Manchester City 2-1 Southampton: Raheem Sterling extends leaders' Premier League winning run
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 30/11/17 6:24am
Raheem Sterling scored a dramatic late winner to help Manchester City beat Southampton 2-1 at the Etihad on Wednesday night and set a new club record of 12 Premier League wins in a row.
City opened the scoring thanks to Kevin De Bruyne's driven free-kick which somehow made its way into the back of the net 77 seconds after half-time.
However, Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu's composed finish levelled matters 15 minutes from time, only for the home side to snatch all three points with the last kick of the game when Sterling curled home an exquisite winner.
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Kompany (6), Otamendi (6), Delph (6), Gundogan (6), De Bruyne (7), Fernandinho (7), Sterling (8), Aguero (6), Jesus (6)
Subs: Bernardo Silva (6), David Silva (6)
Southamoton: Forster (9), Soares (8), Yoshida (8), Hoedt (7), Van Dijk (7), Bertrand (7), Romeu (7), Hojbjerg (7), Lemina (7), Redmond (6), Long (6)
Subs: Austin (6), Boufal (8), McQueen (6)
Man of the match: Fraser Forster
As a result, Pep Guardiola's side remain eight points clear of Manchester United at the top of the table, while the Saints are still in 11th place.
City started the contest at their usual frenetic pace, although it was actually the visitors who created the first real opening of the half just before the quarter-hour mark.
Nathan Redmond's right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post by captain Maya Yoshida, only for his central-defensive partner Wesley Hoedt to head against the bar from a few yards out.
City then immediately broke upfield and worked the ball to Sterling on the left and after the winger had cut inside and tested Fraser Forster with a low effort, the goalkeeper did well to get up and keep out Gabriel Jesus' shot from the rebound.
However, it was the Saints who went in disappointed at the break after spurning another presentable opening 10 minutes before half-time, and again it was a corner that caused City's back line problems.
Virgil van Dijk rose highest to head the ball on, but Yoshida volleyed wastefully over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
And the visitors were made to pay for that miss within seconds of the second period when De Bruyne's free kick from near the left-hand touchline was deflected past Forster by Van Dijk.
Southampton would not lie down, though, and after riding their luck on several occasions, drew level after some lovely skill in the area by substitute Sofiane Boufal, whose pull back was swept home from close range by the unmarked Romeu.
City made two changes from Sunday's win at Huddersfield, with Jesus and Gundogan replacing David Silva and Sane, with the latter ill and not among the substitutes.
Southampton made five alterations from the team that beat Everton, with Yoshida, Romeu, Lemina, Redmond and Long coming in for Davis, Austin, Tadic, Boufal and Ward-Prowse.
But as the game entered its sixth minute of injury time, Sterling and De Bruyne played a one-two on the edge of the area, before the England forward beat Forster with a brilliant effort into the top right-hand corner of the goal to spark jubilant scenes, his second late winner in the space of three days.
City's haul of 40 points from their first 14 Premier League games this season is the joint-best tally ever at this stage of a top-flight campaign (also Tottenham in 1960/61 - based on three points for a win).
Southampton have picked up just one point from their last seven Premier League visits to the Etihad
Since his Premier League debut for City in September 2015, De Bruyne has had a hand in 51 goals in the competition (17 goals, 34 assists), more than any other midfielder in that time.
Romeu netted his first goals in his last 19 Premier League appearances, since netting against Chelsea in April
Sterling has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 13 competitive appearances for Manchester City (10 goals, two assists)
Man of the Match - Fraser Forster
As expected, the giant goalkeeper was a busy man at the Etihad, although sadly for the Saints his heroics in goal were not enough to earn his side a point.
The England international had to be on his toes to deny City in the first half, with his best stop one to keep out Raheem Sterling's drive.
And it was more of the same after the break as the shot-stopper defied the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and finally Fernandinho with a succession of impressive saves.
And on that kind of form, England boss Gareth Southgate could very well take Forster on the plane to Russia 2018…
Pep Guardiola: "We have to be fair, the first half they had chances in the set pieces always, the first goal came from a throw-in. But we controlled the counterattack, we created chances enough to win the game. And by far we deserved to win the game.
"We celebrated with all the staff and players because we have to celebrate these kind of emotions and we are here for that. Of course, we will not lift the title as all the contenders won, but it is not enough. So when you live these kind of experiences, you have to do it, tomorrow rest and then we will prepare for West Ham on Sunday."
Mauricio Pellegrino: "It is difficult to digest when you play 99.9 per cent of the game more or less in the way we planned before. But they have a lot of quality, they do not need too much to score.
"They scored an amazing goal and we have to congratulate the opponent. And we have to be proud in the way we competed against a really, really good side, and maybe at this moment one of the best team in the world. But at the same time we have to use this game as were really competitive and thinking about the future we can play against stronger teams, and we can be really, really difficult for them."
City host West Ham United at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, while earlier that day Southampton travel to Bournemouth, with both matches live on Sky Sports Premier League.