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Man City, PSG Qualify For Champions League Knockout Stages

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Manchester City came from behind to secure top spot in Group A with a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain as both sides qualified for the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

Kylian Mbappe put the French giants in front against the run of play five minutes into the second half.

But PSG run the risk of being drawn against the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea or Liverpool in the last 16 after Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus turned the game around for the English champions.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino had to fend off questions in his pre-match press conference over whether he may be making a permanent move to Manchester to take over the vacant managerial role at United.

The Argentine’s first year in the French capital has been far from plain sailing despite a 11-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.

Lionel Messi’s arrival to form a fearsome front three alongside Mbappe and Neymar has heaped expectation upon Pochettino to deliver a first Champions League crown to Paris.

The blessing and curse of that richly-talented trio was in evidence as the visitors were largely overrun but suddenly clicked to create the opening goal.

City’s collective cohesion had the better of the clash of styles, but lacked the clinical edge offered by PSG’s Galacticos.

Presnel Kimpembe cleared Rodri’s goalbound header off the line before Achraf Hakimi did likewise to turn Riyad Mahrez’s shot that was destined for the top corner over the bar.

Despite missing the midfield trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, City were still creating chances at will as Messi, Neymar and Mbappe did little to help their teammates defend.

Ilkay Gundogan had the hosts’ best chance before the break, but his curling effort came crashing back off the post.

Mbappe wasted the one opportunity PSG did muster in the first half as he pounced on a John Stones mistake, but fired over.

The Frenchman was not so wasteful five minutes after the break as he drilled low through Ederson’s legs from Messi’s deflected cross.

But the pattern of the game remained unchanged as City charged forward and finally found a way through.

Kyle Walker’s cross escaped Jesus, but rolled kindly for Sterling to prod in just his fourth goal of the season at the back post.

Keylor Navas then produced a stunning finger-tip save to deny Jesus.

Pochettino responded by introducing Angel Di Maria to add to his attacking trident and he teed up Neymar with a great chance to restore PSG’s lead, only for the Brazilian to slot wide with just his international teammate Ederson to beat.

Moments later another slick team move from City created a deserved winner.

Mahrez’s cross to the back post picked out Bernardo Silva, who nonchalantly turned the ball back into the path of Jesus to calmly slot home.

Victory gives City an unassailable four-point lead at the top of the section with just one game to go.

But RB Leipzig’s 5-0 thrashing of Club Brugge means PSG are also guaranteed to go through in second place.

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Mbappe Drops Bombshell On PSG Future

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Paris Saint-Germain forward, Kylian Mbappe has said he is “going to play for a big club” next season.

Mbappe is fast coming to the end of his contract with the Ligue 1 side.

Although the deal expires at the end of the season, Mbappe is free to negotiate a summer move with foreign clubs this January.

PSG turned down a world-record £189million offer from Real Madrid in the summer, with the hope the 22-year-old will sign a new contract.

However, it looks like Mbappe is definitely heading for the exit door after his latest transfer declaration.

Mbappe told Amazon Prime Video in France: “It’s not easy. Whatever happens, I’m going to play for a big club.”

The comments seem to all but guarantee his PSG exit either in January or next summer.

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You’re Nothing Without Mane, Salah, Senegal’s Cisse Blasts Klopp Over AFCON Comment

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Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse, has slammed Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, over his comments on the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Cisse suggested that Klopp is nothing without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in his Liverpool squad, adding that the German owed his success to players from Africa.

Last month, Klopp caused a stir as he described the AFCON as a ‘small tournament’ after Liverpool’s Premier League 4-0 victory against Arsenal.

Asked if he was relieved there was no international break until March next year, Klopp replied: “I have heard that so often that there is no international break until March.

“In January, there Is a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games too, South America as well, great, can’t wait.”

Liverpool are set to lose some of their players, including Salah, Mane and Naby Keita for the AFCON 2021 tournament, which runs from January 9 to February 6, 2022.

While Klopp subsequently backtracked, Cisse, who played in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Portsmouth, felt the Reds boss had shown a lack of respect for the AFCON, adding that he doesn’t respect him.

“Who does he [Jurgen Klopp] think he’s? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool,” Cisse told broadcaster iTV Senegal.

“I respect Liverpool but not Klopp who undermines African football events. He’s where he is today because of African footballers.

“He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final.”

Meanwhile, Speaking after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League last week, Klopp clarified his comments had been misinterpreted.

“I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that,” Klopp told a journalist, who had suggested his comments had offended African players and fans.

“It is not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.

“What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way.”

He added, “There is still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I’m not a native speaker, but if you want to understand me wrong you can do that all the time. I know that I would never think like this.”

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Ibrahimovic Labels Man United Club With “Small Mentality”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has slammed former club Manchester United as a club with a “small mentality” in his upcoming autobiography.

Ibrahimovic represented United for 20 months and was part of the most recent Red Devils side to win silverware, helping them to the EFL Cup and the Europa League in 2016/17, under Jose Mourinho.

The club also finished sixth in the Premier League that season as the post-Alex Ferguson slump continued but Ibrahimovic scored 17 goals in 28 top flight appearances.

It appears that United didn’t live up to his standards off the pitch either, as the 40-year-old explains in his new book Adrenaline.

“One thing surprised me: everyone thinks of United as a top club, one of the richest and most powerful in the world and seen from the outside it looked that way to me,” he writes.

“But once I was there I found a small, closed mentality.”

Offering up an example, Ibrahimovic recalls taking a fruit juice from a hotel mini-bar ahead of a game, before realizing that United had charged him for it.

“One day I was in the hotel with the team before a game. I got thirsty so I opened the mini-bar and had a fruit juice,” he says.

“We played and then went home. Some time went by. My pay slip arrives. Normally I don’t look at it. I only do so at the end of the year to see what’s come in and what’s gone out. But that time, I don’t know why, I was curious and realised they’d taken a pound off my monthly wage.

“I called the team manager: ‘Excuse me, why have they taken a pound off my salary.’ The team manager had a look and told me: ‘It was the fruit juice from the mini-bar.’ ‘Are you kidding, seriously?’ ‘No, I’m not. Here, if you order something you have to pay for it.’ ‘Sure, but I didn’t go to the hotel on my own accord. I wasn’t on holiday. It was my work place. I was there for Manchester. If I have to play and I’m thirsty, I have to drink. I can’t go on the pitch dehydrated.’

“Can you believe it? A quid? Something like that would never happen in Italy. These are the details that make a difference and earn the respect of the players.”

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