Manchester City players celebrate after winning the UEFA Super Cup Final soccer match between Manchester City and Sevilla at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus port, near Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
ATHENS — Manchester City marked its first appearance in the UEFA Super Cup by beating Sevilla 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday to add another piece of silverware to its vast haul under manager Pep Guardiola.
After a 1-1 draw in regulation time and then nine successful spot kicks in the shootout, Nemanja Gudelj struck his attempt against the crossbar to hand City victory inside Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis.
It was a 15th trophy won by City in Guardiola’s reign that started in 2016 and made up for the loss to Arsenal in a penalty shootout in the Community Shield 10 days ago.
“The manager made it so clear to us before the game how much he wants to win this trophy,” City midfielder Jack Grealish said about the annual match between last season’s winners of the Champions League (City) and Europa League (Sevilla). “You want to win everything anyway but that gave us more of an urge. This club has never won it. It’s a brilliant feeling.”
Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering header gave Sevilla the lead in the 25th minute of a match played in stifling heat and humidity in Athens.
City equalized through a header by winger Cole Palmer in the 63rd as the European champions dominated the second half, with star striker Erling Haaland staying on the field for the whole game despite a big Premier League match against Newcastle coming up on Saturday.
Guardiola became the second manager, after Carlo Ancelotti, to win the Super Cup four times and the first to win it with three different teams after doing so at Bayern Munich (2013) and Barcelona (2009, 2011).
Kyle Walker lifted the cup amid ticker tape and chants of “Champions” by his City teammates on the stage in the middle of the field. It is becoming a familiar sight, with the club having won the Premier League-FA Cup-Champions League treble last season for the first time.
This season might be tougher for Guardiola and City, with the match perhaps highlighting the team’s need for more creativity and goal threat following the offseason departures of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez and an injury to Kevin De Bruyne that could sideline him for up to four months.
Palmer could be one answer, with the 21-year-old academy product impressing as City’s most dangerous player and nodding in from Rodri’s cross to add to his goal in the Community Shield. He should get more game time this season on the right wing following Mahrez’s move to Saudi Arabia.
“This guy is incredible and he’s got good players to learn off and the best manager in the world,” Walker said of Palmer. “He needs to keep going, keep his feet on the floor like he has been and keep scoring goals. If he keeps improving, he’ll be fine.”
Sevilla occasionally troubled City on the break and off one such foray forward, En-Nesyri got in between Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol — making his first start for City — and leaping high to power in a header from Marcos Acuña’s left-wing cross.
City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes pulled off two saves from En-Nesyri in the second half, either side of Palmer’s goal, and didn’t need to make a save in the shootout.
Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Mateo Kovacic, Grealish and Walker converted City’s penalties, while Lucas Ocampos, Rafa Mir, Ivan Rakitic and Gonzalo Montiel netted for Sevilla.
Sevilla, which won the Europa League for the seventh time last season, has won just won of its seven appearances in the Super Cup. That was back in 2006 on its debut.
“It’s really frustrating for us, but I’m proud of my teammates,” Sevilla forward Erik Lamela said. “The team did a good job, we ran a lot against a very, very good team.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force is expanding its study of whether service members who worked with nuclear missiles have had unusually high rates of cancer after a preliminary review determined that a deeper examination is needed.
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