PHIL FODEN pushed his case for a regular start at Manchester City by scoring the goal which clinched a place in the knock-out stages.
The young midfielder – who shone for England last week – has been benched for the last four Premier League matches.
But with Kevin De Bruyne left back in Manchester to have a rest, Foden had the chance to take centre stage for City.
And his goal late in the first half ensured City will be in the last 16 of this competition for an eighth successive season.
Foden looked lively right from the start as his low shot from a tight angle was smartly saved by Jose Sa and another effort rolling inches wide.
Such was City’s total domination that the Greek side only touched the ball once in the opposition half in the opening 18 minutes.
The home keeper was having a busy night and he spread himself well to keep out Gabriel Jesus, who had latched onto Foden’s pass.
Pep Guardiola’s team have been uncharacteristically short of goals in the Premier League with just 10 coming from their first eight matches.
They were struggling to make the breakthrough here – but a little bit of magic from stand-in skipper Raheem Sterling helped them finally crack it.
Ilkay Gundogan shrugged off his marker before playing through Sterling whose delicious backheel was perfect for Foden.
The England youngster did not have to break his stride as he swept the ball past home keeper Sa.
City looked to ram home their advantage with Sterling curling in a 20 yard free-kick which Sa had to tip over the bar.
Guardiola’s men continued to completely control the game after the break but wasted a series of chances to finish the tie off.
Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva all had opportunities but failed to finish off the Greek side – but their 15 match unbeaten run in the group stage as nevre really under threat.
Sergio Aguero – who was formerly married to Diego Maradona’s daughter Giannina – was brought on for the last 13 minutes.
He limped out of the draw at West Ham with a hamstring problem and his return will be a big boost for City in the weeks ahead.
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