoint cross that the unmarked Mehriz led Mignolet from five yards out for his eighth goal of the season.

Sterling was introduced to replace Mehriz and for the first time since August, the England star was fast on the score sheet.

In the 72nd minute, Foden found Elke Gundogan and the German low cross was easily replaced by Sterling for the second goal of the difficult season on a personal level.

Brazilian forward Jesus sealed the victory for City in the last second.

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