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Man City cement dynasty with Super Cup, prodigious prospects – ESPN – ESPN

Manchester City‘s era of dominance will eventually end, but for now, they’re cashing in.
In Athens on Wednesday, they beat Sevilla 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time to add the UEFA Super Cup to the long list of trophies won under Pep Guardiola and turn last season’s treble into a quadruple. Next up is the Club World Club, which kicks off in Saudi Arabia in December, and as the reigning champions of England and Europe, they will arrive in Jeddah as favourites.
It’s a tag Guardiola has ensured they always wear these days.
Sevilla got closer than most to upsetting the odds and led for nearly 40 minutes thanks to Youssef En-Nesyri‘s bullet header in the first half. Even on a night when City were not at their best, though, they still found a well-worked equaliser through Cole Palmer and then finished the job from the spot.
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There isn’t a team in the world better equipped to get over the line when there’s silverware at stake. Even in the Super Cup, Guardiola demands it.
“The manager made it so clear to us before the game how much he wants this trophy,” Jack Grealish told TNT Sports after the match. “You want to win everything anyway but that gave us more of an urge. It was a brilliant feeling.
“Over the last 10 or 15 years, this club has been so successful, they’ve won so many Premier Leagues, FA Cups, Carabao Cups. We’ve been waiting for this, to add another one to the collection. This is what I came here to do.”
Every question asked of Guardiola since he arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2016 has now been answered, and all that’s left to decide is how many more trophies he will win before deciding to call it quits. He could leave as early as 2025, but that’s still enough time to add a couple more Premier League titles and another Champions League trophy.
His CV in Manchester already reads five Premier Leagues, two FA Cups, four League Cups, two Community Shields and the all-important Champions League, won against Inter Milan in Istanbul in June. In lifting the Super Cup in sweltering heat at the home of Olympiacos in Piraeus, he has now won 15 trophies in a little more than seven years at the club.
It’s dominance on a level with Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s and Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson. In the future, Guardiola’s City will be mentioned in the same breath.
The only positive for rivals at home and in Europe is that the prolonged periods of success enjoyed by Liverpool and United did, eventually, come to a close. City’s will too, because nothing lasts forever, but director of football Txiki Begiristain is trying to construct a squad that at least has the promise of being able to outlast Guardiola’s genius on the touchline.
They already have the best young striker in the world in Erling Haaland and this summer have added the best young defender in the world in Josko Gvardiol.
After coming on as a late substitute against Burnley on Friday, Gvardiol, signed for a €90 million transfer fee from RB Leipzig, was handed his first start against Sevilla. The 21-year-old already looks the part in a team packed full of slick and stylish players.
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Playing at left-back, he was good enough to slip a number of piercing passes through Sevilla’s lines and into dangerous areas for Haaland and Grealish, particularly in the first half.
On the other side of the pitch, another 21-year-old, Palmer, gave World Cup winner Marcos Acuña plenty to worry about with four successful dribbles and three shots on target during an 85-minute display that saw him named man of the match. After Phil Foden and Rico Lewis, who signed a new five-year contract this week, Palmer is next off City’s production belt.
He probably wouldn’t have started against Sevilla had Bernardo Silva not fallen ill in the buildup, but his performance and goal — a delicate back-post header placed into the far corner — will give Guardiola something to think about when it comes to deciding who should replace Kevin De Bruyne for the next four months. Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United have both shown interest in the England U21 forward this summer, but for now he’s staying put.
“This guy is incredible and he’s got good players to learn off and the best manager in the world,” said captain Kyle Walker. “He needs to keep going, keep his feet on the floor like he has been and keep scoring goals. If he keeps improving, he’ll be fine.”
With Palmer, Gvardiol, Haaland, Foden and Lewis, City’s future is in safe hands. After securing a fourth trophy in the space of three months, the present isn’t too bad, either.


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