Sergio Aguero’s 90th-minute penalty sealed Manchester City’s 2-1 comeback win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League to continue the Germans’ spot-kick misery in Europe.
Having opened their debut Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Sevilla, which included two penalties, Moenchengladbach remained bottom of Group D as they searched to replace former coach Lucien Favre.
City are now third only on goal-difference after leaders Juventus enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Sevilla as Manuel Pellegrini’s men bounced back from their opening 2-1 defeat at home to the Italians.
“That is a very important win for us and we played well in the last 25 minutes, it was important to show a reaction after losing to Juventus,” City boss Pellegrini said.
After striker Lars Stindl had put the hosts ahead at Borussia Park, City came from behind as Andreas Christensen’s own-goal put the English team level, before Aguero’s late spot-kick.
The win breathes life back into City’s European aspirations as they bounced back from their 4-1 mauling at Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League on Saturday last week.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart played a role in City’s victory by keeping out Raffael’s first-half penalty attempt, then saving first-half shots from the Brazilian and Germany winger Patrick Herrmmann.
“Joe made three very important saves, I don’t know if that was a penalty, but we also missed some chances at the other end, so his was an important contribution,” Pellegrini said.
The result was a setback for Moenchengladbach after their first defeat under caretaker coach Andre Schubert following two Bundesliga wins since Favre quit on Sept. 20 after five league defeats.
It was Borussia’s first European match at this level for 37 years and their first defeat to English opposition at home on the continent in six matches.
“The bottom line first of all is how disappointed we are to have not taken anything from this game,” Schubert said. “We kept in the game, defended well, but we still lost.”
Only a superb early save prevented City taking an early lead when Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer blocked Aguero’s shot with his hip in a reflex save.
At the other end, City’s Joe Hart saved a penalty from Raffael, who harmlessly pushed his shot to the England goalkeeper’s left to invite the save with 20 minutes gone.
It was poetic justice after the Brazilian had appeared to dive over Nicolas Otamendi’s outstretched leg.
Only a superb save from Hart on 33 minutes denied Raffael, then Germany winger Patrick Herrmann, as the hosts kept up the pressure.
City captain Yaya Toure failed to come out for the second half after aggravating a leg injury the defensive midfielder had picked up in the defeat to Spurs.
Stindl put Moenchengladbach ahead when Julian Korb’s pass found him unmarked in the penalty area and his shot wrong-footed Hart on 54 minutes.
City drew level 11 minutes later when Martin Demichelis’ shot was cleared from behind the line by Korb. City centerback Otamendi fired home the weak punt out of defense by volleying into the back of the net after the ball deflected off Christensen.
City got the crucial winning penalty when Fabian Johnson fouled Aguero in the area and the striker sent Sommer the wrong way by tucking his shot into the bottom-right corner.
Only some heroics from the bloodied Swiss goalkeeper at Aguero’s feet in the dying minutes saved City from leaving Germany with a bigger win as Sommer finished with a suspected broken nose.
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