Manchester City lifted the first piece of silverware in England this season after beating Liverpool 5-4 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
The Reds will feel somewhat disappointed that they were not able to grab a late winner as they had a plethora of chances to finish off the game, but ultimately City held on.
Those in blue will have to thank Kyle Walker for his excellent goal-saving clearance in the 92nd minute as that was how close Liverpool came to lifting the trophy.
Raheem Sterling gave Pep Guardiola’s side the lead after just 11 minutes, with the England international ignoring the code of not celebrating against your former club by wheeling away in celebration.
Walker lifted a ball into the left channel for Kevin De Bruyne, which the Belgian headed into the path of David Silva in the Liverpool box. City’s No.21 then contorted his body to shift the ball on to Sterling with the outside of his left foot, and the winger’s left-footed effort squirmed through Alisson Becker.
Although City seemed to be the better of the two prior to the interval, Liverpool improved as the game went on and finished as the better of the two sides.
Sterling may have got his name on the scoresheet earlier in the match, but Guardiola would have been furious with the 24-year-old after he missed a glaring opportunity to double City’s lead in the 61st minute.
Walker pushed forward from right-back, drawing in Liverpool players as he advanced, and he then slid a ball in behind the Reds’ defence for Sterling to run on to.
Sterling never seemed to make up his mind about what he was going to do and, with Virgil van Dijk closing him down from behind, he panicked and didn’t even get a shot away, despite being one-on-one with Alisson.
It took Jurgen Klopp’s charges a long time to find an equaliser, though, as substitute Joel Matip found the back of the net in the 77th minute.
Jordan Henderson’s free-kick from the right was only partially cleared away by Walker, with the ball making its way to Van Dijk on the left-hand side of the box.
The Dutchman kept his composure and simply lifted the ball back into the six-yard box and in the direction of Joel Matip, with the centre-back able to leap above Nicolas Otamendi and head the ball into the ground and across the line.
Claudio Bravo, who had an excellent game, was left helpless in the City goal.There were plenty of players going down with cramp as the clock ticked down, which Liverpool were able to capitalise on as they created a handful of chances in the closing stages.
There was one chance in particular that many wearing red would have thought went in. In the 92nd minute, Otamendi made a mistake which gave the ball to Salah and the Egyptian carried the ball forward before attempting a shot at Bravo’s goal.
John Stones was able to block the effort, but Salah then headed the ball goalwards and Bravo looked resigned to it going in. Walker, however, had other ideas and managed to get back in time and acrobatically clear the ball off the line.
Rather than play extra time, the match went straight to penalties and both sides were almost faultless. Of the 10 penalties that were taken, only Georginio Wijnaldum missed as he went left and Bravo guessed correctly, while Gabriel Jesus secured the trophy for City with their fifth penalty after stuttering in his run-up before beating Alisson, who went the right way.
The goal for Manchester City will be to not only replicate what they won last season where they lifted the Community Shield, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Premier League but they will want to achieve the quintuple by securing the Champions League crown, too. Nevertheless, the Community Shield, the first piece of silverware this season, is a good place to start.
Source: Voice of Nigeria