Torres’ fourth goal of the group stage ensured that Manchester City were unbeaten for the second year in a row in their group, with 1 point being the joint-highest return of any English team in the history of the competition.
As Sergio Aguero returned to the field, Pep Guardiola was as happy with this cool-eyed display as the forward was scoring just 10 minutes late after the cameo.
“He will always have a tendency to score, he had three or four training sessions and the response was good,” said Guardiola, a former recovery from a knee problem. “He had 25 minutes tonight and scored. Step by step [for him] – We’ll see his reaction when he comes back tomorrow – This is the most important.
The manager offered a clear “no” when asked if he could start the derby on Saturday at Manchester United.
Regarding City’s group stage, he said: “We are really happy with the way we play in all the games without exception, we have scored, we have conceded a few. This is the next round and we will see some incredible teams in it so it will be an interesting draw. “
Guardiola has only retained Ilke Gondogan and Riyad Mahrez since Saturday’s win against Fulham here, yet he has patrolled the technical area. A familiar pattern of quick passes often leads the ball to Steve Mandander’s goal, while Phil Foden completed a sequence with a cross aimed at Kyle Walker. Jumped right-back high but his title was misplaced. When Bernardo Silva had a clear chance to travel to Mahrez, the chance was clear for the Algerians, but the shot was saved by Mandanda and the manager held his head.
This opener of the city felt for some time but was not supposed to come in the first half. After their incessant pressure, Gondogan’s free-kick met with a strong Imeric Laparte header, however, it was not the target again.
Now the first original from Marseille. Dmitry Payet swung the ball to the right from his central striker role and the city could be weakened by the wind and so it proved: Lapert was nowhere near delivery and Vallar’s Germany should have done better than a wrong title.
At intervals the competition remained goalless. After the 20-yard Mahrez effort widened, Marseille have enjoyed some enduring pressure. John Stones, through the injured Eric Garcia, challenged Sliding to deny Germany. Moments later Morgan Sanson crossed the right-hand post of Jack Stephen. Afterwards, Pep Guye denied the latter at the nearby border.
Andre Villas-Boas’ hopes of securing third place and a Europa League berth were dashed in the third minute of the second half. This time City’s radar was just right – the ball was clearly relaying from Laparte to Silva to Mahrez to Torres – and in the next brutal finish.
Marseille’s work to further improve Olympiacos’ results in qualifying then visibly fueled Visas-Boas – the Greeks lost to Porto at the moment – became even tougher. While the warming of Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy will not encourage them, Rahim Sterling has already replaced Gondogan at break, then knocking at his ankle.
Still, Florian Thaoin cut his cross but offered a jolt of hope for the spectators as he ran, and Foden twice threatened to frustrate Citoni when Mandanda cheated.
The city was firmly in control, deliberately flooding Marseille. A glittering agavero along the touchline enjoyed an enthusiastic warmth and it turned on on the on. His instincts gave him a chance to make it 2-0 from the nearest range, before Sterling was bundled to the end of the third, after which Alvaro Gonzalez was given his own goal.