“As soon as City was right, Madrid no longer existed”: Arsene Wenger welcomed the impact of Raheem Sterling from the bank and credits late Pep Guardiola switch for stunning comeback victory
Legendary manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Manchester City in their stunning Champions League final-16 first leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
City was behind an Isco goal in 60 minutes, but fought back to win 2-1 thanks to a header from Gabriel Jesus and a penalty from Kevin De Bruyne.
The Premier League outfit enters the second leg on March 17 in their Etihad Stadium in the box seat after scoring two goals.
Arsene Wenger has praised the impact of Raheem Sterling’s (photo) introduction for Manchester City against Real Madrid in the Champions League final-16 first leg on Wednesday
Wenger believes Sterling played a key factor in why City had eliminated a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1
And after the game, Wenger believed that the game changed when Raheem Sterling came up when it changed the shape of City into a conventional shape.
Before the attacker’s introduction, the natural striker Jesus played on the left flank instead of his usual role. That was changed when Sterling arrived in the 73rd minute, with Jesus scoring their equalizer five minutes later.
And once the Brazilian had scored, Wenger said that it almost seemed as if Real “no longer existed”, because Pep Guardiola shot aside and could have scored three or four goals.
“Madrid scored in the 60th minute by not creating many opportunities,” he said as an expert BeIN Sport.
Gabriel Jesus (on the right) went to the equalizer of the hometown after falling behind an Isco goal
“I felt that City had a mental blow and for a while it seemed more like Madrid would score a second goal instead of equalizing Manchester City.
“And then after 73 minutes [Raheem] Sterling stood up for Bernardo Silva while [Gareth] Bale came on for Vinicius. It was 1-1 in 78 minutes. At 83 minutes it was 1-1.
“[Gabriel] Jesus plays in the middle, with Sterling on the left, and that completely changed the game. From that moment on, it always seemed that City could score three or four goals and make it even more disastrous for Real Madrid tonight.
“But in general, after City was equal, Madrid no longer existed.”
It wasn’t just Sterling’s impact on Jesus that helped City. England’s international international also won the decisive penalty after being hit by Real, just back Dani Carvajal in the box – from which De Bruyne duly converted.
Kevin De Bruyne scored the decisive goal, as City came down 1-0 and defeated Real 2-1