EPL: Pep celebrate Man City reign with victory

EPL: Pep celebrate Man City reign with victory

Sunderland debutant Paddy McNair scored an 87th-minute own goal to earn Pep Guardiola a 2-1 victory in his first Premier League game as Manchester City manager on Saturday.

City took an early lead courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s penalty, but they failed to make their territorial dominance count and Jermain Defoe looked to have earned Sunderland a point with a second-half equaliser.

But with three minutes to play, Jesus Navas’s right-wing cross was helped on by fellow substitute Kelechi Iheanacho and McNair, who had only come on four minutes earlier, headed the ball into his own net from close range.

The Northern Ireland international signed from City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United earlier this week and his unwitting intervention denied David Moyes a creditable point on his bow as Sunderland manager.

City finished the opening day joint-top of the table with Hull City – surprise conquerors of champions Leicester City – but Guardiola will have been concerned by his players’ struggles to break Sunderland down.

The former Barcelona coach, who started with Willy Caballero in goal in place of Joe Hart, must now prepare his troops for Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg away to Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.

Guardiola awarded full debuts to centre-back John Stones, his 47.5 million pounds ($61 million, 55 million euros) signing from Everton, and Spanish winger Nolito, who lined up on the left.

He set his team out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with full-backs Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy stepping into central midfield and holding player Fernandinho dropping between the centre-backs when City had the ball.

But the most eye-catching element of his first competitive team selection was the inclusion of Caballero, usually City’s reserve goalkeeper, instead of Hart.

 

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Guardiola cast doubt on Hart’s City future on Friday, amid reports he wants to sign Marc-Andre ter Stegen from his former club Barcelona.

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