Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini reflected on a “strange” night as his team stole a 2-1 Champions League Group D win at Borussia Monchengladbach.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart turned in his latest inspired European performance, saving a penalty from Raffael in the 19th minute and frustrating the Brazilian forward on a host of other occasions.
Hart was finally beaten by Lars Stindl’s clinical 54th-minute finish, but Nicolas Otamendi netted his first City goal with the aid of a deflection 11 minutes later.
Otamendi”s compatriot Sergio Aguero endured a night of similar frustration to Raffael in front of goal, but went one better than his fellow striker by winning and converting a 90th-minute penalty.
“It was a strange game,” Pellegrini told BT Sport. “For 65 minutes both teams had very good chances to score, we did not defend well.
“In the last half hour we improved a lot and won the game.
“We knew that Borussia have a very fast team. Joe Hart made some brilliant saves. It could have been 4-4 after an hour but then we dominated the game.
“We got a little bit of luck at the end but we have had plenty of bad luck recently.”
Attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, returning to Germany for the first time since illuminating the Bundesliga during his time with Wolfsburg, agreed with his manager’s assessment of City’s performance for the first hour – if in slightly more damning terms.
“We only played well in the last half hour,” the Belgium international told UEFA.com. “The first hour was very difficult for us. This was our worst match this season.”