Copenhagen vs Man City LIVE score and goal updates as Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland start

Manchester City can take a huge step towards the Champions League quarter-finals with a strong performance in their last-16 first leg this evening.

City breezed through their group to set up a last-16 meeting with Copenhagen, who progressed second in their group with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Galatasaray. The Blues visited Parken in the group stage last season, drawing 0-0 after Sergio Gomez’s 30th-minute red card – although City won 5-0 against the Danes at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola says he feels a belief in the City squad and organisation that they are ready to defend their Champions League crown, but he also stressed how difficult tonight’s game will be. He pointed to Copenhagen’s win over United in the group stage at home, as well as the draw away at Bayern to make his point.

Guardiola will be without midfielder Mateo Kovacic and defender Josko Gvardiol, who have not travelled to Denmark for the game, although Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva could be recalled after dropping to the bench against Everton.

The match is available to watch on TNT Sports and Discovery+.

You can follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from Parken.

Foden preferred to Lewis as atmosphere builds up

Chief City writer Simon Bajkowski, in Copenhagen:

“There had been a few suggestions that Guardiola might turn to his Champions League specialist in Rico Lewis, who has been outstanding in the competition this year. However, sticking with Foden and De Bruyne in the middle is a show of faith in how far Foden has come on this season and especially in the last two months.”

“We’re coming up to an hour until kick-off and the drums have started in what is a pretty packed stand behind the goal. A lot has been spoken about the home support and they are starting off strong with their drummers in the middle driving on the chants. It is going to be a noisy night.”

Grealish back in from a stint on the bench

Jack Grealish starts his first game in six, playing just 18 minutes across two appearances since his 56th minute substitution against Huddersfield in the first game of 2024.

Chief City writer Simon Bajkowski, in Copenhagen:

“It is a return to the first team for Jack Grealish and a return to the front three that were the preferred trio en route to the Treble.

“Grealish, Silva and Haaland have only started together five times this season and the last of those was in November. It has been a winning formula then and clearly the thinking is that it doesn’t need to be changed in this competition tonight.”

Jack Grealish of Manchester City warms up with teammates at Brentford

City line up confirmed

Here is your City team to take on Copenhagen tonight.

Four changes to the side who beat Everton, with Jack Grealish starting.

Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva also start, having sat our the win at the Etihad on Saturday.

It’s a strong bench, with Doku, Alvarez, Akanji and Nunes.

City starting XI vs Copenhagen:

  • Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish, Haaland.


  • Ortega, Carson, Lewis, Akanji, Nunes, Susoho, Wright, Doku, Alvarez

City fans making themselves heard in Copenhagen

Chief City writer Simon Bajkowski, in Copenhagen:

There are 2,700 Blues with tickets for this match and it feels like even more have travelled out for an enjoyable if rainy few days in the Danish capital. Much is made of the atmosphere in this stadium and it is certainly being talked up by the hosts as one of their biggest weapons here.

“Expect to hear plenty of City songs too though as the away fans have certainly been making themselves heard over the last few days.”

Tonight is a big moment in the Champions League campaign

Chief City writer Simon Bajkowski, in Copenhagen:

“Remember this stage of the competition last season, when Guardiola marched onto the pitch after a drab 1-1 draw with Leipzig and told his players to hold their heads up high?

“The first major challenge in this competition is to qualify from the group, and the next is to navigate the first leg of the last-16. With an open draw from the quarter-finals, this is the last bit of control Guardiola and City have on proceedings and the manager is careful to make sure they use every bit of their advantage.

“City will be expected to win, yet Guardiola will be content as long as City think they can win the tie at the Etihad.”

(Image: Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Copenhagen’s 63-day break before tonight’s game

Chief City writer Simon Bajkowski, in Copenhagen:

“It still feels slightly mad that FC Copenhagen haven’t had a competitive fixture since the end of the Champions League group stage over two months ago. The two players at the pre-match press conference attempted to put a positive spin on it and Guardiola was at a bit of a loss to know what it meant, but Copenhagen’s coach admitted it was far from ideal for them to be coming in cold against the best team in world football.

“City will look to take advantage early but also late given their opponents may not have the rhythm at the start and end of the game.”

Roony Bardghji celebrates after Copenhagen’s Champions League group stage win over Manchester United(Image: Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images)

Is Haaland’s body language an issue?

Pep Guardiola made a comment about City’s body language in their frustrating firs half against Everton at the weekend, and was asked about that yesterday.

In his response, he mentioned Erling Haaland’s demeanour specifically, but then moved to clarify that he doesn’t see the striker’s approach since returning from injury as an issue at all. In fact, he told the Norwegian to relax, and that he needs Haaland to continue encouraging his teammates to find him when the momentum is against City.

Guardiola said:

“Erling is young, playing in the most difficult position on the pitch surrounded by four or five players with minor space. In the first half maybe we didn’t have the special delivery players, like Kevin for example, who can find him.

“In that moment, because he is so young, in that moment he has to be positive. It will come. When he scored a goal, he reacted but he doesn’t need to score because he helps us for many things. Not just score a goal.

“He is defined on goals but it is not just that, as much as so many games it’s how he is clapping, encouraging his mates and the first intense press. This is what we need from Erling.”

(Image: James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images.)

Guardiola’s noticed a change in mentality

City are playing their first Champions League knockout game as defending champions tonight, with pre-match questions inevitably surrounding whether the squad are ready to win the tournament again.

Pep Guardiola has always faced questions over City’s readiness to win the Champions League, so it should hardly be a surprise that those similar questions remain now the Blues are European Champions. Having won the title, can they back it up and do it again?

Guardiola says their record of reaching two finals and a semi-final in the previous three seasons shows that the club have the right mindset to go all the way again, which is a different mentality to the club he found when he arrived in 2016.

He said yesterday:

“Before, I felt: ‘are you sure Pep, are we ready to do it?’ Now the whole organisation believes we can do it. This is the best legacy that we give to the club and to the team that Man City can compete. That is so good.”

Manchester City won the Champions League final in June and as a result will be playing in their Club World Cup this December

Two players ruled out of Denmark trip

Pep Guardiola has a strong squad to pick from tonight, but not a full one.

Mateo Kovacic missed the Everton game and hasn’t recovered in time to make the trip to Denmark, while compatriot Josko Gvardiol also missed training yesterday and was not included in the squad. Youngsters Jacob Wright and Mahamadou Susoho travel in their place.

Guardiola could recall Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker to his starting line up after they were all on the bench against Everton, as he looks to establish a strong first-leg result to take back to Manchester in three weeks time.

Last season, City drew all their away legs in the knockout stages en-route to the final, where they beat Inter to become European Champions for the first time.

Read how our writers think City should line up and use the interactive team selector to pick your best starting XI to take on FC Copenhagen:

Good afternoon!

Hello, and welcome to coverage of Manchester City’s Champions League last-16 tie at FC Copenhagen.

These sides met last season in the group stage, and with City in control of the group, they took a point after seeing Sergio Gomez sent off following a disallowed Rodri goal and missed Riyad Mahrez penalty. City beat Copenhagen 5-0 in the home fixture, but won’t take the Danes lightly, with them having taken points off Bayern Munich this season, as well as beating Manchester United and Galatasaray to a knockout spot.

But Copenhagen have not played in 63 days in the build-up to this first leg, perhaps giving City an advantage in Denmark tonight. The Blues are 13 games unbeaten and have won ten games in a row, and are strong favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

Pep Guardiola almost has a full squad to pick from at Parken, where we will take you through every step of tonight’s return to European action right here.

(Image: 2022 Anadolu Agency)


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