Sergio Aguero’s 90th-minute penalty sealed Manchester City’s 2-1 comeback win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday in the Champions League to continue the Germans’ spot-kick misery in Europe.
Having opened their debut Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Sevilla, which included two penalties, Gladbach remain bottom of Group D as they search to replace ex-coach Lucien Favre.
City are now third only on goal-difference after leaders Juventus enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Sevilla on Wednesday as Manuel Pellegrini’s Citizens bounced back from their opening 2-1 defeat at home to the Italians.
“That is a very important win for us and we played well in the last 25 minutes, it was important to show a reaction after losing to Juventus,” said City boss Pellegrini.
After striker Lars Stindl had put Gladbach ahead at Borussia Park, City came from behind as Andreas Christensen’s own goal put the English team level before Aguero’s late spot-kick.
The win breathes life back into City’s European aspirations as they bounced back from their 4-1 mauling at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart played a role in City’s victory by keeping out Raffael’s first-half penalty attempt, then saving first-half shots from the Brazilian and Germany winger Patrick Herrmmann.
“Joe made three very important saves, I don’t know if that was a penalty, but we also missed some chances as the other end, so his was an important contribution,” added Pellegrini.
The result is a set back for Gladbach after their first defeat under caretaker coach Andre Schubert following two Bundesliga wins since Favre quit on September 20 after five German league defeats.
This was Borussia’s first European match at this level for 37 years and their first defeat to English opposition at home on the continent in six matches.
“The bottom line first of all is how disappointed we are to have not taken anything from this game,” said Schubert.
“We kept in the game, defended well, but we still lost.”
Only a superb early save prevented City taking an early lead when Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer blocked Aguero’s shot with his hip in a reflex save.
At the other end, City’s Joe Hart saved a penalty from Gladbach’s Raffael, who harmlessly pushed his shot to the England goalkeeper’s left to invite the save with 20 minutes gone.
It was poetic justice after the Brazilian had appeared to dive over Nicolas Otamendi’s out-stretched legs.
Only a superb save from Hart on 33 minutes denied Raffael, then Germany winger Patrick Herrmann, as Gladbach kept up the pressure.
City captain Yaya Toure failed to come out for the second-half after aggravating a leg injury the defensive midfielder had picked up in the Spurs’ defeat.
Stindl put Gladbach ahead when Julian Korb’s pass found him unmarked in the area and his shot wrong-footed Hart on 54 minutes.
City drew level 11 minutes later Martin Demichelis’ shot was cleared from behind the line by Korb.
City centre-back Otamendi fired home the weak punt out of defence by volleying into the back of the Gladbach net after the ball deflected off Gladbach’s Christensen.
City got the crucial winning penalty when Fabian Johnson fouled Aguero in the area and the striker sent Sommer the wrong way by tucking his shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
Only some heroics from the bloodied Swiss goalkeeper at Aguero’s feet in the dying minutes saved City from leaving Germany with a bigger win as Sommer finished with a suspected broken nose.