Belfast Telegraph

Champions League Sevilla 1-3 Manchester City: We won't relax after qualifying, insists boss Pellegrini

By Andy Hampson

Manchester City produced one of their greatest European performances to secure their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 3-1 win at Sevilla.

Manuel Pellegrini's men did the damage early as they raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Raheem Sterling and the outstanding Fernandinho inside 11 minutes at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Benoit Tremoulinas pulled one back for last year's Europa League winners but Wilfried Bony put City back in control before the break and they eased to a victory that puts them top of Group D.

The draw between Borussia Monchengladbach and Juventus in the group's other fixture means that City have ensured qualification with two games to spare. After their past struggles in the competition, this was a landmark moment for City.

Chilean Pellegrini said: "It is very important to qualify for the next stage, now we will try to qualify in first position. I'm happy with the way we played, we scored three goals and we defended well.

"I wasn't happy with the way we were playing in previous games. I'm happy with tonight.

"The three midfielders - Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando - played well, pressed higher and our attack was really prepared. We played with one touch and moved into space, that was why we created many chances."

Pellegrini raised some eyebrows in his selection as he left in-form Kevin de Bruyne on the bench, but his decision to play Fernando in midfield, allowing Fernandinho and Yaya Toure to push forward, worked superbly.

They made a blistering start as a result with Fernandinho the architect with a defence-splitting pass and Sterling raced through to finish with composure.

City did not relent and claimed a second three minutes later as Sterling broke down the left to tee up Bony. Sergio Rico parried the Ivorian's shot but the irrepressible Fernandinho followed up to head home.

Sevilla replied as Coke skipped into the area and crossed for Tremoulinas to head in.

Joe Hart then produced a brilliant save to keep out a Timothee Kolodziejczak header on the line.

It was a worrying spell for City but they recovered their composure and reasserted their grip through Bony after 36 minutes.

Jesus Navas was the provider after a good run down the right and Bony tucked away his shot.

Such was City's superiority, Pellegrini was able to give Fabian Delph a run-out in the closing minutes to step up his comeback from injury.

SEVILLA: González, Coke (Filho 56), Rami, Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas, Iborra (Krohn-Dehli 45), Krychowiak, Pérez, Banega, Konoplyanka, Llorente (Immobile 64).

Unused subs: Reyes, N'Zonzi, Escudero, Solís.

Goal: Trémoulinas 25

MANCHESTER CITY: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernando, Fernandinho (Demichelis 90), Navas, Touré, Sterling (De Bruyne 73), Bony (Delph 86). Unused: Caballero, Mangala, Clichy, Barker.

Goals: Sterling 8, Fernandinho 11, Bony 36.

Man of the match: Fernandinho

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway).

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