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Press sing Sterling praises

What the MEDIA says finished

What the MEDIA says finished

The morning after the night before, and a sift through today’s press reports is a reminder of just how good the night was.

Not that most Blues would have needed any reminder after a stunning comeback saw City top Group D and avoid the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the knockout stages.

You can read the official view on last night’s win right here, or watch birthday boy Raheem Sterling’s reaction on CityTV.

So what did the media make of last night’s win?

Sterling’s two minute double made it 3-2 to City before Wilfried Bony gave the Blues a two goal advantage late on and the Manchester Evening News was, like others, full of praise for Sterling.

Stuart Brennan states: “Raheem Sterling came of age in the Champions League with a match-winning performance … on his 21 birthday!

“The Blues striker scored twice in the last ten minutes to turn round a game that had been ebbing away from his team, despite a spirited second-half fightback.

“The England man is enigmatic to say the least – at times the ball bobbles off him, and he runs down too many blind alleys.

“But then he produces a sublime backheel to set up David Silva for the game's emphatic first goal and, in a frantic finish, bagged two of his own to set the Etihad alight.

“Qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League should be a reason for great joy … but it always feels like Manchester City are dancing on the edge of a high cliff.

The Independent are full of praise for Sterling’s performance which included a brace that turned the game on its head late on.

Tim Rich writes: “It was not a final, it was not in the Nou Camp or San Siro and perhaps you might say the result did not matter very much. However, for Raheem Sterling, this pulsating, enthralling encounter was one of the reasons he went through several agonising months tearing himself free of Liverpool.

“Even if Sterling had not scored twice in a minute to take Manchester City through to the business phase of the Champions League as group leaders, this would have been a memorable performance. That he indeed did, on his 21st birthday, gave the night a dusting of magic.

“The first, which drew Manchester City level, was a scrappy affair but the second, a minute later was a gorgeous drive, finishing off a move begun by David Silva and Wilfried Bony – an indication of the class that was judged worth £49m. By then, Borussia Mönchengladbach, who had led City in both group matches, were battered and exhausted. Bony pushed through to score a fourth. 

“As the news that Manchester United had lost and Seville had beaten Juventus drifted around the stadium, it was hard to imagine the night could become much sweeter. Manuel Pellegrini had said that for Manchester City to top their group for the first time would be a sign of progress. It is hard to argue.”

It was similar praise in the Telegraph with Chris Bascombe picking out the second half and Sterling’s performance as the key catalysts to the win.

Bascombe scribes: “It summed up the mood of transformation at The Etihad Stadium that the players were booed onto the pitch and acclaimed as they left it.

“The jeers, of course, were directed at the UEFA anthem accompanying Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach – more vociferous than ever. By full-time, it was the double of Raheem Sterling allied to the misfortune of Juventus and Manchester United that put the arena into a state of euphoria.

“For the first time City qualified as group winners, finally avoiding the obstacle course created by top seeds. The tradition of seeing in the new year by being outclassed by Barcelona in the last 16 has finally been cancelled.

“Few had seen it coming for 79 minutes, when City were toiling to overturn a 2-1 deficit. The home side were dire in the first half but superb after the break, culminating in three goals in five minutes.”

“It was dangerous, frustrating and ultimately exhilarating as three goals in the last ten minutes – coupled with Juventus' defeat at Sevilla – saw them at the top.

“Now, instead of dreading Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona in Monday's draw, they are more likely to get a side like PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Roma or Gent.”

You want more of the same? Oh go on then, one more for the road…

Let’s end today’s round-up with former City striker Niall Quinn’s verdict on Sky Sports last night: "It feels like they are coming of age to top the group. They can now look forward to the draw on December 14 and feel good about themselves.

"I saw a connection between the crowd and the players in the last 10 minutes and they knew things were going well. They were awesome on the ball and there was a connectivity there that suggested this result means more than any other this season.

"This is the one that makes them probably the Premier League's best bet in this competition and a step ahead of the rest, at least for one night.

"It hasn't happened before and it's of enormous benefit to everyone connected with the club that the result in Seville went their way."

Have a great Wednesday, City fans!

Swansea City visit the Etihad for a 3pm kick off on Saturday 12 December. There's still time to secure your seat and tickets are priced from just £5 for U16s and £30 for Adults. Buy now.

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