Rico Lewis’ first Manchester City goal helped his side complete an unbeaten group stage in this year’s UEFA Champions League with a 3-1 victory over Sevilla at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side were already assured of top spot in Group G ahead of the match, allowing Lewis and Cole Palmer to make a full debut and first Champions League start respectively.

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Sevilla striker Rafa Mir had opened the scoring on the half hour mark but second half strikes from Lewis, Julian Alvarez and Riyad Mahrez turned it around for the Blues.

With his 52nd minute goal, our 17-year-old full-back became the youngest player in Champions League history to score on his first start in the competition.

Story of the match

A wet and windy day in Manchester continued into the early minutes of the match as Cole Palmer’s delightful curling effort from just inside the box whistled millimetres over the bar.

The rain came and went through the match, like the ebb and flow of City attacks. Ruben Dias was the next man to go close, getting his thigh to a Phil Foden free-kick and seeing it go narrowly wide.

Perhaps the loudest cheer in the first 20 minutes came after excellent hands-free work from goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno. Advancing out of his box, he chested the ball down and set us on an attack that culminated in a well saved Foden shot.

Sevilla responded with a well worked move of their own but striker Rafa Mir directed his header across goal and wide of Ortega Moreno’s far post.

The Blues did not heed the warning of Mir’s earlier header, leaving the target man alone at the back post and free to expertly direct a corner home.

City enjoyed sustained possession for the remainder of the half but it wasn’t until early in the second period that Lewis got us back level.

His high finish from a tight angle had all the hallmarks of a seasoned striker, not a full-back making their first strides in the senior game.

As the below graphic shows, City spent a lot of time in Sevilla’s half...

It was a moment of unbridled joy for the Bury-born 17-year-old whose rapid rise through the ranks continues apace.

A flurry of substitutions followed for both sides and it was the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne that picked the lock of the Sevilla defence for the second time in the half.

Drifting over to the right, the Belgian sent his trademark curling pass in behind the visitor’s backline for Julian Alvarez to race on to.

The Argentine kept his cool, took the ball around goalkeeper Bono and, with his angle reducing, fired into the roof of the net.

City were in command now and put the gloss on the scoreline when Alvarez found Riyad Mahrez free in the box. The Algerian made no mistake, lifting his strike above Bono.

All that remained was for Lewis to get his standing ovation. The youngster was replaced by Joao Cancelo in the closing stages and, after being told to go off at the far side, fought back tears during half a lap of honour with all corners of the Etihad Stadium rising to their feet for our Academy graduate.


CITY XI: Ortega Moreno, Lewis (Cancelo 85), Dias, Laporte, Gomez (Wilson-Esbrand 70), Gundogan (c) (Bernardo 57), Palmer (De Bruyne 70), Foden, Mahrez, Grealish (Rodrigo 45), Alvarez

Subs: Ederson, Carson, Stones, Ake

SEVILLA XI: Bounou, Montiel, Carmona, Marcao (Gudelj 45), Rekik, Acuna (Telles 45), Gomez (Suso 45), Delaney, Rakitic (c) (Jordan 66), Isco (Lamela 57), Rafa Mir

Subs: Dmitrovic, Flores, Dolberg, Januzaj, Navas, Alvarez, Salas

Man of the match

Still just 17, local lad Lewis is quickly amassing a lot of experience early on in his career.

He led City’s Under-18s side to the national title last season and has been a constant in first team squads so far this campaign.

His starting berth tonight is further proof that he is trusted by the Club’s coaching staff and after this performance, no-one at the Etihad can doubt his potential.

More than just a full-back, Lewis spent a lot of time in central midfield positions while the Blues had the ball.

An early burst into the box could have earned City a penalty before a 20th minute long range effort whistled wide.

However, it was his excellent finish in the 52nd minute that will stick with him and his family for a long time to come. Marauding down the right, he hit a hammer blow that beat Sevilla’s Bono for pace and eventually hit the roof of the net.

From the first moment, he looked like a player who has already been on this stage for years.

Alvarez on the scoresheet

With Erling Haaland unavailable for the last two matches through injury, Alvarez has claimed the central striker’s role.

The Argentine has worked exceptionally hard and helped to create chances for his team-mates, but had been unlucky when it came to finding the net himself.

That was until Kevin De Bruyne was introduced tonight. The Belgian’s vision set Alvarez free and he did the rest to show everyone in the Etihad Stadium exactly what a potent finisher he is.

Pep Guardiola reaction

“We were there. We struggled to attack because we play right foot on the left and left foot on the right.

“They went inside and with five in the back that is more difficult. In the second half more people were closer to Julian. We felt from minute one in the second half we have more presence in the final third because against 5-4-1 defending deep is difficult.

“The second half we were much better. Rodri’s impact was good. It’s good to qualify but we finished well. The money for the club is important. The prestige. It was a good night for the Club.”

What it means

City’s top spot in Group G was already assured ahead of tonight but the victory paints an even prettier picture. We finish with 14 points after four wins and two draws from our six matches.

We go into Monday’s Round of 16 draw knowing that we will face one of the runners-up from another group.

What’s next

We’re back in Premier League action on Saturday when Fulham are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium.

Marco Silva’s side are enjoying an excellent return to the top flight and currently sit in seventh place. They have 19 points from 13 matches.

That is the second of four consecutive home matches in less than two weeks with Chelsea in the Carabao Cup to come next Wednesday and Brentford our final opponents before the World Cup hiatus.

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