By Niall Clarke
- Manchester City defeat Sevilla 2-1 at the Ethiad stadium
- Manchester United draw 1-1 at CSKA Moscow
- City move within 1 point of Juventus
We need to talk about Kevin….. De Bruyne that is. This time the only murder committed was on the Sevilla back line. as the Belgian’s late finish earned Manchester City a crucial 2-1 victory over Sevilla in an entertaining match at the Ethiad stadium. That’s what 55 million buys you.
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Highly rated and highly touted since his time in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg, the former Chelsea man made his influence known yet again. De Bruyne was not at his dazzling best, but he did not need to be.
A big player wins big games, and that is exactly what he did. Sevilla pushed forward for a winner, and were made to pay for their adventure. Yaya Toure led the break, De Bruyne finished it, cutting in onto his left foot before finding the bottom corner, all but killng Sevilla’s chances of victory.
A sense of joy and relief galvanised the Ethiad stadium. One point from two home games was not what the doctor ordered, making this a must win. The City faithful chanted his name as De Bruyne left the field to be replaced by Vincent Kompany for the remainder of stoppage time, but the Spaniards could not offer anything up.
It was left until the dying minutes again, Sergio Aguero the hero in Gladbach last time out. The Argentinian’s absence left question marks on who will fill the void. Wilfried Bony was the positional replacement for the prolific striker, but he couldn’t get on the score sheet.
Instead he would play a big hand in an own goal, his scuffed effort hitting Adil Rami to level It at 1-1. This was just five minutes after Sevilla took the lead through Yevhen Konoplyanka. The Ukrainian, who was once heavily linked with a move to the Premier League before settling for sunny Spain, was left unmarked from 12 yards out, allowing an easy finish.
An open game that would not provide any further goals until De Bruyne’s winner one minute into stoppage time. A big win for Manchester City, who have put themselves in a good position to qualify for the last 16.
United draw at CSKA Moscow
Neighbours Manchester United could not replicate the Citizens’ success, only managing a 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow.
The Red Devils travelled across the continent to the freezing Russian capital. Temperatures cold enough to make Hell turn on their central heating did not distract the acclimatized hosts. They took the lead through Seydou Doumbia after 15 minutes.
Anthony Martial clumsily handled in the area, giving CSKA a chance from 12 yards to open the scoring. David De Gea saved the resulting penalty, but could not keep out the rebound.
The early set back was enough to make United’s blood boil, and young French striker would make up for his earlier sin. Martial rose to head home Antonio Valencia’s cross and rescue a point for the English side.
United now only need to win at Old Trafford and they should be favourites to advance from this group.
Elsewhere in Group B, Wolfsburg moved to the top off the table with a 2-0 home victory against PSV. The Bundesliga side now lead Manchester United by two points.
In Manchester City’s group, Juventus were denied the chance to be only the second team to secure a 100% start to the Champions League, drawing blank with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Speaking of blanks, that exactly what we got in the highly anticipated PSG vs Real Madrid match. Despite the attacking talent on display there were no goals to report, an unexpected disappointment. Elsewhere in the group Malmo scored their first Champions League victory with a home win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Atletico Madrid were comfortable 4-0 winners against Astana, whilst Galatasaray secured a crucial come from behind 2-1 win at home to Benfica.
The Champions League returns in two weeks’ time.
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