De Bruyne scores late winner, Man City beats Sevilla 2-1
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Kevin De Bruyne scored an injury-time winner for Manchester City in a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday, delivering another reminder why the English club broke its transfer record to sign him last summer.
Playing as a lone striker in the final minutes, the Belgium playmaker collected a pass from Yaya Toure, cut inside and drove a left-footed shot inside the far post in the first of four minutes of stoppage time.
It was De Bruyne’s fifth goal in nine games for City since his move from Wolfsburg for 55 million pounds ($85 million). Throw in all the assists and chances the 24-year-old is creating from midfield, and it’s already looking like money well spent.
“We bought Kevin because we knew (he) is a very creative player who can score and create goals,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said, “and in that respect, he was the perfect player to bring to our club.”
This was the second straight Group D game that City has won with a late goal — Sergio Aguero’s 90th-minute penalty clinched victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach three weeks ago — as Pellegrini’s side continues its recovery from losing its opening match to Juventus.
City is second in the group, a point behind Juventus and three ahead of Sevilla going into the reverse fixture against the Spanish club next.
“We’ve showed great character and concentration, which is very important in Europe,” Pellegrini said.
Sevilla created enough chances to earn at least a point in an open game at Etihad Stadium, with City producing another jittery home display that is becoming the norm in the Champions League under Pellegrini. This was only City’s fourth win in its last 10 home games in the competition.
“This was a great opportunity,” said Sevilla coach Unai Emery, whose side had 58 percent possession and forced 12 corners — more than double the number City had. “We tried to do a good job here and we were capable of doing it, but we lacked that little bit extra.”
Yevhen Konoplyanka put Sevilla ahead in the 30th minute with a first-time shot from 12 yards (meters), only for Adil Rami to bundle the ball into his own net — as he attempted to tackle Wilfried Bony — and gift City an equalizer six minutes later.
The second half was tighter, although Sevilla looked more likely to score and striker Kevin Gameiro will rue the chance he missed in the 69th minute when he failed to turn the ball into an empty net. Gameiro also wasted a superb chance late in the first half, heading over with just City goalkeeper Joe Hart to beat.
When Bony was substituted in the 76th minute, De Bruyne was the surprise choice to play up front and Toure was pushed further forward to free him from defensive responsibilities. Pellegrini’s decision paid off big time — as did his choice to pay big money for De Bruyne in August.
“Even though we did not have our best game, we tried to look for the victory,” De Bruyne said, “and in the end we could score.”
Another of Pellegrini’s decisions will come under scrutiny, with club captain Vincent Kompany starting on the bench again as Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala were preferred at center back. Pellegrini has not started Kompany since expressing frustration at the player’s recent appearance for Belgium after a spell out injured.
“Mangala and Otamendi are playing very well,” Pellegrini said. “Vincent is coming back from an injury.”
City plays Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.