Manchester City qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday as they beat Sevilla 3-1 away from home. City raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho but Sevilla came storming back with Benoit Tremoulinas pulling one back.
[ VIDEO: City start superbly ]
Before a frantic half time ended Wilfried Bony restored City’s two-goal lead and Sevilla struggled to get back into the game as City could have won by a more comfortable margin.
With the win City sealed qualification to the knockout stages with two Group D games remaining, as Manuel Pellegrini has now guided them past the group stage in each of his three seasons in charge. City sit top of Group D on nine points, while Juventus are on eight points in second place and are the only team who can catch City.
Just eight minutes into the game Fernandinho slotted in Sterling superbly and the English winger coolly finished to put City 1-0 up. Just three minutes later City had doubled their lead with Fernandinho this time providing the finishing touch to make it 2-0. Sterling again got in down the left and his cross found Bony who had his shot saved but the ball bounced up to Fernandinho who headed home.
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Sevilla pulled one back in the 25th minute as Coke steamed past Nicolas Otamendi and clipped the ball to the back post where Tremoulinas headed home into an empty net. 2-1 and City’s defensive lapses continued as they have now only kept three clean sheets in their last 32 European games. Soon after Sevilla were almost level as Joe Hart pulled off a magnificent save at his near post from Timothee Kolodziejczak’s header and the follow up was slammed into the side-netting by Vicente Iborra.
After dominating the early stages, City were struggling but before the break they restored their two goal advantage as Hart sprung a quick counter-attack from a Sevilla corner to find Jesus Navas on the right flank and his cut back was slotted home by Bony for this first Champions League goal. 3-1.
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In the second half Sevilla came flying out of the traps and tried to pin City back but the Citizens defended resolutely and looked dangerous on the counter with Sterling causing problems and Fernandinho getting a shot on target which was well saved. Sterling again caused problems with his pace on the break moments later and feed the ball to Bony but his shot went just wide.
As the game played out Sterling continued to be a thorn in the backside of Sevilla’s defense and his ball found Yaya Toure when first played a one-two with Bony and then curled an effort inches wide of the post. Bony almost added another goal late on as the Ivorian could have had a hat trick on another night.