Manchester City struggled but ultimately won the UEFA Super Cup for first time in its history on Wednesday night after a penalty shootout victory over Spanish club Sevilla.
The Premier League giant won the traditional curtain-raiser to the European football season – held between the winners of last season’s Champions League and Europa League – 5-4 on penalties after the two sides had drawn 1-1 in regular time in Athens, Greece.
Youssef En-Nesyri had opened the scoring with a powerful and precise header in the first half for Sevilla, before City’s youngster Cole Palmer leveled with a brilliant headed effort midway through the second half.
Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj was the unfortunate one to miss the decisive penalty in the shootout, his effort crashing against the bar to hand the trophy to City for the first time in the club’s history.
The win continues the club’s remarkable success over the past 18 months, having won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League last season.
City lost in the Community Shield to Arsenal earlier this month – contested between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup; however, as City won both last season, Arsenal took part as the Premier League runner-up – but has another chance to add to its trophy cabinet later this year at the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia in December.
“In the past, I’ve sometimes had a feeling about lack of motivation when the squad wins trophies a lot,”
“But today, I didn’t have that feeling. We are really pleased to have a trophy already. We missed one which could have let us do the full circle – the next one comes when we go [for the FIFA Club World Cup].”City manager Pep Guardiola said afterwards.
Remarkably, it is the 15th trophy the club has won under Guardiola’s stewardship since he joined in 2016.
However, City was made to work for the Super Cup victory, struggling to break down a stout Sevilla defense.
Palmer was a bright spot for City, as the academy graduate continues his excellent start to the season having scored in the Community Shield against Arsenal.
His close control and dribbling in tight situations caused Sevilla no end of problems, but he scored his goal with his head, getting on the end of a perfectly placed cross from Rodri.
When it came to penalties, Erling Haaland, Julian Álvarez, Mateo Kovačić, Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker all successfully converted their penalties while Sevilla matched them with perfect attempts before Croatia international Gudelj’s effort hit the bar.
“It was unbelievable. The manager made it so clear to us before the game how much he wants this trophy,”
“You want to win everything anyway, but that gave us more of an urge. It was a brilliant feeling.
“Over the last 10 or 15 years, this club has been so successful. They’ve won so many Premier Leagues, FA Cups, Carabao Cups. We’ve been waiting for this: to add another one to the collection. This is what I came here to do.”City midfielder Grealish said.
City’s next game is on Saturday in the Premier League at home against Newcastle United, while Sevilla plays away in La Liga against Alavés.