Review: Hoffenheim – Manchester City

Hoffenheim scored first, but Manchester City got the last laugh, as David Silva found the net late to give his team a 2-1 victory.

 

Hoffenheim starting lineup
Oliver Baumann, Kevin Akpoguma, Justin Hoogma, Stefan Posch, Pavel Kaderabek, Joshua Brenet, Florian Grillitsch, Kerem Demirbay, Adam Szalai, Ishak Belfodil, Joelinton
Manchester City starting lineup
Ederson, Nicolas Otamendi, Aymeric Laporte, Vincent Kompany, Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero

The game could not have had a more ideal start for Hoffenheim. One minute didn’t pass and the Germans had the lead. Kerem Demirbay employed Ishak Belfodil with a low through ball and the Algerian striker had no problem beating Ederson from an opportune position. The lead didn’t last long, though. In the 7th minute, David Silva saw Leroy Sane making a deep run and found him with a timely pass. Sane nearly made a mess of it by waiting for Sergio Aguero to join the attack, but the Argentinian managed to control Sane’s pass and convert to tie the score at 1-1.

Hoffenheim opened up City again in the 15th minute, but the guests were saved by a lack of concentration. While Hoffenheim were processing the missed opportunity, Raheem Sterling broke free on the other side and had an amazing scoring chance. He had a defender breathing down his neck, but that doesn’t change the fact he was in a one-on-one situation with the keeper and probably should’ve scored. Sterling’s shot caught Baumann’s leg and went into a corner kick. We were watching breathless football on both sides of the pitch.

Once things settled down, Guardiola’s men took control of the contest. Unrelenting pressure from Manchester City ensued. Sane was in the center of another Citizens scoring opportunity. He somehow managed to keep the ball while slaloming through the entire Hoffenheim defense. It bounced back to his feet on three separate occasions before eventually deflecting to Sergio Aguero, who threw himself at the ball and sent it over the bar. A couple of minutes later, Aguero sent a fantastic curling shot in the far upper corner and if it wouldn’t have been for Baumann’s superb save, City would’ve been in front.

Aymeric Laporte’s poor piece of judgement nearly led to a second goal for Belfodil. The Spaniard’s bad back pass was intercepted by the Algerian, who went towards goal and fired a shot from a relatively tight angle right at Ederson. Later, Baumann was furious at his defense after they allowed Aguero to crack another shot at goal from the edge of the box. An action-packed first half finished when Slovenian referee Damir Skomina blew the half-time whistle.

Manchester City’s three-men defense was playing really, really high (at midfield), so every lost ball by the team meant potential danger for Ederson’s goal. After David Silva had a close-range shot go wide, Julian Nagelsmann made the first substitution of the match – Andrej Kramaric for Adam Szalai. Guardiola’s first move was John Stones for Nicolas Otamendi, who was already booked. Kyle Walker was lucky to escape a red card for a reckless, dangerous challenge on Pavel Kaderabek. Just as Kaderabek got up from the ground, Gundogan went down on his own, complaining of a tweaked hamstring. He couldn’t carry on and Guardiola reacted immediately by bringing in Bernardo Silva.

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The visitors kept circling around with endless passes, and even though they were the ones taking the game to Hoffenheim, the feeling was City were as likely to concede from a counter attack as they were likely to score. It didn’t take long for Bernardo Silva to make his mark. He dribbled past Akpoguma and sent a cross to Sergio Aguero, whose weak shot was saved by Baumann at the goal line. Not long afterwards, Leroy Sane and Baumann met in the penalty box. Skomina waved off Sane’s penalty claim, although he shouldn’t have, as replays showed Hoffenheim’s goalie caught the German international.

In the 75th minute, Raheem Sterling was replaced by Riyad Mahrez. Later on, Leonardo Bittencourt came in for Florian Grillitsch, who didn’t become the first Austrian to score in two consecutive Champions League matches. Tension was building as Manchester City were pushing for a goal. Four minutes before the end, Stefan Posch was dispossessed where he mustn’t – inside the penalty area. David Silva was the one who came from behind, stole the ball and fired a left-footed shot past Baumann.

A huge goal for Manchester City, who could now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they won’t enter the last four games with just a point on the board. Die Kraichgauer tried to fight back, but it was too little too late. Leroy Sane had one more scoring chance before the referee blew the whistle. 2-1 Manchester City was the final score.

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