Man City beats Sevilla 3-1 to advance in Champions League
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) Raheem Sterling scored his first Champions League goal to help Manchester City seal its place in the round of 16 with a dominant 3-1 win at Sevilla on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old forward got City going with an opening goal in the eighth minute before he won the ball to help Fernandinho double the advantage in the 11th.
Sevilla’s Benoit Tremoulinas scored for the hosts in the 25th, only for former Sevilla forward Jesus Navas to pass for Wilfried Bony to take City’s third in the 36th.
Even without the injured Sergio Aguero and David Silva, City eased to the win – guided by Sterling who tormented Sevilla’s defense with his speed and flair on the left flank until substituted in the 73rd.
”I think we played one of our best games,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. ”The score didn’t even reflect what happened on the pitch, we could have scored five or six.”
City moved into first place in Group D with nine points with two games left, one point ahead of Juventus. Sevilla has three and can’t overtake City because of their head-to-head record.
In the other group game, Juventus drew 1-1 at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Moenchengladbach is last with two points and was eliminated.
City went ahead when Sterling met Fernandinho’s through ball and used one soft touch to slot the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Sterling manufactured City’s second goal by tenaciously fighting for a long ball that he had initially lost to Jorge ”Coke” Andujar.
Sterling pressured and pounced on Coke’s poor back pass before laying off for Bony. Rico saved his shot but watched his rebound fall for Fernandinho to head home.
Navas, who played 10 years for his boyhood club, was cheered by the Sevilla faithful before kickoff.
But the former fan favorite helped further deflate the crowd at Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium when he hit the post in the 13th.
”The love the fans showed me is mutual, I always have them in my heart,” Navas said after the match. ”But now I only want to help my team win.”
City continued to create shots with ease, but Coke made amends for his earlier error by attacking in City’s area before lifting a short cross back for Tremoulinas to head in.
The goal appeared to revive Sevilla and two minutes later only a great one-handed save by Joe Hart kept Grzegorz Krychowiak from leveling the score.
But Navas helped snuff out the response when he picked out Bony and sent in a low pass for the striker to volley between the helpless Rico and the near post.