Football

Manchester City steal precious Champions League win over Sevilla

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Such was the price at stake for Manchester City on a night their Champions League hopes hung in the balance, a spell of torrential rain prior to kick off was somewhat indicative of the gloomy fate that the Citizens faced if they failed to beat Sevilla at the Etihad on Wednesday night.

It wasn't just the rain beating down on Manchester before kick off, though - hooliganism was rampant in the city centre earlier that day, as footage emerged of City and Sevilla fans launching chairs at each other.

Unaware of the scenes and focusing on their own game, the Sky Blues began the clash in a fashion typical of their strong form of late.

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The visitors soon grew into the game, Sevilla's extra man in midfield proving difficult for the hosts to deal with.

Attacks from the La Liga outfit continually breezed through City's midfield time and time again, their impetus eventually proving dividends after a series of chances missed on the half hour mark.

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Yehven Konoplyanka, whose early disguised free-kick tested Joe Hart, drifted into space inside City's penalty area before slotting home from 12-yards out.

Under pressure and 1-0 down, City's defence were in disarray, disjointed and uncomfortable without captain, Vincent Kompany.

However, the Citizens' confidence soon grew as they began to put pressure on Urai Emery's men. Their eventual equaliser came after some great work from Yaya Toure six minutes later.

The Ivorian drove through the middle of the park before feeding Jesus Navas, who in turn returned the favour by sliding through Toure to muscle past Sevilla's defence and cross for Raheem Sterling.

The Englishman's strike was saved by 'keeper Sergio Rico, only for Wilfried Bony to pounce and slot home, courtesy of a deflection.

The second half was a dreary affair, especially for City supporters, as the visitors retained the ball excellently and threatened to inflict yet another upset.

As the half wore on, though, City again began to impose themselves on a Sevilla side growing tired and sloppy.

Manuel Pellegrini's side eventually found the winner, owing in part to their fitness, but mostly to the abundance of talent they possess.

Navas tussled for the ball inside City's half with just three minutes of stoppage time remaining, before turning and feeding Kevin De Bruyne with a through ball.

The Belgian took the ball in his stride, cut inside and guided a sharp, curling shot into the bottom corner - a sublime finish on his weaker foot.

Cue absolute ecstasy. The Etihad Stadium erupted as De Bruyne's match-winning strike justified his heavy price-tag.

It was an unbelievable finish to a nervy game - and with Juventus dropping points at home to Borussia Monchengladbach, the night belonged to City, as their hopes of making the last 16 were boosted.

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Topics:
Premier League
Manchester City
Football

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