Man City want long Champions League run as fans boo Uefa
Manuel Pellegrini targets top spot in Group D as City cruise into the knockout stages with Sevilla victory
Sevilla 1 Manchester City 3
Three first-half goals helped Manchester City cruise into the knock-out stages of the Champions League as Sevilla offered little in the way of resistance. The victory - together with the 1-1 draw between Juventus and Borussia Monchengladbach - means the Citizens are assured of qualification from Group D with two games to spare.
It's a rare achievement for City, who have laboured in recent Champions League campaigns, twice failing to make it out of the group stage. But the 3-1 win over Sevilla means that even though the Spanish side could finish level on points with the Premier League leaders, City would qualify for the last 16 because they have beaten them twice in the group stages.
City were on the attack from the kick-off, despite the fact Manuel Pellegrini had decided to leave in-form goalscorer Kevin de Bruyne on the bench, and it took them just eight minutes to score with Raheem Sterling firing home from a tight angle. Three minutes later Fernandinho doubled the visitors advantage with a header, and though Sevilla pulled a goal back through Benoit Tremoulinas', Wilfried Bony made it 3-1 on 36 minutes.
"I'm very happy," reflected Pellegrini afterwards. "Lately we haven't been playing well, but we are glad to have qualified with two matches remaining."
Though City are through to the knockout phase, two matches remain (Juventus away and Monchengladbach at home) and Pellegrini outlined their objective.
"It is important to get first place in the group," he explained. "Last season people said we failed in the Champions League so we will try to get the first position this season... We should continue to play the same way in Europe and the Premier League."
City's qualification was particularly satisfying for their fans, thousands of whom made the journey to Spain. Having been reported last month for booing the Champions League anthem before their home clash with Sevilla, the City faithful were more bullish than ever in expressing their disdain for European football's governing body.
Those fans already in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium an hour before kick-off booed the Uefa-commissioned arrangement of Handel's Zadok the Priest during a test run and when the anthem was played for the full 60 seconds prior to kick-off the City fans "let rip".
According to the Daily Telegraph: "Many of them even held sheets of paper with 'BOO' printed upon them. It has to be said that, from the other side of the stadium, the booing from the away fans was drowned out largely by the volume at which the music was played."
City will discover on November 19 whether Uefa will press ahead with the charge of booing their anthem.