MANCHESTER: Gabriel Jesus scored two goals including an injury-time winner as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City recorded a dramatic 2-1 victory over struggling Swansea City at the Etihad Stadium yesterday.
The home side looked in complete control during a dominant first-half showing only to surrender an 81st-minute equaliser to Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Iceland international capitalised on some poor defending, collecting Luciano Narsingh’s pass, switching the ball to his left foot and scoring with a brilliant low drive from just outside the area.
But deep in injury time David Silva’s right-wing cross found Jesus and after his initial header had been saved by Lukasz Fabianski, the 19-year-old Brazilian tapped the rebound into an open goal.
Jesus, a January arrival from Palmeiras, had required just 11 minutes of his full home debut to score the first of what City supporters hope will be many goals for them.
The goal was created by the excellence of Silva, who beat defender Federico Fernandez along the byline before pulling the ball back towards Raheem Sterling.
Martin Olsson managed to block the England forward on the six-yard line, but Jesus reacted like lightning, pouncing on the loose ball and making no mistake with a close-range volley.
City’s first-half dominance was complete and Willy Caballero, continuing to deputise for the dropped Claudio Bravo in the home goal, had not one moment of concern.
The afternoon might have been put beyond the grasp of Swansea, showing signs of improvement under new manager Paul Clement, had referee Mike Dean judged that Alfie Mawson had fouled Jesus in the area on seven minutes.
Shortly after the goal, Yaya Toure almost doubled the lead from a 25-yard free-kick that was heading into the top left-hand corner until Fabianski made a superb diving save.
Fernandinho, playing at right-back, sent Sterling away and his cross was almost converted by Jesus, who was only denied by a fine piece of defending from Fernandez.
SANE HITS POST
From Silva’s resulting corner, Toure should have made better contact with an unmarked shot that passed harmlessly wide.
Kevin De Bruyne then fired into the side-netting and Toure’s 18-yard shot was smothered, at the second attempt, by Fabianski.
A long Silva pass played Sterling in on goal just before the interval, although the City forward fell while rounding Fabianski and was harshly booked for simulation for his trouble.
However, City’s supporters would have been forgiven for wondering if their failure to score more than one goal would come back to haunt them as Swansea made an improved start to the second half.
Sigurdsson threatened to equalise in the 49th minute with a magnificently struck free-kick that was kept out by a combination of the leaping Caballero’s right glove and his right-hand post.
Leroy Sane sped down the other end in response and delivered a low cross which hit the foot of Fabianski’s post.
But the longer City went without adding a second goal, the more the anxiety grew at the Etihad, especially when Mawson headed just wide from Sigurdsson’s corner.
The Swansea defender was pressed into action at the other end when he blocked a dangerous low cross from Sterling.
It came at the expense of a corner from which De Bruyne picked out Aleksandar Kolarov, whose header flew harmlessly wide.
Mawson again came to his team’s rescue after 72 minutes, producing a well-timed block to stop a Silva shot, set up by Jesus’s superb flick, which had looked destined for the back of the visitors’ net. – AFP