Man City defeat Copenhagen to reach Champions League quarter-finals

Holders Manchester City cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals for the seventh consecutive season with a 3-1 victory over FC Copenhagen on Wednesday in their last-16 second leg.

The result wrapped up a 6-2 aggregate triumph for the hosts at the Etihad Stadium.

City, who started the game with a two-goal cushion, took care of business early with first-half goals by Manuel Akanji, Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland.

With a trip to Liverpool in a top-of-the-table Premier League clash to come on Sunday, manager Pep Guardiola had the luxury of resting key players including Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.

He made seven changes to his side that beat Manchester United 3-1 in last Sunday’s league derby.

“Today, I need energy, fresh legs,” Guardiola said. “I know how tired, exhausted some of my players were today … We play on Sunday. So I need fresh legs.”

Manchester City are a point behind Liverpool and a point ahead of Arsenal after 27 league games in tight title race.

They are also in the thick of the FA Cup, with a quarter-final against Newcastle United on March 16.

“To be part of the titles, we need everyone,” Guardiola said.

“For one more year we are in the best eight teams in Europe. Incredibly happy we are still in all competitions.”

Rico Lewis had a late chance for a fourth Manchester City goal but his shot hit the bar.

Manchester City joined Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain in the quarters, with the final four teams to be determined next week.

“We are a team that believes we can do it,” Guardiola said. “Listen, we’re competing with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

“We don’t know who we are going to face. It’s a question of wait and see. The important thing is seven years in a row we are here.”

Manchester City will find out their quarter-final opponents in the draw on March 15.

“We feel good right now,” Akanji said. “We’re confident going into the next round. We are one of the favourites but have to prove it.”

Haaland was taken off late in the game, wrapping 18-year-old substitute Jacob Wright, who made his Champions League debut, in a hug as he left the pitch.

Copenhagen boss Jacob Neestrup believes City can retain their Champions League title.

“They’re going to win it, they are,” he said. “This is just a level up — in everything.

“We have played (City) two seasons in a row and Man City are getting better. They are top players, the structure they have is amazing.

“It is not just the technical and tactical. They work hard.”(Reuters/NAN)