Pep Guardiola said that Riyad Mahrez will take a break from penalties after his latest miss spurned a golden chance for Manchester City to beat Dortmund.
City had to work hard to stay in the game in the first half but a double change at the break gave them renewed momentum and a flowing move involving Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden saw Mahrez brought down in the box. The Algerian stepped up to take the penalty with Erling Haaland off the pitch but – just as at Copenhagen in the previous game – he missed from the spot to waste City’s opportunity.
City ultimately picked up the draw they needed to confirm top spot in the group with a game to spare, yet those two missed penalties could have given them a perfect record in the competition if they were converted. Mahrez has received criticism this season from Guardiola for his fitness levels and while the manager would never criticise anyone for stepping up to take a spot-kick, he suggested the time was right for Mahrez to let others have a go.
“Listen, I admire the courage and bravery of the guys who take the penalties. I don’t know how many million of penalties we’ve missed,” said Guardiola.
“We’ve done it in this competition many times. Riyad was exceptional two or three years ago, he shoot the pen to go 1-1 here to help us reach the semi for the first time.
“Lately, he missed. He will reflect. He can take a break now with the penalties.
“He has the mentality to go there and do it. The teams are physically strong and we give advantage to them – it happened too many times. It’s many players.”