Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta hailed the character of the side after their last-gasp win against Villarreal in the Champions League.

The Citizens appeared set for their second draw in the competition before Sergio Aguero's injury-time strike secured a 2-1 win for Roberto Mancini's side at the Etihad Stadium.

With Napoli and Bayern Munich drawing in Italy, the race to win Group A is now wide open, and the Argentine full back was well aware of the importance of his compatriot's goal.

"It was important to win. Obviously, if you don't play at your best and win you [still] get three points and that is important for any team. Today we had chances to score more goals; they didn't come and it was only settled in the last minute," he told UEFA.com.

"Obviously, it's a great victory for us and the group is still open. We showed character as a team beyond the chances we created and couldn't take. The team kept trying to play, to create openings, and when you win in the last minute you can call it luck but it might be down to virtue too – you kept fighting to the end.

"The pressure is still there; it's a very even group, perhaps the most difficult in the competition. We have the team to get through it and that's what we're working for, but the pressure will always be there."

Whilst the result leaves the Yellow Submarine rock bottom of the group with no points, defender Aleksandar Kolarov insists the La Liga side can't be taken lightly when the two teams meet again in a fortnight.


 

Reflecting on the drama that had just unfolded, the Serbian believed City were good value for their win, and felt the timing of the equaliser in the first period (an own goal) was crucial.

"We knew that it would be a very tough game with a Villarreal side who play good football. We trusted we could win and in the last seconds we won it, which was important for us," added Kolarov.

"We had trust in ourselves. It was important that we scored before half-time to go in after 45 minutes at 1-1. Villarreal are a very good team but I think we deserved to win."

Topics:
#Manchester City
#UEFA Champions League
#Pablo Zabaleta
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