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Flawless display sees Manchester City cruise past Sevilla through to last 16

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Professional, dominant, blistering - three words amongst a bag full of adjectives that describe Manchester City's hard fought victory over Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Such was the brilliance of this near perfect performance, in fact, that it takes its place as the Sky Blues' best Champions League win to date.

Even better than their 3-2 comeback in Munich two seasons ago; better still than the 2-0 win in Rome last season; this match ticked every box the Citizens usually fail to fill.

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To analyse just how they did that, first we must go back and revisit their previous weaknesses in Europe.

Failure to control teams has always been a huge hiccup, especially at the Etihad. Despite having a squad blessed with world class, City usually have a ragged look about them in Europe.

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You see, they were arguably lucky to escape Sevilla at home with all three points, given they had virtually no control over the game, but scraped victory thanks to a miraculous last-minute winner.

It was the exact same with Borussia Monchengladbach, as a Sergio Aguero penalty in the dying minutes practically brought City's Champions League hopes back to life.

On Tuesday night, however, the two-time Premier League champions were great value for their win. As soon as the whistle blew, City jetted out of the starting blocks and chased down their opponents with dogged determination.

Their flying start rattled a disjointed Sevilla side and with just eight minutes on the clock, £49 million man Raheem Sterling took advantage of a superb Fernandinho through ball to stroke past a hapless Sergio Rico.

Euphoria - and just as the travelling supporters got their breath back following the opener, Sterling proved his worth yet again, knicking the ball from right-back Coke before squaring a pass to Wilfried Bony, who struck from the edge of the area.

His tame effort was saved by Rico, only to rebound straight to the head of Fernandinho, who made it 2-0 with just 11 minutes gone. A sensational start.

City looked solid from there, with the midfield trio of Fernandinho, Fernando and Yaya Toure pulling all the strings in what was a dominant midfield performance.

Sevilla managed to pull one back midway through the half as Vitolo skipped past Nicolas Otamendi and lofted a teasing ball back across to the head of Benoit Tremoulinas, who nodded it past Joe Hart.

One goal back and the nerves set in for all associated with the Citizens, but apart from five minutes of reasonable pressure, the Sky Blues were rarely in danger.

The game was effectively sealed ten minutes later by Bony. Jesus Navas whipped a delicious ball across the box to the feet of the Ivorian, who gratefully swept home from twelve yards.

Compared to the razzle-dazzle first period of this crunch encounter, the second half was a slightly duller affair.

Manuel Pellegrini set his men up to see out the result, defending in numbers and expertly closing the game out to seal the victory.

Cue the final whistle; cue excitement from the fans; cue City's place in the pot for the last 16.

This spelled the end of a streak - a streak of unconvincing European performances for the Citizens - all thanks to Pellegrini's tactical genius, opting for the Brazilian pairing of Fernando and Fernandinho, who protected the back four magnificently all night.

This decision, as well as its defensive benefits, allowed Toure to wreak havoc with his bursting runs and dictation of play in a more advanced role. The clash also outlined City's best centre-back pairing: Vincent Kompany and Otamendi.

The Belgian and Argentinian partnership proved almost invincible all game; everything Sevilla threw at them, the pair dealt with expertly.

Unbelievable performance all round, and one that will certainly live in the memory for City fans.

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Topics:
Premier League
Manchester City
Football

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