'Man City not yet a Continental force'

Celtic midfielder Patrick Roberts shoots past Manchester City defender Oluwatosin Adarabioyo (centre) to score the opener in the Champions League group game.
Celtic midfielder Patrick Roberts shoots past Manchester City defender Oluwatosin Adarabioyo (centre) to score the opener in the Champions League group game. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Guardiola says his side have to earn respect of Champions League rivals after Celtic draw

LONDON • Manchester City's recent history may be filled with domestic success, but manager Pep Guardiola claimed his side go into the Champions League knockout phase as European novices.

City drew 1-1 at home to Celtic on Tuesday in their final group-stage match, which maintained their unbeaten home record in the competition this year.

The Premier League club had already qualified for the last 16 as Group C runners-up behind Guardiola's former team Barcelona, who finished six points ahead on 15.

"Considering that Man City has for the first time (last season) in their long history arrived in the semi-final, I'm so happy we're there to compete against the best teams in the world," Guardiola said.

"The group was really tough, really. The Champions League is not easy, especially for a team that's not experienced in Europe. You have to win that respect through performance in the next years."

With City already through to the knockout stages, the match was an opportunity for Guardiola to ring the changes from the side that lost 1-3 at home to Chelsea in the Premier League last Saturday.

There was equally nothing riding on the outcome at the Etihad Stadium for bottom side Celtic, who produced a spirited display and were the better team for most of the first half.

A TALE OF TWO CITY DRAWS

We were unbeaten against Manchester City and arguably could have won both games.

BRENDAN RODGERS , the Celtic manager, reflecting on his side's Champions League campaign. The Scottish side held City to a 3-3 draw at home before getting a 1-1 result at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

Patrick Roberts, signed by City last year but on loan at Celtic, gave the Scottish champions a fourth-minute lead, but his excellent effort was swiftly cancelled out by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Guardiola refused to be drawn on who he would prefer to face in the last 16, and played down the potential for a clash against holders Real Madrid.

Celtic coach Brendan Rodgers said he was disappointed not to get all three points, but praised his team's performance over the course of the six group games.

"We were competing against two of the superpowers of European football. We were unbeaten against Manchester City and arguably could have won both games," he said.

The match was marred by crowd trouble which could see City facing a sanction from European football's governing body Uefa.

Fighting broke out among several supporters in the 73rd minute before being contained by a heavy security presence. The trouble is likely to prompt an investigation by Uefa. There were reports that 13 people were arrested.

Uefa's control, ethics and disciplinary body may also take unkindly to City supporters once again booing the Champions League anthem before kick-off.

The club was fined over the same incident last season, although no such draconian action has been taken when the anthem has been booed during this campaign.

In Barcelona, Arda Turan grabbed a hat-trick and Lionel Messi scored his 10th Champions League goal of the season as the Spanish side cruised past Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline ''Man City not yet a Continental force''. Print Edition | Subscribe