Manchester City fought for more silverware tonight as they faced Sevilla in Athens for the UEFA Super Cup.
The Blues were missing a couple of key midfield figures in De Bruyne and Bernardo, and they absolutely were missed.
While Manchester City lacked spark in midfield and as a result in attacking areas, they continued to probe for opportunities.
As always, they maintained high possession. However, it was Sevilla that opened the scoring.
At 24 minutes Sevilla made their breakthrough against the run of play. With their attack starting down their left side resulting in a cross, a bullet header by En-Nesyri flew past Ederson.
It was all Manchester City for the remainder of the first half. However, the Blues could not find a way through the opposition defence.
Sevilla were well organised but nothing could have stopped the stunning through ball by Kovacic to Foden just before half time. The City kid was able to whip a dangerous cross into the box but no one got on the end of it.
The first half ended Manchester City 0 – 1 Sevilla, despite the Blues holding 72% possession.
Just seconds into the second half Sevilla deployed their European dark arts. Nevertheless, in the first ten minutes, Manchester City appeared to forget how to pass a ball.
Despite only joining this summer, Mateo Kovacic stood out as one of the more lively players. Great passing range on display and often found further up the pitch than any of the attacking players.
The Blues have the ability to surprise us all. And when it looked like Sevilla were too organised defensively for City’s lack of creativity. They were cutting through the treble winners like melted Lurpak.
Alas, the 63rd minute saw it all change. A Rodri cross met the head of Cole Palmer who makes no mistake and puts it past Bono with the equaliser.
Following the equaliser Manchester City began to apply more pressure on the Sevilla defence. And it was more surprising that the spell of constant City attack did not end with the ball in the back of the net.
A lovely ball from a free-kick by Foden was whipped into the box just before the final whistle. Ake made a great run behind the back of the opposition defence but could not get enough on the header to convert.
The full time whistle blew following an additional 4 minutes of time. And at 1-1, it went to penalties. Manchester City lost a penalty shootout just two weeks ago to Arsenal in the Community Shield.
Travelling City fans were able to sit behind the penalties and see all the action unfold close up.
Erling Haaland was first up and slots it home confidently, sending Bono the wrong way.
Ocampos scores Sevilla’s first penalty with ease. While Alvarez was next up and puts it straight into the top corner, keeper stood no chance. Nevertheless, Sevilla keep it level.
City’s new man Kovacic also scores with ease into the bottom corner. But it’s 3-3 following Sevilla’s chance. Grealish was up next for the Blues and he did not disappoint in front of the Blues.
Sevilla stay in it and the 5th penalty sees City skipper Walker step up. Very brave of him. But Bono can’t keep it out.
Sevilla miss their 5th penalty as centre-back Nemanja Gudelj hits the crossbar.
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) August 16, 2023
Guardiola is the first coach to win the UEFA Super Cup with three different teams.
And this is the story of how Manchester City won the UEFA Super Cup. And the Blues belt out “Champions of Europe, we know what we are”.