Sane at the double to ensure City finish top of the pile



Posted Thursday, December 13, 2018 by PA

Sane at the double to ensure City finish top of the pile

Leroy Sane struck twice as Manchester City came from behind to secure top spot in Champions League Group F with a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.

Sane cancelled out former Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric’s early penalty with a stunning free-kick just before half time and grabbed his second on the hour.

City also hit the woodwork twice as they created numerous chances after making a sluggish start.

Pep Guardiola’s side, who gave valuable experience to 18-year-old Phil Foden, dominated the second half and Sane could have had a hat-trick had he not passed up another shooting chance.

It was an impressive performance from the German – left out of his country’s World Cup squad last summer – against a team from his homeland.

City, who were without a batch of star players through injury, initially looked like they were suffering a hangover from their weekend defeat at Chelsea and took time to find their usual verve.

Hoffenheim were more positive early and created an opening for Kramaric on the edge of the area from where he should have done better than shoot over.

The lively Kramaric went closer with a fine curling effort moments later but Ederson made a fine save to tip round the post.

Hoffenheim claimed the advantage in the 16th minute after Aymeric Laporte bundled over Benjamin Hubner. Kramaric comfortably tucked home from the spot.

City, who had only threatened previously when Ilkay Gundogan shot straight at Oliver Baumann, upped the tempo in response and, although they lacked fluency, proved a threat from set-pieces.

Gabriel Jesus, back up front in the continued absence of Sergio Aguero, hit the post with a thumping header from a corner and John Stones rose to meet a free-kick and force Baumann to save.

Nicolas Otamendi also hit the woodwork with a glancing header from a Gundogan free-kick.

Foden, whose touch let him down on a couple of occasions, also had a chance after Raheem Sterling robbed Hubner but the youngster turned inside and his shot was blocked.

The leveller came on the stroke of half-time after City were awarded a free-kick around 25 yards out. With no obvious specialists from that range on the field, Sane took responsibility and curled a fine effort into the top corner.

Laporte drew a double save from Baumann following a corner early in the second half. His attempts would not have counted as Sane’s cross was ruled to have gone out of play but City were in the ascendancy.

They should have gone ahead when Sterling led a three-on-one break from deep but Sane unselfishly opted to pass inside for Bernardo Silva instead of shooting and Baumann blocked.

Baumann also denied Jesus after the Brazilian was played in by a Sterling backheel but the keeper could do nothing after another quick counter-attack on the hour. Sane combined beautifully with Sterling and this time made no mistake as he slid a shot under Baumann.

City wanted more and Foden began to grow in confidence. Both he and Sane shot over before Foden met a Sterling cross with a powerful left-foot volley that Baumann tipped over.

Foden then turned provider for Sterling but another chance went begging as he shot wide from close range.

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