Substitutes Save the City

Manchester City played well in their Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb; however, it took two substitutes to win the match.

Pep Guardiola’s team had done it all, they played well, created chances, even had two penalty appeals go down but could not break the deadlock until he introduced super subs. Raheem Sterling came out of the bench in the 56th minute and within 10 minutes, he sent a perfect Riyad Mahrez to cross home. Then he was again involved in the Phil Foden’s goal when he ran 40 yards from the centerline to deliver an inch-perfect pass to Foden to get the second goal of the night. That was in the 95th minute. The scorer Foden himself was substituted just 5 minutes before.

It was a good night for the home crowd. They created pressure on the Dinamo Zagreb created chances but to their credit, Dinamo played well. Manchester City had 81% of ball possession, 10 corners and 20 shots on goal. Out of the 20 shots, 14 were off target and 6 were on target. They played in more open 4-3-3 formation. In contrast, Dinamo had only 2 shots, only one of them on target and one corner. Their strategy was to defend and counter-attack and they used 3-5-2 formation which often converted into six-man defense when the midfielders were coming down to help. They soaked all the pressure and kept their cool. They forced Guardiola to make the first substitution of the night as he took off rather subdued Bernardo Silva for Sterling. Sterling kept the faith of his coach by his match-winning performance of one goal and one assist.

Although it was Sterling’s night, Foden stole the spotlight too. With his performance, at the age of 19, he is putting pressure on Southgate to pick him for the national team.

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