Manchester City 1, Feyenoord 0
Match-winner Raheem Sterling insists Manchester City can grind out results when their usual swashbuckling approach fails after they eventually overcame stubborn Feyenoord in the Champions League.
Sterling broke the Dutch team’s resistance in the 88th minute when he exchanged passes with Ilkay Gundogan and lifted his finish over Feyenoord’s former Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones.
The England winger’s 11th goal of the season ensured City will finish top of Group F and, he believes, proved that they have the fighting qualities to complement their free-scoring brilliance.
“It’s always good to score but the most important thing is to win,” said Sterling. “That’s what we’re showing this season, no matter what competition it is: we’ve got the mentality to win. Even if it’s sometimes ugly, we just try to make sure we get those three points.”
Kevin de Bruyne dragged an effort wide, Yaya Toure skimmed a post with a free-kick, Sergio Aguero proved uncharacteristically wayward from close range and Gabriel Jesus nodded off target as the hosts searched for a breakthrough.
City manager Pep Guardiola threw on England Under-17 star Phil Foden for a senior debut but it was another nimble figure in Sterling who maintained their 100 per cent record in the group.
“In the first half there was a lack of tension but the second half was much better,” said Guardiola. “They had chances but we had much more and finally we were able to win. With one game still to play we are first and that’s why we are happy.”