PARIS: Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne saw Manchester City home against Sevilla in dramatic style in Wednesday’s (Thursday in Manila) Champions League action as Paris Saint-Germain held ten-time titleholders Real Madrid to a goalless draw.
De Bruyne’s injury time contribution earned City a 2-1 home win against Spain’s Europa League champions to improve their chances of escaping from Group D and into the last 16.
An open affair at the Etihad Stadium was heading for a draw after Adil Rami’s own goal cancelled out Yevhen Konoplyanka’s 30th-minute opener for Sevilla, only for De Bruyne to gather a pass from Yaya Toure and slam home with his left foot seconds into stoppage time.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men moved up to second, one point behind Juventus, the Serie A giants held to a 0-0 stalemate by Borussia Moenchengladbach in Turin.
“We improved a little bit in the last 10 minutes and we had the character to try to win the game,” reflected Pellegrini.
“We tried to make some changes because we were not arriving to their box. That’s why we put Kevin up front with Yaya. Fortunately it led to the goal.”
Manchester United, who host City in the Premier League on Sunday, faced a tricky assignment away to CSKA Moscow, their French starlet Anthony Martial firmly leaving his imprint on the encounter.
The 19-year-old was called for handball which led to CSKA taking the lead on 15 minutes, Seydou Doumbia slamming in the rebound after United keeper David de Gea had parried Roman Eremenko’s penalty onto the post.
But the French teenager atoned for his mistake with a fine header after the hour for his first goal in the competition and fifth since his high profile move from Monaco in August.
“I knew it would be a very difficult game,” United boss Louis van Gaal told BT Sport.
“They had the present from Anthony Martial and then it is difficult when you are behind.
“We could not play at a high tempo, it was too slow in the first half. We could have won but a draw was deserved.”
Bundesliga side Wolfsburg top the pool on six points after defeating PSV Eindhoven 2-0, with United and CSKA on four and the Dutch champions bringing up the rear on three.
Ronaldo, the Brazilian 2002 World Cup winner, was in the stands at Parc des Princes to watch the headline tie between PSG and Real.
But despite both clubs deploying their all-time top scorers the game ended goalless, Real legend Cristiano Ronaldo coming as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock in the French capital with a second-half volley that whistled wide.
“Given the circumstances, the performance of the team was not good, it was exceptional,” said Madrid coach Rafael Benitez.
“We had chances to win the game, more than them, and decent control of the match against a team who are not easy to play against. As coach I am very satisfied.”
PSG manager Laurent Blanc said: “Even against a Real side with lots of absentees it’s not easy, but we competed with them and the draw was fair.”
Both sides remain unbeaten this season and are yet to concede after three games as they sit locked together on seven points at the top of Group A.
Malmo won 1-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk but Paris and Madrid are each four points clear of the Swedes and will have an opportunity to clinch qualification for the last 16 when they meet again in Spain in a fortnight.
In Group C, Diego Simeone’s 2014 runners-up Atletico Madrid eased past Astana 4-0 to get their European campaign back on track after a shock defeat to Benfica last time out.
Saul Niguez opened the scoring before Jackson Martinez scored his first goal at the Vicente Calderon for Atletico. Substitute Oliver Torres added a third after the break before Denis Dedchenko’s late own goal rounded off the scoring.
Galatasaray’s 2-1 win over Benfica in the other game in the group means Atletico draw level with Benfica at the top on six points, two points clear of the Turkish champions.
“I am happy to get the victory because it puts us ahead in a difficult group that is further complicated by Galatasaray’s win,” Simeone told BeIN sports.