With Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho, and Wilfried Bony leading the charge, a three-goal first-half flurry proved enough for Manchester City to defeat Sevilla and claim first place in Champions League Group D Tuesday at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Sterling began the onslaught with his strike in the eighth minute, followed by Fernandinho doubling up the lead three ticks later, and Bony creating further distance in the 36th minute after Sevilla’s Benoit Tremoulinas halved the advantage in the 25th.
Following Juventus’ simultaneous 1-1 draw with Monchengladbach, City and manager Manuel Pellegrini now sit atop the group with nine points to the second-place Italian side’s eight.
And despite the stellar eight-save effort from Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico, Unai Emery’s side remain in third and saw their chances of advancing dwindle down.
Enjoying a successful first run with this new squad, Sterling netted the first Champions League goal of his career with a difficult left-footed strike from a seemingly impossible angle following Fernandinho’s clever assist into the middle of Sevilla’s box.
The Brazilian would serve as playmaker again for Bony in the 11th minute, and his pass-first attitude instead rewarded him with a goal. The 30-year-old broke down the right wing and found Bony all alone at the top of the box, but his shot was blocked and Fernandinho maintained focused and leaped for the header and 2-0 lead.
Tremoulinas gave Sevilla hope in the 25th by converting Coke’s chip cross from inside City keeper Joe Hart’s box into a header that cut the lead by one, but Bony was dead set on getting on the scoreboard.
The Ivory Coast star slithered into Sevilla’s area once again and punched Jesus Navas’ cross into the back of the net with a right-footed strike and City coasted from there.
In control of the group, City and Pellegrini can readjust their strategy heading into Nov. 25’s date with Juventus and may not have to worry too much about goals or finishing outside of the group’s top two.