Champions League

Sterling strikes late to earn Man City top spot

2017-11-22 07:07
Raheem Sterling (Getty)

Manchester - Pep Guardiola's Manchester City secured top spot in Champions League Group F after Raheem Sterling's late strike snatched a 1-0 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday. 

With City having already booked a place in the last 16, Guardiola made seven changes to his starting XI and he had to wait until the 88th minute for his side to make the breakthrough. 

Sterling's strike, after a one-two with Ilkay Gundogan, means City have now won their last 17 games in all competitions, including a victory on penalties over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup. 

"Of course winning is better than not winning," said Guardiola. 

"In the first half, we could do better. But sometimes it's difficult. You win a lot of games, you already qualify. 

"You want to finish first, but you have another chance to finish first. We didn't have the right tension to play. 

"But that is normal. In the end we scored a fantastic goal from Rash, excellent pass from Gundogan, and we were able to win." 

Shakhtar Donetsk's defeat at Napoli meant City would have topped the group regardless of the result at the Etihad Stadium, but Sterling's goal maintained their 100 percent record in the competition. 

The match also gave Guardiola an opportunity to hand a competitive debut to 17-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, star of England's recent triumph at the Under-17 World Cup, who came on as a late substitute. 

Having failed to match Napoli's result, Dutch champions Feyenoord cannot now secure even the consolation of a Europa League berth. 

Beaten coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst said: "To concede a goal in the 88th minute was a bit harsh.

"I think we deserved more today. I am very proud of how we performed and how we represented the club." 

Though City controlled possession in the first half, the runaway Premier League leaders had trouble grinding out clear chances. 

Sergio Aguero sent a tame shot straight at Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones, who also produced an unconvincing parry to fend off a slighter from Sterling. 

With Eliaquim Mangala deputising for the injured John Stones at the other end, City looked less secure at the back than in recent weeks and the visitors gave them a number of uncomfortable moments. 

City goalkeeper Ederson atoned for a heavy touch with a last-ditch tackle on Jean-Paul Boethius and rushed out bravely to save from Tonny Vilhena, while Sam Larsson curled narrowly wide. 

When City did get in behind Feyenoord, Sterling teeing up Bernardo Silva after a left-to-right dart along the edge of the box, the Portuguese could only prod a meek effort into Jones's gloves.

Kevin De Bruyne was booked on the hour for a clumsy trip on Steven Berghuis, ruling him out of City's trip to Donetsk on December 6. 

The Belgium midfielder almost put City ahead with a daisy-cutter that skimmed past the left-hand post and both Yaya Toure and Aguero also went close as the second half wore on. 

City's failure to make their territorial dominance count left them vulnerable and Berghuis nearly put Feyenoord ahead with a vicious shot that Ederson did well to tip over the bar. 

Local youngster Foden, born in nearby Stockport, made his entrance in place of Toure with 15 minutes remaining and was roared onto the pitch. 

With Feyenoord standing firm, it looked like he would have to wait for his first taste of victory in a City shirt. 

But as full-time neared, Sterling laid the ball off to Gundogan and then scampered into the box to collect the German's return pass before cleverly checking to send Jones down and dinking the pall over him.

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
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PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
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Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
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Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
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Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
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Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
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