Sterling secures victory as Pep hails next batch of Citizens. Man City 1-0 Feyenoord, by James Nalton at Eastlands
MANCHESTER CITY topped their Champions League group and maintained their perfect record in the competition with a 1-0 victory against Feyenoord on Tuesday night.
Raheem Sterling’s goal in the final minutes of the game secured the win, but a draw would have been enough for them to qualify for the knockout stages from first position in Group F, and for much of the game it did look like the points would be shared.
The visitors from Rotterdam put in one of their better performances in this year’s competition, and had chances to score despite City’s dominance.
“I’m very proud, the performance was really good,” said their manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
“We are developing as team, especially in the Champions League, and I think we deserved more today. We played a good game and could have scored. I’m very proud of the way we performed and represented our club.”
The Dutch side were close to getting their first point in the group and City goalkeeper Ederson was called upon on a number of occasions to thwart attacks.
He saved from Steven Berghuis in the second-half and came out bravely at the feet of Tonny Vilhena in the first, but also suffered a shaky moment when he almost allowed Jean-Paul Boetius in on goal after a poor touch.
The highlight of the second period, other than the goal, was the introduction of local City academy player Phil Foden, who made his debut.
The 17-year-old has impressed at youth level for England, winning the U-17 World Cup in October where he was named the best player in the tournament.
Playing on the left of midfield, Foden showed some nice touches, and was later joined by fellow academy product, 18-year-old Spaniard Brahim Diaz.
“A big congratulations to our academy,” said Pep Guardiola when asked about his young players. “The club should be so proud. We had a 17 and 18-year-old making an appearance in [the] Champions League and had the result been more comfortable, they would have played more minutes.
“The guys who worked with them in recent years deserve the credit: the managers, people and teammates. They are responsible for them making their first appearance in this competition.”
By the time Diaz came on in injury-time the game had already been won by Sterling’s composed strike.
His one-two with Ilkay Gundogan left the visitors’ defence flummoxed, and the goal meant City topped a Champions League group for the second time.