Manchester City dropped their first Champions League points of the season as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate with FC Copenhagen at the Parken Stadium on Tuesday.
City was made to play with ten men for much of the affair after Sergio Gomez was shown a red card 30 minutes in. The Premier League champions struggled to affirm dominance over their opposition. They failed to score for the first time this season, with in-form striker Erling Haaland on the bench for the totality of the match.
An eventful first half was overwhelmed with VAR controversy; Rodri looked to have given City the lead 11 minutes in after fluttering a 25-yard strike past Kamil Grabara — but a VAR check found that the ball took a slight touch on the hand of Mahrez as he battled between defenders for an aerial ball.
And Mahrez was at the centre of the drama again in the 25th minute as he saw his penalty saved by Grabara after Nicolai Boilesen was penalised for handball following a VAR review. Mahrez has now missed two of his last three penalties.
Just five minutes later, Gomez, 22, halted a Copenhagen attack by committing a foul on the edge of the area and, after a virtual check, was shown a straight red card for his challenge — forcing Guardiola to bring on defensive reinforcement Ruben Dias in place of Mahrez.
With Haaland on the sidelines, having not started for City for the first time this season in all competitions, the visitors failed to finish several good second-half chances.
Kevin De Bruyne twice drilled wide from promising positions, while Joao Cancelo was denied by a smart save from Grabara.
Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Tuesday ensured City’s place in the round of 16. City rightfully sits in the first position, Borussia Dortmund is second, Sevilla in the third-placed, and FC Copenhagen stays at the bottom in Group G.