Iyayi Atiemwen and Dinamo Zagreb survived a first half onslaught against the English champions but substitute Sterling came on to hand City the victory in the second 45 as the Citizens maintained their 100% win record in the UEFA Champions League.
Nigeria born Iyayi Atiemwen played the final five minutes but it was to no avail as substitutes Sterling and Foden got the goals that helped City beat Zagreb 2-0 in match day 2 of the UEFA Champions League.
Pep Guardiola’s men were made to work hard for the victory but in the end, Raheem Sterling’s 11th home goal and Foden’s late, late strike earned City the maximum points in their first ever encounter with Zagreb in European competition.
18 – Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 16 home appearances in the Champions League for Manchester City (11 goals, seven assists), scoring or assisting at least once in 12 of his last 13 such matches. Impressive. pic.twitter.com/u3uQTlVicK
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 1, 2019
Both sides opened their Champions League campaigns with a win two weeks ago, City cruised to a 3-0 victory away at Shakhtar Donetsk and Zagreb defeated Atalanta 4-0.
A tough encounter was therefore anticipated and it didn’t disappoint as Pep Guardiola’s men found it hard to get goals past the Croatian champions.
The two teams went into the break on leveled terms but it was the away side who were likely the happier heading to the dressing rooms after City spent most of the first 45 camped inside the Zagreb half.
The Citizens created chance after chance but were unable to find that killer touch needed to convert those opportunities into goals.
Zagreb’s best chances, though, were carved out from set-pieces.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first, with City camped inside the Zagreb half while the visitors defended deep out of possession.
Ten minutes after the restart, with the game heading towards a drab draw, Guardiola made his first throw of the dice by taking off Bernardo Silva and sending Sterling on.
It was to be an inspired decision as just past the hour mark, the English forward opened the scoring for City. It arrived off a wonderful team move which saw Rodri pass low from the edge of the area out to the left touchline and into the path of Mahrez. The Algerian then sent a great ball – eye of the needle stuff – to Sterling who nipped in front of Dilaver to finish from close range.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 1, 2019
Man City had other chances to extend their lead but Gundogan, Mahrez and Agueri all contrived to keep the scoreline down.
However, in the fifth minute of added time, another substitute Phil Foden -who had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes – scored to wrap it up for City.