ATHENS ― Manchester City held their nerve to beat Sevilla 5-4 on penalties 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 but Serbian defender Nemanja Gudelj struck his penalty against the crossbar to hand victory to City, who lost on penalties to Arsenal in England’s Community Shield 10 days ago.
Youssef En-Nesyri had given Europa League winners Sevilla the lead with a towering header in the 25th minute but City equalised through a header from 21-year-old Cole Palmer in the 63rd minute.
It was a exciting match played in scorching heat and humidity at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium 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 counter-attack.
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 counter-attack 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,” 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.” ― Reuters