Manchester City 4-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach: Birthday boy Sterling helps Citizens top group

Raheem Sterling's two goals in two minutes guided Manchester City to the top of their Champions League group on Tuesday evening, with them defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2.

The Germans went in at half time with a 2-1 lead, goals from Julian Korb and Raffael cancelling out David Silva's opener, but they were comfortably beaten in the end after the Citizens' stunning second half display.

They peppered the away goal until Sterling finally equalised with 10 minutes to play, and deservedly so for the team and himself, the young England international one of the stand-out performers on his 21st birthday.

He then made this into a brace less than a minute later, whilst substitute Wilfried Bony established some breathing space not long after with a fourth for City.

With Juventus losing 1-0 to Sevilla, the win means City qualified as winners from the group, whilst Gladbach crashed out with a bottom placed finish, not even securing Europa League football as a consolation.

Electric start at the Etihad

Fresh off the back of a stunning victory over Bayern Munich at the weekend, Gladbach showed their inevitable confidence as a result from the off at the Etihad, the in-form Fabian Johnson firing over on the volley before Korb burst through on goal but squandered his great chance, also putting the ball over the bar.

Nonetheless, it was City who took the lead with 16 minutes played, Silva thumping the ball into the roof of the net from an angle after a super little backheel from Sterling. 

Gladbach might have come into the game with the form, the hosts having lost 2-0 to Stoke City at the weekend in contrast, but the early scoreline was one many will have expected going off the Group D table.

David Silva hammered City into an early lead. (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA)
David Silva hammered City into an early lead. (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA)

However, the confidence in the German side was evident when they equalised just three minutes later. Johnson carved open the City defence with a pacey and direct run from the left, and his cut-back found Korb at the back stick who arrowed home to level the scores once more.

Visitors' confidence takes them in front

Gladbach started to dominate possession from here, and in City's back yard one must stress, looking more than likely to add the next goal.

Sterling had an effort fly just a couple of yards over the bar for the hosts, but it was the visitors in control with some nice flowing passing moves, albeit none of which really threatened or caused Joe Hart any problems.

They would finally produce in the final third late on in the half though, Raffael on the scoresheet just two minutes before the interval as Oscar Wendt's cut-back was deflected into the Brazilian's path by Lars Stindl and then bundled in from close range.

It was a deserved lead for Gladbach too, who had been the better side by some distance in the first 45 minutes, with City almost complacent given that they had already qualified for the knockout stages, albeit this was costing them top spot.

Super Sterling scores birthday double

Manchester City were much improved in the second period, starting it in blistering fashion and with real intent as they applied the pressure to Gladbach's back three.

That defence stood firm for the most part, though Nico Elvedi, the 19-year-old who was having a good game up to this point, almost committed a calamitous error just before the hour as Sterling intercepted his chested back-pass - only for 'keeper Yann Sommer to rescue his teammate by making himself big to thwart the Englishman.

Silva had a decent chance a few minutes later, given some space in the box to strike after a mazy run from Sterling, but he failed to connect with the ball properly as his shot was scuffed right down the throat of the 'keeper.

Sterling produced an identical effort from the same position just moments after, Aleksandar Kolarov's pacey low cross finding him perfectly, but City's number seven unable to make the most of the good build-up.

The £50 million man continued to get involved as the home side pursued an equaliser and he produced an exceptional save from Sommer as City continued their bombardment of the Gladbach goal, the Swiss 'keeper stopping his volley with a terrifically strong left hand.

It would be Sterling who finally got the equaliser that all of City's pressure deserved too, with him converting from inside the box with 10 minutes to go after Gael Clichy's cross squeezed through to him at the back post.

Less than two minutes later, the former-Liverpool man was teed up by Bony to punish a suddenly messy Gladbach defence by curling in his brace, marking his 21st birthday in style as he turned the game around completely.

Bony added a fourth not long after to wrap things up for the Citizens, with them topping the group as they progress to the last 16, thanks to Juventus' loss to Sevilla in the other Group D game.

Manuel Pellegrini's side will now hope to carry this confidence back into the Premier League and make up for some shaky form in recent weeks.

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