Manchester City held their nerve to beat Sevilla 5-4 in a penalty shootout and win the UEFA Super Cup for the first time in their history after an enthralling game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
The first nine spot-kicks of the shootout were all converted on Wednesday but Sevilla defender Nemanja Gudelj struck his penalty against the crossbar to hand victory to Man City, who lost on penalties to Arsenal in England’s Community Shield 10 days ago.
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It was the 15th trophy won by Manchester City under manager Pep Guardiola’s reign which started in 2016 and made up for the recent loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield.
“The manager made it so clear to us before the game how much he wants to win this trophy,” City midfielder Jack Grealish said.
“You want to win everything anyway, but that gave us more of an urge. This club has never won it. It’s a brilliant feeling,” he said.
City’s Kyle Walker lifted the cup amid ticker tape and chants of “Champions” by his teammates on the stage in the middle of the field.
“It’s really frustrating for us, but I’m proud of my teammates,” Sevilla forward Erik Lamela said after the match. “The team did a good job, we ran a lot against a very, very good team.”
Youssef En-Nesyri had given the Europa League winners Sevilla the lead with a towering header in the 25th minute but Man City equalised through a header from 21-year-old Cole Palmer in the 63rd minute.
It was an exciting match played in scorching heat and humidity at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens, Greece, as an obstinate Sevilla caused many problems for a City defence which was often exposed.
Sevilla made last season’s Champions League winners uncomfortable with aggressive high pressing and En-Nesyri wasted several opportunities before he scored following a counterattack.
Marcos Acuna lifted in a brilliant cross from the left to the Morocco striker who climbed higher than Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol to unleash a powerful header past goalkeeper Ederson.
Erik Lamela wasted another good Sevilla chance before Manchester City started to take control of the match, finishing the first half strongly as Erling Haaland and Mateo Kovacic just failed to convert crosses from Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.
Sevilla started the second half strongly, however, and En-Nesyri missed a sitter following a brilliant counterattack led by Lucas Ocampos. The Morocco striker wasted another glorious opportunity before Rodri found Palmer ghosting in behind the defence and he produced a clinical header which arched over goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and into the net.
Nathan Ake could have won it for City in added time but his stooping header from five yards was brilliantly saved by Bounou, who almost stopped Kyle Walker’s spot-kick in the shootout before Gudelj hit the bar.
“It was always going to be a tough game. The lads put in a good performance. We have to be more clinical but we got the job done,” Manchester City captain Walker told TNT Sports.
“If anyone played with me they know I don’t like taking penalties because I don’t like letting people down if I miss. Pep put me in at five. [I wanted to] show leadership. Luckily, it went in and was the winning one,” he said.
Should Manchester City now win the Club World Cup in December, it would complete Guardiola’s honours list since arriving in England, which already includes five Premier League titles, four League Cups, two FA Cups and the club’s first Champions League.
“We are really pleased for the club to win this,” Guardiola said on Wednesday. “We miss just one to finish the full circle and have all the titles we can have.”