Leipzig battle back to draw with Man City; Inter edge Porto 1-0

Sports Desk, Feb 22 (EFE).- RB Leipzig came from behind Wednesday to draw 1-1 with Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage clash, while Inter Milan got a late goal to nip Porto 1-0.

City utterly dominated in the first half at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena against a home side seemingly more determined to keep a clean sheet than to score.

The visitors’ first chance came in the 14th minute off a corner. Riyad Mahrez sent a good ball into the box for the waiting Ruben Dias, but Leipzig goalkeeper Janis Blaswich made the stop.

Mahrez sent a free kick straight into the wall three minutes later, before grabbing the lead for City in the 27th.

Jack Grealish intercepted a poor pass from Leipzig midfielder Xaver Schlager and relayed the ball via Ilkay Gündogan to the onrushing Mahrez and the Algerian scored.

Erling Haaland failed to connect with a header from Rodri across the face of goal at the half hour and Grealish fired just wide in the 36th minute.

After having nothing to do for the first 45 minutes, City keeper Ederson denied Timo Werner right before the break.

Mahrez would have made it 2-0 in the 50th minute if not for a block on the line by Schlager.

Second-half sub Benjamin Hinrichs headed over the City cross-bar in the 53rd and sent the ball just outside the post two minutes later.

Ederson stopped Andre Silva in the 63rd, sparking a City counter that ended with Blaswich denying Gündogan. The Brazilian was forced into action again in the 69th minute, when he tipped a strike by Dominik Szoboszlai over the cross-bar seconds after Haaland squandered an opportunity at the other end.

Leipzig won a corner in the 70th and the ball ended up with Marcel Halstenberg, whose cross found the head of Josko Gvardiol and the Croatian rising star brought the home side level.

Blaswich made another fine save three minutes later, stopping Gündogan, and the sides will start the March 14 second leg at the Etihad on equal terms.

Porto and Inter looked destined to end their first leg knotted 0-0 until sub Romelu Lukaku converted his own rebound in the 86th minute to give the Nerazzuri the victory in front of their fans at the San Siro in Milan.

The Serie A club dominated possession, yet managed to create only two chances in the first half. Lautaro Martinez headed over the cross-bar in the 13th minute, while Porto keeper Diogo Costa did well to thwart Alessandro Bastoni on the final kick before the break.

Marko Grujic tested Inter keeper Andre Onana in the 37th minute and the rebound dropped for Galeno, but his aim was off, and what would prove to be the most significant incident of the first period was an episode of poor sportsmanship that earned Porto’s Otavio a yellow card.

The game was still scoreless in the 78th minute when Otavio tackled Hakan Calhanoglu on the edge of the area and the referee reached for his pocket, reducing Porto to 10 men for the final stretch.

Lukaku met a cross from Nicolo Barella in the area and his header bounced off the post, but the Belgian pounced on the rebound and hammered home. EFE rz-tfc/dr

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