Manchester City overcame a poor first-half performance to score three goals without reply in the second half against Borussia M nchengladbach, finishing as group leaders in the Champions League for the first time
The Premier League title favourites were dominated by the Bundesliga side in the first half, with Die Fohlen managing an incredible 63 per cent ball possession at the Etihad, and scoring two well-worked goals despite falling behind to a David Silva rocket in the 16th minute.
However, the tables were turned in the second half, with Manchester City scoring three goals in the space of five minutes courtesy of Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony to win the final group-stage game and finish top of Group D.
Pellegrini believes second-half display would trouble any side in Europe
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was understandably delighted with his side’s win — even more so given Sevilla’s win over Juventus — insisting that the second-half display could trouble any side in Europe.
Despite topping the group and avoiding the likes of Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Round of 16, the Chilean acknowledged that winning the competition would mean beating the best sides at some stage.
Pellegrini said after the match (via Daily Mirror): “I think that if we play the way we did in the second half, we can play against any team. That is the way I like to play. I dona t know if ita s the best European night, but ita s certainly one of the best.
“Ita s better to finish first because you can avoid important teams for just one stage more. But if you hope to win the title, you have to play against the big teams.”
. Birthday boy Sterling stars in City win
Raheem Sterling marked his 21st birthday with a superb performance on Tuesday, setting up David Silva for City’s first goal with a delightful backheel, and scoring two goals himself in the second half to put the game beyond Gladbach.
Pellegrini reserved words of praise for the young England international after the game, saying: “Ita s his birthday. Hea s 21-years-old. I think that display will be very important for him.a
Nights such as these are ostensibly what Sterling moved to the Etihad for, and the former Liverpool FC winger will now compete in the knock-out stages of the competition for the first ever time in his career.