Sterling winner caps late Man City comeback at Schalke
Gelsenkirchen (Germany), Feb. 21 (AFP): Raheem Sterling sealed a dramatic 3-2 Champions League win for 10-man Manchester City at Schalke on Wednesday as the English champions scored twice in the last five minutes.
Sterling tucked away the winner at the Veltins Arena in the 90th minute just after substitute Leroy Sane fired home a stunning free-kick for the Premier League leaders against his former club in the last 16, first leg.
“I waited for my chance and wanted to shoot from there as I had previously scored from that position and it restored our confidence,” a delighted Sane told broadcaster DAZN after his equaliser.
Schalke led 2-1 at half-time as the video assistant referee (VAR) twice intervened to award penalties, both converted by Nabil Bentaleb, cancelling out Sergio Aguero’s opener in Gelsenkirchen.
City were in real trouble with 22 minutes left when Nicolas Otamendi, who gave away the controversial first penalty, was sent off for a second yellow card before Sane’s moment of brilliance and Sterling’s winner.
“We will not go far in this competition unless we improve,” said City manager Pep Guardiola.
“At the end the quality of Sane and Sterling made the difference.” However, City still have some work to do in the return leg on March 12 with Fernandinho, who was booked when conceding the second spot-kick, and Otamendi both suspended.
Schalke are just above the Bundesliga’s relegation places and winless in their last four league games, yet they gave Premier League leaders City an almighty scare.
The hosts initially struggled to get out of their half as Man City dominated the opening 30 minutes, until the game swung dramatically Schalke’s way with the two penalty decisions.
Schalke shot themselves in the foot for City’s opening goal on 18 minutes when a lazy pass from goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann to Salif Sane was snapped up by David Silva.
The Spaniard drew Faehrmann and selflessly served up a simple tap-in for Aguero to claim his 10th goal in his last seven City appearances.