Mbappé scores as reports swirl; City, Madrid advance in CL

It was Mbappé’s record 31st goal for PSG in the competition, passing Edinson Cavani for the club record.
Kylian Mbappé
Kylian MbappéReuters

ROME: Happy or not, Kylian Mbappé continues to score goals for Paris Saint-Germain. Manchester City, meanwhile, just isn’t the same without Erling Haaland.

Still, City — despite a 0-0 draw at FC Copenhagen — joined holder Real Madrid on Tuesday as the first teams to advance to the knockout phase of the Champions League.

On the same day when reports emerged that Mbappé is frustrated at PSG and wants to leave during the January transfer window, the France striker converted a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Benfica.

It was Mbappé’s record 31st goal for PSG in the competition, passing Edinson Cavani for the club record.

Mbappé had been close to joining Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer but finally agreed to stay at PSG for two more years with an option for an extra season.

The 23-year-old Frenchman celebrated his latest goal by holding his arms out wide and rushing toward the stands at Parc de Princes — with no outward sign of discontent.

Mbappé also had an acrobatic potential later winner waved off by the VAR, leaving PSG level on points with Benfica atop Group H.

CITY STOPPED

With Haaland rested, 10-man City was held to a 0-0 draw at FC Copenhagen, a team languishing in the bottom half of the Danish league.

Copenhagen became the first team to stop City from scoring this season in a match overshadowed by early video-review decisions.

One of those VAR calls resulted in a red card for City left back Sergio Gomez in the 30th minute for pulling back Hákon Arnar Haraldsson as the last man, harming the visitors attacking ambitions at the atmospheric Parken Stadium.

Still, City leads Group G with 10 points, followed by Borussia Dortmund (7), Sevilla (2) and Copenhagen (2).

City, like Madrid, has advanced with two rounds of matches still remaining in the group phase.

BELLINGHAM’S CONSISTENCY

At 19, England midfielder Jude Bellingham has scored in all four of Dortmund’s Champions League games this season.

Young players took center stage as Sevilla took the lead with a header from 20-year-old defender Tanguy Nianzou before Bellingham knocked in Thomas Meunier’s low cross for a 1-1 draw.

Only Haaland (5 goals) and Mbappé (4) have scored more Champions League goals this season.

Bellingham also become the highest-scoring English teenager in a single Champions League season, overtaking Wayne Rooney’s record of three goals in 2004-05.

RUDIGER TO THE RESCUE

Antonio Rudiger had his face bloodied as he scored a stoppage-time equalizer for Madrid in a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Also, Timo Werner scored his first Champions League goal since returning to Leipzig to help secure a 2-0 win at Celtic.

Madrid leads Group F with 10 points, followed by Leipzig (6), Shakhtar (5) and Celtic (1).

SURGING CHELSEA

Chelsea was at the bottom of Group E but two straight victories over Serie A champion AC Milan has seen it move into pole position to progress to the round of 16.

Chelsea moved to the top of the group on with a 2-0 win at Milan, which played most of the match with 10 men after former Blues defender Fikayo Tomori was sent off in the 18th minute after also giving away a penalty.

Jorginho converted the spot kick and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 34th.

Chelsea moved a point above Salzburg, which drew 1-1 at Dinamo Zagreb in the other Group E match. Milan and Dinamo are three points below Chelsea.

JUVENTUS CRISIS

Juventus descended further into crisis and was left on the verge of elimination from the Champions League following a 2-0 loss at Maccabi Haifa that also included an injury to key winger Ángel Di María.

Omer Atzili scored two first-half goals as Haifa earned its first Champions League win in two decades.

Juventus was left third in Group H behind PSG and Benfica with two games to play.

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