Man City 3-1 Sevilla: Rico Lewis makes Champions League history as City wrap up Group G with victory

Man City 3-1 Sevilla: Rico Lewis makes Champions League history as City wrap up Group G with victory

Rico Lewis became the youngest player to score on his first Champions League start when he sparked a Manchester City comeback in a 3-1 win over Sevilla.

The 17-year-old right-back coolly slotted in the equalizer after Rafa Mir had headed Sevilla into a shock first-half lead.

City had to call on Kevin De Bruyne from the bench in search of a winner and he delivered within three minutes, setting up Julian Alvarez with a stunning assist – his 12th of the season. Alvarez then grabbed his second assist of the night when he set up Riyad Mahrez to make the game safe as City finished top of Group G.

Pep Guardiola said of Lewis: “We see him every day, we don’t hand out presents here. Not just because he’s a Manchester City fan and from the academy, he has to deserve it. But we have since day one that this guy has something special. He is aggressive enough defensively but has a lot of room to improve and with the ball when he plays inside he is so good. And externally he showed today with his cross and finish.”

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Pep Guardiola believes that some youngsters are not patient enough at big clubs

The last-16 draw, for which Man City will be seeded, will be held at 12:00 on Monday 7 November. They will face Club Brugge, Inter Milan, Frankfurt, Milan, RB Leipzig or PSG.

Player rating

Man City: Ortega (7), Laporte (7), Lewis (8), Dias (7), Sergio Gomez (7), Gundogan (7), Palmer (6), Foden (7), Mahrez (7), Alvarez (8) , Grealish (7)

Using subs: Rodri (7), De Bruyne (8), Silva (7), Wilson-Esbrand (7), Cancelo (N/A)

Seville: Bono (6), Montiel (6), Carmona (6), Marcao (6), Rekik (6), Acuna (6), Gomez (7), Rakitic (6), Delaney (6), Isco (6), Mir (8)

Using subs: Telles (6), Gudelj (6), Suso (6), Jordan (6), Lamela (6)

Man of the Match: Rico Lewis

Rico Lewis, remember the name…

Guardiola resisted the urge to bring back Erling Haaland after the goal machine was hit by a virus and a foot injury – he is likely to be ready for the clash with Fulham on Saturday.

Team news

  • Pep Guardiola made seven changes in total from the win at Leicester. Only Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gundogan, Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish kept their places. Rico Lewis, 17, made his first start for the club while exciting Cole Palmer also got his chance. It was an attacking team that Guardiola picked with Palmer, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish and Julian Alvarez all selected.

City’s last two Champions League games both ended 0-0 and they failed to score in a lackluster first half. Sevilla, meanwhile, had the greater attacking threat and Mir had already had two looks at the target before scoring after 31 minutes. It was really poor defending from City’s point of view as Mir stayed three yards from an Isco corner to head into the far corner.

City had nine shots before the break but only one of them hit the target. Guardiola switched tactics at half-time by removing Jack Grealish and adding another central midfielder to the game with Rodri. Guardiola revealed Grealish was “the best player” in the first half but withdrew him for a mix of tactical and fatigue reasons.

That allowed the two City full-backs to play more as wingers than inverted midfielders and it was Lewis – born in 2004 – who grabbed the equaliser. A successful high press left Sevilla behind and Alvarez slotted through a perfectly weighted ball for Lewis, who kept his cool impressively for someone so young and scored with a fine finish.

It’s Rico time!

At the age of 17 years and 346 days, Lewis becomes the youngest player in Champions League history to score on his first start in the competition, breaking the record previously held by Karim Benzema (17 years 352 days for Lyon vs Rosenborg).

Despite the equaliser, City struggled to find space against Sevilla’s low blocks and Guardiola called on De Bruyne from the bench. Alvarez had made some fine runs in behind Sevilla’s centre-backs all evening but nobody had the vision to find him until De Bruyne picked up the ball on the halfway line and spun a sensational ball in behind which he held on to. From there, the striker rounded the goalkeeper and shot home into the roof of the net.

Manchester City's Julian Alvarez celebrates after scoring against Sevilla
Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez celebrates after scoring against Sevilla

Mahrez looked to be feeling sorry for himself at times after a rusty start to the season, but his spirits improved with eight minutes remaining, hammering home a superb finish after being found by an unselfish Alvarez pass.

Pep: Tactical switch made it a good night for us

Guardiola said: “In the first half we were there but we struggled attacking as we played a right foot to the left and left foot to the right so you go in and it becomes difficult against five at the back. In the second half with Sergio Gomez on the left and Rico Lewis on the right we felt we had more presence in the final third. It’s good because of course we’ve qualified but we finished well and the money for the club is important. It was a good night for us, especially in the second half.”

Guardiola on the production line coming from the academy: “The academy works great since Jadon Sancho, Brahim Diaz, Phil Foden, James McAtee, Cole Palmer, there are many talents. The guys who want to stay here and fight for their position, they have a chance. If they don’t have patience and listen to the agents anymore, then they can leave, no problem. You saw the reaction from the crowd that people are so happy to have players from the academy playing for us. They can help us because they have quality.”

Opta stats: Alvarez makes his mark

  • At the age of 22 years and 275 days, Álvarez became the youngest Argentine to be directly involved in three goals in a single UEFA Champions League match since Lionel Messi against FC Bayern Munich in April 2009, also under Pep Guardiola (21 years 288 days) .
  • Rafa Mir scored in England for the first time in his 19th club appearance in the country, having previously failed to score with Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Sevilla (against West Ham).
  • Lewis became the fifth Englishman to start a UEFA Champions League game before turning 18, following Jack Wilshere, Josh McEachran, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham.

What comes next?

Wednesday, November 9 at 7 p.m

Kick-off 20:00

Man City have three more games before the World Cup break. They host Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3 p.m. They then face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday 9 November, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 20.00.

Their final game before the World Cup is on Saturday 12 November when they host Brentford in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30.

Sevilla have two more La Liga matches to play, against Real Betis and Real Soceidad, before a Copa del Rey match against Velarde on Sunday 13 November.

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