Silva capitalised on an 87th-minute defensive error by Stefan Posch before finishing into the far corner to give his side their first points in the competition this season. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described David Silva as “one of the best players” he has managed after the midfielder scored a dramatic late winner in City’s Champions League win over Hoffenheim.
The Spaniard also played a key role in Sergio Aguero’s equaliser in the first half. “He is one of the best players I have trained in my life,” said Guardiola. “I am a lucky guy to have many of them who are top players at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and he is in that list.
“In terms of mentality, I love the players who in the bad moments step forward and say ‘I am here guys’ and he is one of them. “I am so happy for him. He deserves all of my respect.”
City had fallen behind after only 43 seconds when Ishak Belfodil finished through the legs of goalkeeper Ederson for Hoffenheim. They equalised six minutes later when Aguero poked home from Leroy Sane’s cut-back but had been frustrated from then on, and looked like only taking a point from their trip to Germany before Silva pounced late on.
City had a strong claim for a second-half penalty turned down when Baumann brought down Sane in the box but referee Damir Skomina chose not to give a foul or book the forward for diving.
City climb to second in the table while Hoffenheim, playing in the Champions League for the first time this season, are bottom.
City back on track… just
City’s defeat against Lyon last month was their fourth in a row in the Champions League going back to last season’s campaign, which ended with defeat in the quarter-finals by Liverpool.
But over the 90 minutes the English champions deserved the three points in Germany, especially given they should have had a penalty for the foul on Sane. Silva was instrumental in Aguero’s equaliser, playing a perfectly weighted pass to Sane on the left who then cut the ball back to the Argentine striker.
For his winner Silva robbed Posch when the defender tried to chest down Bernado Silva’s cross inside the penalty area.
In the first half, City were dangerous on the counter-attack with Sterling and Aguero missing good chances, although Hoffenheim were more secure after the break. But despite the win there were also concerns for Guardiola. The early goal, which came when one pass between centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi was enough to open up the defence, means City have now kept just two clean sheets in their past 17 away games in the Champions League.
There were other uncertain moments at the back with Hoffenheim finding joy down the side of the centre-back pairing, particularly on the left where Aymeric Laporte was playing at full-back. City play Shakhtar Donetsk in back-to-back games in their next Champions League fixtures and their hopes of qualification were helped when the Ukrainian side drew 2-2 with Lyon later on Tuesday.
Depleted Hoffenheim impress on big night
Despite being denied a valuable point, Hoffenheim were still impressive in their first Champions League home game – a match which had been labelled the biggest in the club’s history. At the start of the millennium the German club were in the fifth division, and 10 years earlier in the eighth tier, but they looked at home on European football’s biggest stage.
In 2000, local businessman Dietmar Hopp – who had played for them as a youngster – invested in the club, sparking a run of promotions which eventually saw them become an established Bundesliga outfit. Under highly-rated manager Julian Nagelsmann, the youngest boss in the competition’s history at 31, they attacked City and looked dangerous – although this did leave them exposed on the counter-attack.
In the second half they were more compact defensively and looked like earning a draw until the late mistake. Posch, 21, was one of a number of youngsters, along with fellow centre-back Justin Hoogma, 20, who started the game after injuries had ruled out their captain Kevin Vogt, first-choice defenders Ermin Bicakcic and Havard Nordtveit, and German international winger Nico Schulz.
Man of the match – David Silva (Manchester City)
Good signals for the future’ – manager reaction
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “We had a little pressure because of our [opening] result in this competition, when you lose home games it is always tough and hard.
“After one minute we conceded a goal, it is not easy. The players deserve credit because we fought against absolutely everything for the result, the pressure and many other things.
“Maybe for the future it is going really well for us to live these kinds of situations because you cannot go through quarter-finals and semi-finals without living what today was.
“Manchester City is a fantastic club but does not have the history to live these situations. What happened today on the pitch gave me a lot of good signals for our future because we fought against absolutely everything.”
Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann: “I have already spoken to Stefan Posch. He played a good game and their goal was not entirely his fault. He’s a young lad and still has things to learn, and he will do that.
“Despite absences, we did well.
“It was extraordinary how we came into the break.
“We moved forward with possession and created good moments up front. To do that against a team like Man City is something we can really build on.”
Aguero’s away run – the best stats
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their past six Champions League games against German opponents (W5 D1).
- Hoffenheim have won just one of their previous 10 matches in European competition (D3 L6).
- Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero became just the second player to score in five consecutive away Champions League appearances for an English team after Ruud van Nistelrooy for Man Utd in 2003.
- Aguero has scored more Champions League goals v German teams than against any other nation in the competition (eight).
- Hoffenheim’s Ishak Belfodil netted after 43 seconds; the quickest goal scored against an English team in the Champions League since Stephan El Shaarawy v Chelsea in October 2017 (39 seconds). It is also the quickest goal Manchester City have conceded in the competition.
- Five of David Silva’s six Champions League goals for Manchester City have come against German opposition.
Source: BBC News