Manchester, Dec 13 (IANS) Manchester City squandered numerous scoring chances in their final Champions League group stage match but managed to notch a 2-1 win over Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim thanks to a brace by Leroy Sane.
City got off to an inauspicious start at Etihad Stadium here on Wednesday night when Aymeric Laporte fouled Benjamin Hubner in the area and Andrej Kramaric converted from the penalty spot to put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the 16th minute, reports Efe.
The English Premier League side, who only needed a tie to ensure themselves of first place in Group F, still had loads of time to get the equalizer but made their home fans restless with a series of missed chances.
Among the bullets dodged by Hoffenheim, Gabriel Jesus hit the woodwork with a header off a corner kick, John Stones headed a ball from the goal area directly at net minder Oliver Baumann and yet another header by Nicolas Otamendi clanked off the crossbar.
But frustration turned to joy in Manchester when Sane sent a curving free kick over a wall of defenders and past a diving Baumann in first-half injury time.
Hoffenheim, who needed a win and a Shakhtar Donetsk loss on Wednesday night to finish third in the group and earn a Europa League berth, tried to go on the attack at the start of the second half.
But that only left holes in their defence that City and their speedy attackers tried to exploit.
Although Sane botched a three-on-one opportunity against Baumann with an extra pass to Bernardo Silva, exasperating Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola in the process, he made up for that error in the 61st minute when he received a pass from Raheem Sterling, maneuvered around Baumann and slotted the ball home from just outside the goal area.
With the win, Manchester City finished group-stage play with a record of four wins, one draw and one loss (13 points) and will next play in the Champions League when the round-of-16 action kicks off in February.
Hoffenheim’s European campaign is over for this season after they finished last in the group with a record of 0-3-3 (three points).