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Player ratings on frustrating night for Pep Guardiola’s side

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Ten-man Manchester City were unable to secure their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games to spare on a frustrating night in Copenhagen.

Pep Guardiola rested Erling Haaland for the game, with Julien Alvarez leading the line instead, but a first-half red card for Sergio Gomez ultimately dictated what was a flat performance from the Citizens.

The first half hour of the game was frantic, and Man City thought they had taken the lead when Rodi drove a brilliant long-range effort into the top corner of the net. However, VAR made its first intervention of a busy night to harshly rule it out for a handball in the build-up by Riyad Mahrez.

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Mahrez was at the centre of the next VAR flashpoint too. City were awarded a penalty for a handball in the Copenhagen box, and the Algerian stepped up to take the spot kick. His tame effort was easily pushed away by Kamil Grabara.

At that point it still felt like it was just a matter of time before Man City opened the scoring, but the game changed on the half-hour thanks to another VAR intervention. Sergio Gomez was eventually adjudged to have hauled down Hakan Arnar Haraldsson when the Icelandic ace was through on goal.

From there the game settled into something of a predictable and pedestrian pattern, with Copenhagen happy to preserve the draw and Man City unable to commit enough players forward to break them down.

Chances were at a premium, yet Guardiola signalled his comfort with a point by leaving Haaland on the bench despite the game easing to a predictable conclusion.  

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GK: Ederson – 6/10 – An uncharacteristically nervy start to the game, but quickly settled down.

RB: Joao Cancelo – 6/10 – Forced to show more discipline than he usually has to and lost a little attacking verve as a result.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Very solid and dependable, although rarely tested.

CB: Aymeric Laporte – 6/10 – Just his usual self really. Again, though, he wasn’t really tested.

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LB: Sergio Gomez – 3/10 – Didn’t really have anything to do until he got sent off for a clumsy challenge.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 7/10 – Kept things ticking over as he usually does, although unable to inject any energy into the City performance.

CM: Rodri – 7/10 – Very unlucky to not have a stunning goal to his name. Decent performance all round.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 7/10 – Nowhere near his best but his okay is a lot better than most players could ever produce.

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RW: Riyad Mahrez – 2/10 – Only on the pitch for 32 minutes but in that time managed to get Rodri’s brilliant goal disallowed for his handball and miss a penalty.

ST: Julian Alvarez – 6/10 – Hard not to feel for him a little. It was his big chance to come out of Haaland’s shadow and circumstances conspired against him.

LW: Jack Grealish – 6/10 – Always willing to try things but not able to really make any notable impact.

SUB: Ruben Dias (32′ for Mahrez) – 6/10 – Slotted in nicely after the red card and was comfortable.

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SUB: Bernardo Silva (77′ for De Bruyne)N/A.

SUB: Phil Foden (77′ for Grealish)N/A.

SUB: Nathan Ake (88′ for Laporte) – N/A.



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Atlanta United sign former Columbus Crew forward Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency

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Atlanta United have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of winger Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency, the club announced Wednesday.

As reported by 90min, the Five Stripes have been pursuing a deal with Etienne since mid-November, with the forward having already spent time at the club’s training facilities.

That deal was finally completed on Wednesday as Etienne was unveiled on a contract through the 2025 MLS season with further options on 2026 and 2027.

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“Derrick is a versatile winger who fits the profile of a player we were looking to bring in,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a club press release.

“We’re excited to secure his services as he was a top free agent coming off an excellent season and heading into the prime of his career. Derrick has a great mentality, knows the league well and we are looking forward to him being a big part of the team going forward.”

Etienne is entering his eighth season as an MLS player, notching 17 goals and 17 assists in 148 appearances so far for the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew so far.

His spell with the latter was particularly fruitful, winning MLS Cup and Campeones Cup titles, while the 26-year-old enjoyed a career-best return of nine goals and six assists in 33 regular season appearances in 2022.

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Etienne – who is also capable of playing through the middle – will now compete for places in Atlanta United’s forward line alongside the likes of Luiz Araujo and Edwin Mosquera as the club look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s second full season in charge.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Player ratings as El Tri crash out after manic thriller

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Mexico beat Saudi Arabia in their final group game, but the 2-1 scoreline was not enough to jump ahead of Poland in the Group C standings as El Tri exit the World Cup before the knockout rounds for the first time since 1978.

Goal difference was ultimately the deciding factor, with Salem Al-Dawsari breaking Mexican hearts deep into stoppage time after Henry Martin and Luis Chavez had put them on the verge of the last 16 if they could find another goal.

Mexico had a glorious opportunity within the first three minutes that Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais was equal to. Orbelin Pineda’s through ball played in Alexis Vega, whose shot was immediately smothered by Al-Owais rushing off his line.

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Not much more time was on the clock before Al-Owais had to push an awkward ball clear before Martin could get his head to it in the six-yard box.

Both sides started at an aggressive tempo – the tone was set before kick-off with a set of exuberant anthems – and Saudi soon went close when Mohamed Kanno sent a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

Midway through the first half, Al-Owais made two more fairly routine saves, one from Luis Chavez and the other from Pineda – the sting was taken off the latter effort by a last-ditch tackle.

By the closing stages of the half, the game had become bitty and tempers threatened to boil over on more than occasion as both teams continued to go at it. But things did pick up again in stoppage time and a better connection off Sultan Al-Ghannam’s head might have given Saudi the lead.

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Having been denied by Al-Owais earlier on, Martin found the breakthrough right after the restart. In truth, he couldn’t miss, tapping in from a couple of yards after a clever near post flick from Cesar Montes, up from the back at a Mexico corner.

El Tri quickly capitalised on that momentum when Chavez, who hadn’t been scared to shoot from distance all night, sent a sublime free-kick flying into the top corner.

Saudi Arabia were stunned and were inches away from being 3-0 down straight after that, with only an offside flag keeping the deficit at two goals when Hirving Lozano found the net. Just after the hour mark, Lozano was denied another potential goal by Al-Owais’ sprawling right hand.

Martin lacked composure when he blazed a volley over the bar, while it took a spectacular Al-Owais save to stop another Chavez free-kick bound for the opposite top corner to his earlier goal. Pineda also narrowly missed the bottom corner with a curling low effort.

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Mexico had the ball in the net again with only a few minutes of the 90 left as substitute Uriel Antuna fed the ball underneath an onrushing Al-Owais, but he failed to time his run and the flag went up. Al-Owais beat away a Lozano free-kick as stoppage time began.

But as Mexico pushed and pushed to get the third goal to send them through, Saudi Arabia put together their first meaningful attack of the second half, capitalising on the spaces left open, to score a very neat goal as Al-Dawsari finished neatly beyond Guillermo Ochoa.

GK: Mohammed Al-Owais – 8/10 – Had plenty to do from the very start, made a number of good stops and Mexico aren’t in the last 16 because of his saves. Couldn’t be blamed for the goals.

RB: Sultan Al-Ghannam – 5/10 – Missed a really good headed chance at 0-0 that proved crucial in hindsight.

CB: Hassan Al-Tambakti – 6/10 –
Had the upper hand in a first half physical battle but was second best when Mexico increased the pace and tempo.

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CB: Abdulelah Al-Amri – 6/10 – A little wasteful in possession but made a few decent tackles and blocks in amongst the chaos.

LB: Ali Al-Bulaihi – 5/10 – Unable to shake off a first half injury.

RM: Firas Al-Buraikan – 5/10 – Played on the fringes of the game.

CM: Ali Al-Hassan – 4/10 – Only lasted one half but struggled to imprint himself on the game.

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CM: Saud Abdulhamid – 6/10 – Impressive defensive performance. Shifted over to left-back when Al-Bulaihi was forced off.

CM: Mohamed Kanno – 7/10 – Went close with a first half free-kick. Put himself about all over the pitch.

LM: Salem Al-Dawsari (c) – 6/10 – Too few touches for much of the game but broke Mexican hearts in stoppage time.

ST: Saleh Al-Shehri – 5/10 – Struggled to really hold the ball up and bring others into play.

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SUB: Riyadh Sharahili (37′ for Al-Bulaihi) – 5/10

SUB: Abdullah Madu (46′ for Al-Hassan) – 6/10

SUB: Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (62′ for Al-Shehri) – 5/10

SUB: Hattan Bahebri (88′ for Al-Ghannam) – 7/10

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Manager: Herve Renard – 5/10 – Forced into changes earlier than he would have hoped. Also couldn’t light a fire under his team at half-time the way he had previously done in the win over Argentina.

GK: Guillermo Ochoa – 6/10 – Largely a spectator. Beaten at the end.

RB: Jorge Sanchez – 6/10 – Got forward plenty in support of the attack.

CB: Cesar Montes – 7/10 – Lovely assist for the crucial opening goal.

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CB: Hector Moreno – 6/10 – Didn’t win his aerial duels but decent on the ground and in possession.

LB: Jesus Gallardo – 7/10 – Got forward and put a number of teasing crosses into the penalty area.

CM: Edson Alvarez – 6/10 – Arguably fortunate he wasn’t further punished when laying a hand on the referee right after getting booked and continued to walk a disciplinary tightrope.

CM: Luis Chavez – 8/10 – Often willing to try his luck from distance and eventually scored one of the goals of the tournament.

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RM: Hirving Lozano – 8/10 – Really turned up the pressure in the second half and was always asking questions.

AM: Orbelin Pineda – 7/10 – Creative livewire for El Tri from the start.

LM: Alexis Vega – 6/10 – Thwarted by a good early save from Al-Owais.

ST: Henry Martin – 7/10 –
Struggled to physically compete in the first half but clever movement made him a threat and he was rewarded with a goal. Missed a great chance to score a volley.

SUB: Uriel Antuna (46′ for Vega) – 6/10

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SUB: Raul Jimenez (77′ for Martin) – 5/10

SUB: Carlos Rodriguez (77′ for Pineda) – 5/10

SUB: Rogelio Funes Mori (86′ for Alvarez) – N/A

SUB: Kevin Alvarez (86′ for Sanchez) – N/A

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Manager: Gerardo Martino – 6/10 – This ended up being his last game as Mexico coach. His team finally fired up in the second half but it was too little too late in the end.

Player of the match – Mohammed Al-Owais (Saudi Arabia)



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Player ratings La Albiceleste make it through to knockout stages

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Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez ensured Argentina’s place at the top of Group C and their place in the round of the 16 of the FIFA World Cup. Poland also squeezed through despite losing thanks to Mexico only managing to beat Saudi Arabia 2-1.

Argentina started the game brightly, getting Lionel Messi on the ball frequently in and around the penalty area – which is always the game plan for La Albiceleste. The PSG star would have the first notable shot on goal in the 10th minute, bursting into the left hand side of the penalty area before stinging Wojciech Szczęsny’s palms with a fierce strike on goal.

La Albiceleste were able to sustain that pressure with relative ease thereafter as Poland were more than happy to sit in and defend a point that would see them through to the last 16.

Marcos Acuna was next to come close for Argentina around the half-hour mark, drilling a shot just wide of the foot of the right post.

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Julian Alvarez would then force Szczęsny into a great save five minutes later, with the Juventus number one deflecting Alvarez’s effort on goal from the left side of the penalty area out wide.

Moments later we witnessed the worst refereeing decision of the tournament thus far. Argentina were awarded an egregious penalty following a lengthy VAR check after Szczęsny was adjudged to have touched (?) Messi’s face while both were up challenging for a cross into the box.

The resulting spot kick was then brilliant saved by the Poland goalkeeper, who dove to his left to tip Messi’s effort wide. Justice well and truly served.

Immediately after the second half whistle, Argentina finally got their goal. Brighton star Alexis Mac Allister would be the man to get it, latching onto a low cross from right-back Nahuel Molina to drill past Szczęsny and into the bottom right corner of the net.

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That goal would finally wake Poland up as an attacking entity and, in the 49th minute, they almost grabbed an equaliser through Kamil Glik. The veteran defender rose highest to head a set piece from the right flank just wide.

After a few tactical tweaks, Lionel Scaloni’s men firmly regained control of the game. In the 67th minute they deservedly doubled their lead through Julian Alvarez. The young forward held off two Polish defenders before firing high into the net.

It was so nearly three in the 72nd minute when Messi played a wonderful through ball into the path of Alvarez again. The forward, however, could only find the side-netting with his subsequent strike on goal.

In the 85th minute, Lautaro Martinez came off the bench to nearly knock Poland out of the competition. After latching onto a loose back pass, the Inter man stormed into the penalty area but shanked his shot on goal wide of the post.

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Jakub Kiwior then saved Poland from an early exit with a stunning clearance off the line in the 93rd minute. The towering defender got back well to head clear a dinked Nicolas Tagliafico finish to keep his nation in the tournament.

GK – Wojciech Szczęsny – 8/10 – Saved his second penalty of the group stages and looked generally unbeatable in the first half. He was finally beaten in the second, but by God what a performance regardless.

RB – Matty Cash – 3/10 – Didn’t get forward as Poland would’ve liked.

CB – Kamil Glik – 4/10 – The sort of game that suits him at this point in his career and yet he still wasn’t particularly good.

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CB – Jakub Kiwior – 7/10 – Got caught out with Molina’s cut-back cross which led to the opener. Made amends with a fantastic clearance off the line in added time.

LB – Bartosz Bereszynski – 3/10 – Struggled to defend his side.

CM – Piotr Zielinski – 3/10 – Needed to be better on the ball than he was in this one.

CM – Krystian Bielik – 4/10 – Defended quite well but generally looked hopless in possession.

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CM – Gregorz Krychowiak – 2/10 – Got stuck in when he could get near the ball…which wasn’t often because he can’t run anymore.

AM – Przemyslaw Frankowski – 1/10 – He did literally nothing and was subbed off at half-time.

ST – Robert Lewandowski – 2/10 – So, so isolated.

ST – Karol Swiderski – N/A – Did he play? He didn’t, did he? Surely not.

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SUB – Michal Skoras – 4/10.

SUB – Jakub Kaminski – 3/10.

SUB – Damian Szymanski – N/A.

SUB – Artur Jedrzejczyk – N/A.

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SUB – Krzysztof Piatek – N/A.

GK – Emi Martinez – 5/10 – He had zero to do.

RB – Nahuel Molina – 7/10 – His brilliant low cross from the right flank led to the opening goal.

CB – Cristian Romero – 5/10 – Dealt with the little threat Lewa posed well.

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CB – Nicolas Otamendi – 5/10 – An easy night at the office for Otamendi.

LB – Marcos Acuna – 6/10 – Drilled a shot just wide in the first half and got forward well.

CM – Alexis Mac Allister – 8/10 – Scored his first ever international goal at the best possible time.

CM – Enzo Fernandez – 7/10 – Another impressive performance from the young man.

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CM – Rodrigo De Paul – 4/10 – Sloppy on the ball again. Surely he shouldn’t start for this team.

RW – Angel Di Maria – 5/10 – Saw a lot of the ball but didn’t do a whole lot with it.

CF – Lionel Messi – 4/10 – Missed a penalty. He’s not very good at penalties.

LW – Julian Alvarez – 5/10 – Scored a great goal in the second half. Well deserved start for the Man City striker.

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SUB – Leandro Paredes – 6/10 – Did a decent job in midfield when he came on.

SUB – Nicolas Tagliafico – N/A.

SUB – Lautaro Martinez – 5/10 – Missed a decent chance in the 85th minute.

SUB – German Pezzella – N/A.

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SUB – Thiago Almada – N/A.

Man of the Match: Alexis Mac Allister

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