SHARE
A draw against Feyenoord would have been
enough for Manchester City to clinch top
spot, but Raheem Sterling earned a late win.
Raheem Sterling struck a late winner as
Manchester City clinched top spot in
Champions League Group F after a 1-0
victory over Feyenoord at the Etihad
Stadium.

England international Sterling finished
expertly in the 88th minute as City retained
their 100 per cent record in the competition,
though just a draw would have been enough
to guarantee first place in their section, with
Shakhtar Donetsk going down 3-0 to Napoli.

Pep Guardiola made seven alterations from
the side that defeated Leicester City 2-0 at
the weekend, but a front three formed of
Bernardo Silva, Sterling and Sergio Aguero,
back in the line-up and wearing the captain’s
armband after being taken to hospital having
felt faint at half-time in Argentina’s defeat to
Nigeria last week, struggled in front of goal
for much of the match.

Aguero and Silva failed to convert excellent
first-half chances, while some nervy
moments involving centre-backs Nicolas
Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala could
provide the manager with cause for concern.

City upped their efforts in the second period
and sent on Gabriel Jesus for Kevin De
Bruyne, who picked up a booking that rules
him out of their next match against Shakhtar,
as well as handing senior debuts to 17-year-
old Phil Foden and his fellow teenager
Brahim Diaz.

They finally got their reward when Sterling,
who now has four goals in four Champions
League starts this term, finished a give-and-
go with Ilkay Gundogan by clipping over the
onrushing Brad Jones, as City extended a
club record streak to 25 unbeaten matches in
succession, while lowly Feynoord were
consigned to finishing bottom in the group.

After a tepid opening 20 minutes referee Ivan
Kruzliak turned down a weak penalty claim
from Aguero, before a well-executed sliding
tackle on Jean-Paul Boetius saw Ederson
escape from a heavy first touch outside his
box unscathed.

A lovely run down the left wing from De
Bruyne ended with an exquisitely shaped
delivery for Aguero, who was unable to turn
his near-post header on target in the 32nd
minute.

Sam Larsson gave City a scare when he
turned Kyle Walker inside out and curled a
lovely effort narrowly wide of the bottom-
right corner, but Silva passed up the best
chance of the half when he side-footed a
tame shot from the right side of the box
straight at Jones.

The hosts looked sharper after the restart
but De Bruyne was booked for clumsy
challenge on Steven Berghuis and, after
Larsson drilled the resultant free-kick
narrowly over, he made way for Jesus.

Yaya Toure, starting a match for the first
time in almost a month, curled a set-piece
just wide in the 67th minute, though a touch
from Jones helped it on its way behind and
went unnoticed by the officials.
Feyenoord grew in confidence as the
scoresheet remained blank and Berghuis
would have been the first name on it had
Ederson not tipped over from the former
Watford man.

After Foden entered the fray, Aguero had a
chance to steal all three points for City when
he brought down Silva’s pass in the box.
However, he could not wrap his foot around
the ball enough to steer his shot on target.

It was Sterling who finally broke the
deadlock, spinning in behind and adding a
delightful chipped finish to Gundogan’s
throughball as City continued their flawless
Champions League campaign.

Facebook Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here