Manchester City were veering toward a disappointing record of one point from their opening two 2018-19 Champions League matches before David Silva’s opportunism plucked a 2-1 victory from Hoffenheim.
The hosts were ahead under a minute into the encounter through Ishak Belfodil, but Sergio Aguero quickly equalized in an entertaining start to the Group F skirmish.
Hoffenheim defended valiantly as Pep Guardiola tweaked his system and personnel from the technical area until Silva pickpocketed defender Stefan Posch and fired past Oliver Baumann after 87 minutes. The playmaker has now scored five of his six Champions League goals against German opponents.
Manchester City’s traveling fans voiced their displeasure at some decisions made by Slovenian referee Damir Skomina and his team during the fixture. Raheem Sterling was harshly ruled offside and City had a quick throw-in called back during the opening half. Later, Leroy Sane had his pleas for a penalty in the second period waved away after he was felled by Baumann while honing in on goal.
However, Hoffenheim also felt aggrieved when Kyle Walker was shown just a yellow card for a strong challenge on Pavel Kaderabek.
It was crucial for Guardiola’s side to take all three points from Julian Nagelsmann’s previously off-color contingent following a shock home defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in the opening matchday. Manchester City are among the favorites to lift Champions League silverware in June, but would’ve faced an uphill battle to finish first in the group with another failure to win.
The third round of games is slated for Oct. 23, when Manchester City will journey to Shakhtar Donetsk and Hoffenheim will entertain Lyon.