Cole Palmer’s headed Manchester City equaliser forced a UEFA Super Cup penalty shootout against Sevilla, with Nemanja Gudelj’s agonising miss handing the Sky Blues their first silverware of the season, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
Partaking in the showdown by virtue of last campaign’s European triumph, City are now the fifth consecutive UEFA Champions League holders to prevail over their Europa League counterparts.
Sweltering heat inside Greece’s Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium was presumed to favour Sevilla ahead of the contest, and although Nathan Aké’s header forced a smart reaction save from Yassine Bounou early on, the underdogs were prompt to capitalise on the conditions.
Following a much-needed drinks break, the game was jolted into life when Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri – sandwiched between two City defenders – succeeded where Aké failed by sending a bullet header past Ederson.
Pep Guardiola’s disjointed side struggled to respond in the absence of injury-stricken Kevin De Bruyne, and it wasn’t until shortly before the interval that Phil Foden found his way into the match, sending an inviting but ill-fated ball across the six-yard box which was crying out to be tapped in.
The back-and-forth action continued after the break, and the Spaniards were the first to threaten when a fired-up Lucas Ocampos slid En-Nesyri in for his second, only for the Moroccan to find the goalkeeper’s feet.
He and Palmer traded blows as the pace of the game ramped up, but the Englishman’s far-post header came up trumps deep into the second half to breathe new life into Sky Blue legs.
With the sides unable to be separated at full time whistle, the UEFA Super Cup advanced straight to a penalty shootout. The tension was palpable, but that wasn’t showing in the quality of the spot-kicks, with neither goalkeeper given much of a sniff at the first nine.
Stepping up for number 10 was Sevilla’s Gudelj, who was cruelly the man to let his side down after a fine individual performance, rattling his penalty against the crossbar to hand City victory in their first-ever USC appearance.
Sevilla, meanwhile, were consigned to a fifth consecutive USC loss after suffering their fifth H2H defeat in a row.