Shef Utd 1-2 Man City
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Three Out Of Three
Due to his recovery from minor back surgery, Guardiola observed Sunday’s match from Barcelona, leaving coach Juanma Lillo at the helm in Bramall Lane.
Nevertheless, City exhibited the same resilience that has propelled them to claim 15 trophies in a seven-year span under Guardiola’s guidance, including last season’s impressive Treble.
Although Jayden Bogle’s 85th-minute equalizer momentarily pinned City back, they swiftly shifted into a higher gear, recapturing the lead with Rodri’s thunderous strike a mere three minutes later.
This triumph propelled City back to the Premier League summit as the lone team to notch victories in all three of their opening fixtures this season.
Furthermore, this marked Guardiola’s 200th Premier League victory as City’s manager, a milestone achieved in a remarkable 269 games—making him the quickest manager in the history of the English top flight to achieve such a feat.
Speaking to BBC Match of the Day, Lillo shared, “Pep was a constant presence. He engaged with the technical staff and me intermittently, but the adjustments were minimal. He was consistently available.”
Lillo continued, “While we enjoyed considerable ball possession, penetrating the compact defense proved daunting. The second half brought a distinct narrative—a more substantial hold on the ball in advantageous positions and sustained pressure.”
“In an unexpected turn, we were level after dominating most of the match. It seemed unjust. However, the team retained its vitality and vigor. We could have also converted the first-half penalty, and that reaffirmed our scoring potential,” he added.
City’s overwhelming possession (80%) and a plethora of goal attempts (30) were met with resistance by Sheffield United’s resolute defense. Erling Haaland’s 63rd-minute header finally broke the deadlock, yet City’s inability to secure a decisive second goal left them vulnerable.
This vulnerability materialized when Bogle struck United’s first shot on target past Ederson, eliciting a pulsating response from City. They swiftly surged forward and fashioned an opportunity for Julian Alvarez before Rodri unleashed a powerful shot into the net after Kyle Walker’s deflected pass.
“Having achieved so much last season, including the Treble, questions arose about their hunger to continue excelling,” noted former City defender Andy Hinchcliffe on Sky Sports. “This match proved definitively that they possess that hunger. The equalizer stung them, and their rapid counterattacking response exemplifies the mark of great teams.”
Lillo, speaking to Sky Sports, shared his perspective: “Registering 30 shots is remarkable, especially in the second half, where our dominance was pronounced. The challenge lay in converting those opportunities at the opportune moment, as the game grew more challenging.”
“In the immediate aftermath of their goal, we fashioned another chance. Mentally, this team’s preparation over seven years is evident, and their performance is exceedingly impressive,” Lillo concluded.