On Wednesday, Manchester City won the UEFA Super Cup for the first time. They beat Sevilla on penalties after a 1-1 game in Athens.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s high shot in the first half gave Spain the lead.
European winners City were not at their best, but Cole Palmer’s shot brought the game back to penalties.
Then, City made all of their penalty kicks and won the shootout 5-4 after Sevilla defender Nemanja Gudelj hit the bar.
Pep Guardiola complained that his team hadn’t done enough to get ready for the new season, and it showed in the scorching heat of Athens.
Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva’s artistic impact was missed by City a lot when they were hurt or sick.
Since last season, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez haven’t been as dangerous as they were when De Bruyne was out for four months with a serious leg injury.
Lucas Paqueta, a Brazilian international who plays for West Ham, has been linked with a move to the Etihad, and this game may be more proof that City needs to get better before the transfer window closes.
Valencia beat Sevilla 2-1 at home in the first game of their La Liga season.
But, just like they did last season when they won their seventh Europa League despite finishing 12th in the league, they stepped up to the challenge.
Yassine Bounou, the goalie for Sevilla, was playing what is likely to be his last game for the team before he moves to Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia.
The Moroccan international keeper stopped Nathan Ake’s strong header from going into the bottom corner, preventing City from getting off to a perfect start.
But Guardiola’s team soon slowed down when they had the ball, and they were punished after 25 minutes.
Start of Gvardiol
Josko Gvardiol was making his first start for City after moving from RB Leipzig for €90 million ($99 million).
En-Nesyri got to Marcos Acuna’s cross before the international player from Croatia did, and he headed the ball in off the post.
At the start of the second half, City’s slowness was on display again when Lucas Ocampos skipped past Kyle Walker’s last-ditch effort to stop him. This gave En-Nesyri a great chance to make it 2-0 for Sevilla.
The Moroccan scorer was one-on-one with Ederson, but his shot went right through Ederson’s legs.
Sevilla came to regret missing that chance when City scored against the run of play with 63 minutes left.
Palmer, who came up through the City school and scored against Arsenal in the Community Shield, is making the most of his chance with the first team after Mahrez left.
Rodri scored City’s only goal in the Champions League final against Inter Milan, and the Spaniard did it again by setting up Palmer’s goal with a perfectly timed cross that Palmer headed past Bounou.
Moments later, En-Nesyri missed another one-on-one chance when Ederson flew off his line to make a stop.
Erling Haaland had scored twice in each of his previous three games against Sevilla, but before the penalty kicks, the Norwegian hardly had a chance to shoot.
Instead, City’s best chance to win the game in regular time came from Ake, whose downward shot was saved.
But Bounou’s finish wasn’t perfect because Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Mateo Kovacic, Jack Grealish, and Walker all kept their cool and scored in the shootout.