‘Once City equalised, Madrid did not exist any more’: Arsene Wenger hails Raheem Sterling’s impact off the bench and credits late Pep Guardiola switch for stunning comeback win
- Manchester City beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their Champions League last-16 first leg
- City were losing 1-0 before Raheem Sterling came on and they changed shape
- Sterling won the decisive penalty to complete the comeback after he was fouled
Legendary manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Manchester City in their brilliant Champions League last-16 first leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
City fell behind to an Isco goal on 60 minutes but fought back to win 2-1 courtesy of a Gabriel Jesus header and a Kevin De Bruyne penalty.
The Premier League outfit go into the second leg at their Etihad Stadium on March 17 in the box seat having scored two away goals.
Arsene Wenger has hailed the impact of Raheem Sterling’s (pictured) introduction for Manchester City against Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday
Wenger believes Sterling played a key factor in why City overturned a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1
And speaking post-match Wenger believed the game changed once Raheem Sterling came on as it altered’s City’s shape into a conventional shape.
Before the forward’s introduction, natural-born striker Jesus was playing on the left flank rather than his customary role. That was amended once Sterling came on in the 73rd minute with Jesus scoring their equaliser five minutes later.
And once the Brazilian had scored, Wenger said it was almost like Real ‘did not exist any more’ as Pep Guardiola’s side ran riot and could have scored three or four goals.
‘Madrid scored in the 60th minute by not creating many chances,’ he said as a pundit for BeIN Sport.
Gabriel Jesus (right) headed home City’s equaliser after they had fallen behind to an Isco goal
‘I felt that City had received a mental blow and for a while it looked more like Madrid would score a second goal rather than Manchester City equalising.
‘And then on 73 minutes [Raheem] Sterling came on for Bernardo Silva, while [Gareth] Bale came on for Vinicius. On 78 minutes it was 1-1. On 83 minutes it 1-1.
‘[Gabriel] Jesus plays though the middle, with Sterling on the left, and that completely changed the game. From then on it always looked like City could score three or four goals and make it even more disastrous for Real Madrid tonight.
‘But overall once City equalised, Madrid did not exist any more.’
It wasn’t just the impact of Sterling on Jesus that aided City. The England international won the decisive penalty too after he was fouled by Real right back Dani Carvajal inside the box – from which De Bruyne duly converted.
Kevin De Bruyne scored the decisive goal as City came from 1-0 down to beat Real 2-1
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