Leroy Sane Brace Sees Man City Stage Champions League Comeback To Win Group F

The forward held his nerve to jink past the onrushing goalkeeper and slot the ball around him into the back of the net

Manchester City’s German winger came to their rescue – and drove his countrymen InSane.

Pep Guardiola depleted side’s place at the top of Group F looked under threat as they trailed to a lively Hoffenheim side.

But step forward Leroy Sane – who scored either side of the break to ensure City will have home advantage in the last 16.

All the talk in the last few days has been of Raheem Sterling after the shocking abuse he received at Chelsea on Saturday.

But it was his fellow winger and great pal Sane who took the headlines here – although the England man weighed in with a vital assist.

Sane made the difference just when it looked like City could be in for another tough night on the back of their defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Hoffenheim – who still had a chance of clinching a Europa League spot – made a strong start.

They went close as Nico Schulz cross was met by Florian Grillitsch but he did not get the connection he wanted.

Former Leicester man Andrej Kramaric who drives a shot just over the bar with Ederson stretching.

The Croatian then fashioned an opening for himself and sent a curling effort that was spectacularly tipped around the post by Ederson.

However from the resulting corner City did not clear their lines and Aymeric Laporte clumsily pulled down Benjamin Hubner.

Swedish ref Andreas Ekberg pointed to the spot – and as he denied a clear goal-scoring chance, City’s Spanish defender was perhaps lucky that was the only punishment.

Kramaric sent Ederson the wrong way from the spot and the Germans had the lead – just as they did in the reverse fixture in early October.

On that night City hit back almost immediately and they almost did the same here.

They needed to respond as a defeat here – coupled with a win for Lyon in Ukraine – could have seen Guardiola’s men knocked off top spot.

A fizzing corner from Leroy Sane found the head of Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus but his effort cannoned back off the post.

Another flag-kick at the other end saw John Stones rise highest – however Baumann dived full stretch and made a smart save.

And the woodwork denied City once again when Gundogan whipped in a free-kick which was flicked on by Nico Otamendi but crashed off the bar.

Sane and Jesus were then joined by a mob of light blue shirts as the City players joined in on the celebratory antics

The home side’s best chances were coming from set-pieces and without key midfielders such as Fernandinho and David Silva, their football was not as fluent as normal.

Sterling pinched the ball off his man down the right and picked out Phil Foden but the young midfielder’s shot was blocked.

The 18-year-old was handed a start days after signing his new six year contract at the Etihad – and that would have been the perfect way to celebrate.

Instead it was another man who has been in talks over a new deal who stepped forward to show how it should be done.

Jesus won a free-kick 25 yards from goal and the former Schalke man curled a delicious effort over the wall and beyond the out-stretched arm of Baumann.

It was a sweet moment for Sane to score against German opposition – and it was very much-needed by City.

After all, it had been over 170 minutes of football since their last goal at Watford – which is most unlike them.

City deserved to be level and came out after the break looking to put the tie – and top spot in the group – to bed.

Sterling saw a shot blocked at the back post and then Baumann made another smart save to tip an effort from Jesus round the post.

A quick break away from a Hoffenheim corner saw Sterling race the whole length of the pitch unchallenged.

He squared it to Sane – who also chose to pass rather than shoot – and Bernardo could not force the ball home.

Pep Guardiola’s frustration on the bench was obvious.

He would have been even more angry had the visitors scored from a breakaway which saw on loan Arsenal man Reiss Nelson denied by Ederson shortly afterwards.

But Hoffenheim were pushing everyone forward and that left spaces at the back with Sane carrying the ball from his own half just after the hour.

He swapped passes with Sterling before rolling the ball underneath Baumann – and finally City could breathe easily.

When he plays like this it makes it all the more baffling how Joachim Low could have left him out of his World Cup squad back in the summer.

City knew their work was done – and could have added to their lead with Foden forcing a smart save from Baumann with a thumping volley.

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