Sané hits old heights to help City stand tall

The Observer - Sport - - Football Premier League -

In his ad­dress to sup­port­ers to mark the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi takeover, the club’s owner, Sheikh Man­sour, sug­gested Manch­ester City are merely “half way up their Ever­est”. They are al­ready out of sight to Ful­ham, who by the same cal­cu­la­tion must be ob­serv­ing events from some­where be­tween base camp and a hole in the ground. Even though there were half as many goals, this was as much of a mis­match as Hud­der­sfi eld be­ing hit for six last month.

To say City won with some­thing to spare would be to risk se­ri­ous un­der­state­ment. They had John Stones, İlkay Gün­doğan, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Je­sus and Phil Fo­den on the bench, with no place for Ben­jamin Mendy in the squad. What­ever the rea­son for the ab­sence of one of the bet­ter per­form­ers this sea­son – Pep Guardi­ola men­tioned a mi­nor in­jury in train­ing – the France in­ter­na­tional was not missed.

“Three- nil is a good re­sult but we cre­ated enough chances to score fi ve or six goals,” he said. “We prob­a­bly need to be more clin­i­cal but I give a lot of credit to Ful­ham. They will sur­prise a few peo­ple this sea­son and I think they will still be in the Premier League the next.”

Slav­isa Jokanovic was equally mag­nan­i­mous. “We didn’t make it easy for our­selves but the re­sult was com­pletely fair,” the Ful­ham man­ager said. “City showed they are one of the best teams in the world.”

The visi­tors were be­hind af­ter two min­utes and the con­test would have been as good as over within a quar­ter of an hour had Ra­heem Ster­ling’s er­ratic fi nish­ing not come back to haunt him. Leroy

Sané marked his fi rst start of the league cam­paign with one of the eas­i­est goals he will ever score af­ter a heavy touch by Jean Michaël Seri in his own half was mer­ci­lessly pun­ished by Fer­nand­inho. The Brazil­ian in­ter­vened de­ci­sively as soon as the midfi el­der failed to con­trol a pass from Mar­cus Bet­tinelli, gal­lop­ing into space

Ra­heem Ster­ling spurned an early chance but made amends with the fi nal goal of the game Pep Guardi­ola be­hind a non- ex­is­tent de­fen­sive line to fi nd Sané up in sup­port with a cross that re­quired only a tap- in. With Ful­ham al­ready obliged to chase the game, Bernardo Silva held the ball up well be­fore re­leas­ing Ster­ling for a run on goal . The winger looked odds- on to score with only Bet­tinelli to beat but end­ing up putting his shot too close to the goal­keeper, who pushed it on to the bar.

At least Ster­ling made amends fi ve min­utes later with a hand in City’s sec­ond goal, fi nd­ing Bernardo Silva in space for a cross from the by­line. Ser­gio Agüero was on to it fi rst, only to see Seri block his shot – but with City play­ers queu­ing up on the six- yard line, David Silva calmly tucked away the loose ball.

Ful­ham did man­age a cou­ple of goal at­tempts in the fi rst half, both from An­dré Schür­rle and both saved by Eder­son, the sec­ond re­quir­ing a far more ac­ro­batic stop than the fi rst. Yet with City in con­trol from such an early stage the af­ter­noon in­evitably re­solved it­self into a ques­tion of how many more they might score. They could eas­ily have gone fur­ther ahead be­fore the in­ter­val but for Bet­tinelli spread­ing him­self to keep out a shot from Sané and then end­ing the half with a one­handed save to deny Ster­ling.

The visi­tors’ de­fen­sive re­solve at the start of the sec­ond half lasted about as long as it did in the fi rst, Agüero cut­ting in from the right to beat Alfi e Maw­son and leave Ster­ling with an un­miss­able chance from a cou­ple of yards out ( al­beit one made more diffi cult by a late touch from Seri on the way through).

Agüero de­parted af­ter that, warmly ap­plauded even though it had not been one of his most pro­duc­tive out­ings. His re­place­ment, Gabriel Je­sus, then al­most scor ed with his first touch when David Silva crossed to the near post.

With no fur­ther goals and lit­tle ur­gency on show from ei­ther side, the last half- hour was so­porifi c, if not down­right te­dious. Bernardo Silva should have made it four but blasted high over the bar when un­selfi shly set up by Je­sus. “You’re just a crap Man United,” the Ful­ham sup­port­ers chanted un­sym­pa­thet­i­cally. If only it were true.

‘ Three- nil is a good re­sult but we cre­ated enough to score fi ve or six’

Manch­ester City 4- 3- 3

Ful­ham 4- 3- 3

Leroy Sané, mak­ing his fi rst league start of the sea­son, taps in Manch­ester City’s open­ing goal against Ful­ham

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.