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UEFA Super Cup

Manchester City beat Sevilla to win UEFA Super Cup

Manchester City won the UEFA Super Cup for the first time on Wednesday but needed penalties to beat Sevilla after a 1-1 draw in Athens.

Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering first-half header gave the Spaniards the lead.

European champions City were far from their slick best, but hit back to force the game to penalties through Cole Palmer’s header.

City were then perfect from the spot and prevailed 5-4 in the shootout after Sevilla defender Nemanja Gudelj smashed against the bar.

Pep Guardiola has bemoaned his side’s lack of preparation for the new season and it showed under the baking heat in the Greek capital.

City badly missed the creative presence of Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva through a combination of injury and illness.

A four-month absence for De Bruyne due to a serious hamstring injury has exacerbated the loss of firepower offered by Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez since last season.

West Ham’s Brazilian international Lucas Paqueta has been linked with a move to the Etihad and this performance may serve as further proof City need to strengthen before the end of the transfer market.

Sevilla began their LaLiga season with a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Valencia.

But just as they did last season in lifting a seventh Europa League despite a 12th-placed league finish, they rose to the big occasion.

Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was playing what is expected to be his final game for the club before a move to Saudi side Al Hilal.

The Moroccan international denied City a perfect start when he clawed away Nathan Ake’s powerful header that was destined for the bottom corner.

But Guardiola’s men soon became ponderous in possession and were punished on 25 minutes.

Josko Gvardiol was making his first start for City since a 90 million euro ($99 million) move from RB Leipzig.

The Croatian international was beaten to Marcos Acuna’s cross by En-Nesyri, who bulleted a header in off the post.

City’s sluggishness was in evidence again at the start of the second-half when Lucas Ocampos skipped past Kyle Walker’s desperate lunge to set up En-Nesyri with a golden chance to double Sevilla’s lead.

The Moroccan striker was one-on-one with Ederson but fired straight into the Brazilian goalkeeper’s legs.

Sevilla were left to rue that miss as City hit back against the run of play on 63 minutes.

Mahrez’s departure has opened the door to City academy graduate Palmer to the first-team and the England under-21 international, who also scored against Arsenal in the Community Shield, is taking his chance.

Rodri was City’s hero with the only goal in the Champions League final against Inter Milan and the Spaniard this time provided the assist with a perfectly measured cross for Palmer to cushion a header past Bounou.

En-Nesyri was guilty of another wasted one-on-one moments later as Ederson flew off his line to make a block.

Erling Haaland had scored twice in all of his previous three appearances against Sevilla, but the Norwegian barely got a sight of goal before the spot-kicks.

Instead, City’s best chance to win the game in normal time fell to Ake as the Dutchman’s downward header was tipped over.

However, there was no perfect ending for Bounou as Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Mateo Kovacic, Jack Grealish and Walker all held their nerve to score in the shootout.

Credit: Supersport

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