Wednesday 23 October 2019

Sterling effort – how Raheem fared against Hoffenheim

A closer look at the performance of the England forward.

Raheem Sterling was soon back in the thick of the action. (Martin Rickett/PA Images)
Raheem Sterling was soon back in the thick of the action. (Martin Rickett/PA Images)

By Jim van Wijk, Press Association Sport

Raheem Sterling returned to action for Manchester City in their Champions League clash against Hoffenheim at the Etihad Stadium.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the performance of the England forward, who was on the end of alleged racist abuse from a section of Chelsea supporters in Saturday’s Premier League game at Stamford Bridge and accused newspapers of helping to “fuel racism” with the way in which they portray young black footballers.

Body language

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Raheem Sterling was soon in the thick of the action. (Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

There was little evidence of Saturday’s events having an impact on the approach of the 24-year-old. Sterling was all smiles during the warm-up and got straight into the action early on, only to find himself flattened after running into Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner as he darted into the penalty area. The England international, voted the Premier League Player of the Month for November, soon dusted himself down to go again, but often found himself doubled-up against as he looked to make an impact from the right. Saw the funny side when City somehow failed to score from his counter-attack after sprinting almost the length of the field during the second half.

Link-up play

Sterling remained a key part of City’s fluid frontline, helping in the transition from midfielders Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. Provided usual outlet down the flanks, which stretched the Germans as both Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus made the most of the extra space. Sterling sprinted clear from a corner, and opted to unselfishly square for Sane, who then laid it off for Silva, but the keeper saved. It was, though, not long before Sterling’s clever play did help make the breakthrough as he played a neat one-two with Sane to help set up City’s crucial second goal on the hour.

Finishing

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Sterling failed to find the net from close range. (Martin Rickett/PA Images)

No real opportunities came Sterling’s way during the first half as City looked to get themselves back on terms after trailing to an early penalty from Andrej Kramaric. Continued to remain dangerous in attack, and with hindsight may well have taken on his counter-attack chance himself. When another big moment came later in the second half following Foden’s vision, Sterling got his footing all wrong to knock the ball wide from six yards.

PA Media

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