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Last-Minute Drama: Rodri Sensational Strike Propels Manchester City to Premier League Summit



Last-Minute Drama: Rodri Sensational Strike Propels Manchester City to Premier League Summit

Manchester City climbed to the summit of the Premier League standings with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday. Rodri emerged as the hero with an 88th-minute strike, securing City’s third win of the season.

As the game reached its climax with the score level at 1-1, Phil Foden found himself in possession of the ball within the United penalty area. Although Foden couldn’t control it, Rodri capitalized on the opportunity, unleashing a powerful half-volley into the top corner to seal the win.

City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, was absent from the touchline due to his recent back surgery. His assistant manager, Juanma Lillo, took charge in his absence, guiding the team to victory despite a nervy final stretch during which seven minutes were added on as Sheffield United sought an equalizer.

Reigning champions City are the sole team to maintain a flawless record at the start of the season. They advanced to nine points, securing a two-point lead over West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal.

Lillo expressed satisfaction with City’s performance: “Overall, I thought our performance was impressive today. The match was much closer to our desired style of play than the scoreline indicates.”

City’s star striker, Erling Haaland, endured a mix of fortunes during the match. He failed to convert a first-half penalty, as his spot-kick struck the post. However, he made amends just after the hour mark by heading in a close-range goal from a cross delivered by Jack Grealish.

Reflecting on the game, Lillo highlighted the significance of the penalty miss: “The outcome could have been drastically altered had the penalty gone in. Despite that, we maintained our stability and maintained a forward-looking approach.”

Lillo also praised City’s second-half improvement: “During the second half, we significantly increased our tempo and regained possession more swiftly. This enabled us to exploit the new spaces that arose from our quicker ball recovery… We could have notched more goals even before the first one.”

Sheffield United managed to level the score in the 85th minute, capitalizing on a defensive mistake from Kyle Walker. Jayden Bogle fired in an angled shot that found the net, leaving City goalkeeper Ederson unable to prevent the equalizer.

However, City wasn’t to be denied the win. Just as Sheffield United seemed poised to secure their first point since returning to the top flight, Rodri netted the decisive goal. The winning strike was facilitated by Walker, who had previously played for Sheffield United.

With this result, Sheffield United currently occupies the 17th spot in the league standings, still without a point from three games. Despite the loss, their efforts against the previous season’s treble winners earned them applause from the crowd.

Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United’s manager, commented on the game: “While recognition is nice, I’d much prefer to have earned a point. Beating City requires near-perfection. Despite City’s ball possession, we maintained a degree of control over its positioning… The late goal adds a bitter touch to the outcome.”

Reported by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, with editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis.