Gladbach 1-2 Man City: Late goals save City’s CL hopes

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Manchester City flirted on Wednesday with the possibility of having won zero points from their first two 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group games before coming back from 1-0 down to defeat Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, 2-1 in Germany.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s UCL roundup — Chelsea, Arsenal lose ]

Man City had the game’s first dangerous scoring chance, as Sergio Aguero got onto the end of Raheem Sterling‘s ball all the way across the face of goal. Full extended at the far post, Aguero couldn’t direct his first-time effort inside the post, instead hitting it back to the center, off the body of Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Joe Hart dropped the heavy hand of justice on Gladbach in the 20th minute, when England’s no. 1 thwarted Raffael’s effort from the penalty spot after the Brazilian striker appeared to go down very easily following little or no contact from City defender Nicolas Otamendi.

Hart made another vital save on 37 minutes, when Raffael slipped Patrick Herrmann behind the City defense with a simple through ball. The 24-year-old German raced into the penalty area and fired high and for the near post, but Hart once again rescued City with a strong, one-on-one save.

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The Hart-saves-City theme continued after the halftime restart, as the 28-year-old came up massive yet again to stop Raffael’s curling effort from nestling itself inside the far post in the 47th minute. The Brazilian timed his run perfectly and found himself one on one with Hart, only to fall victim to another world-class save.

Seven minutes later, there was nothing Hart could do about Lars Stindl’s low, placed effort from 16 yards out. Julian Korb raced down the right wing and crossed the ball into the box, cutting in back to Stindl, whose late run saw him arrive into acres of space. The 27-year-old German raked his first-time, right-footed shot past an outstretched Hart for a massively deserved opening goal.

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City equalized on 65 minutes, though, when Martin Demichelis headed Kevin De Bruyne‘s’s corner kick over the goal line. The goal, however, wasn’t given despite being a full 12-18 inches over the line before it was booted clear. Otamendi was there for the follow-up and blasted a volley from 16 yards out off the head of a Gladbach defender to beat Sommer.

City’s winner came courtesy of U.S. national team midfielder/defender Fabian Johnson, whose attempted challenge on Aguero inside the penalty area went all sorts of wrong and resulted in a kick to the Argentine’s shin. Aguero assumed responsibility from the penalty spot and duly converted to save City embarrassment similar to that of Chelsea and Arsenal 24 hours prior, and to move level with Sevilla for second place (3 points) in Group D, behind a perfect Juventus side.