Nike Magista Obra AG
The patchy nature of City’s 2-1 victory over the same opponents in Manchester two weeks ago prompted renewed talk of Nike Magista Obra AG Manuel Pellegrini and his team’s shortfalls at elite club level.
But despite record signing Kevin De Bruyne – the matchwinner during the previous meeting between the sides – watching on from the bench, City turned in a thrilling first-half display brimming with creativity and intensity.
Sevilla were unbowed and vibrantly battled a
way back into the contest as Benoit Tremoulinas headed home before Wilfried Bony added City’s third nine minutes prior to half-time.The Chilean’s decision to include Fernando in a holding role granted attacking license to Fernandinho and the midfielder was at the heart of much of City’s fine work during a devastating opening spell.
Having had a penalty appeal rejected, the Brazil international strode forward a threaded a sublime pass for Sterling to slot home left-footed in the eighth minute.
Roles were reversed three minutes later – Sterling pouncing on a slip from Sevilla full-back Coke to feed Bony, whose shot was magnificently saved by Sergio Rico before Fernandinho nodded in the rebound.
Rico’s attempted heroics were almost in vain once again when he got down to tip a strike from former Sevilla winger Jesus Navas onto the base of his Electro Flare pack right post.
Fernando Llorente fired wastefully over on the end of Vicente Iborra’s flick on, but Sevilla reduced the deficit after 25 minutes with a wonderful team goal.
Vitolo deftly picked out Coke, who atoned for his earlier error by skipping past Nicolas Otamendi and chipping a cross over Joe Hart for his fellow full-back Tremoulinas to charge in for a simple headed finish.
After Sevilla defender Adil Rami blasted into the side netted, City restored their two-goal cushion nine minutes before the break as Navas collected a Hart clearance to twist past Tremoulinas and cut the ball back for Bony to pick out the bottom corner.
Unai Emery’s team began the second half on the front foot, seeking to respond once more, but they were indebted to sharp reactions from Rico to deny Fernandinho a second – Sterling crafting the opportunity with another mazy run in the 53rd minute.
A one-two between
Ivory Coast team-mates Bony and Yaya Toure saw the latter curl wide as the match entered the final 20 minutes, with Sevilla looking increasingly dishevelled.
The Europa League holders are now most likely to contest a return to that competition in a battle for third place with Monchengladbach as they sit five points behind Tech Craft pack Juventus in second and unable to overturn City due to an inferior head-to-head record.
Meanwhile, Stephan Lichtsteiner made his comeback from a career-threatening heart problem with a stunning equaliser for 10-man Juventus in a 1-1 Nike Mercurial Superfly AG draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, who are eliminated from the Champions League as a result.Juve would have qualified for the knockout stages with a victory, but the second-half sending off of Hernanes for a rash challenge proved a significant setback for Massimiliano Allegri’s men.
Gladbach, who went into the Nike Elastico Superfly indoor cleats game on the back of three consecutive victories across all competitions, took the lead inside the first 20 minutes through Fabian Johnson, but Lichtsteiner’s equaliser ended their hopes of qualifying from Group D with two games left to play.
There had been doubts over whether Lichtsteiner would play football again when he was forced to undergo heart surgery to correct a defect at the start of October, and he was a surprise inclusion in Allegri’s starting line-up.
His selection proved decisive in a tightly contested match, and his finish from Paul Pogba’s exquisite pass put the final touch on a fabulous goal.
Last season’s runners-up Juve will seal their progression to the last 16 if they defeat Manchester City next time out, while the best Gladbach can hope for now is third place in the group and a spot in the Europa League.