De Bruyne inspires Man City to late comeback win at Newcastle

De Bruyne inspires Man City to late comeback win at Newcastle

NEWCASTLE, England — Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne inspired a late comeback 3-2 victory for his side at Newcastle United on Saturday in his first Premier League action since the opening day of the season.

The Belgian midfielder has been missing since August because of a hamstring injury but came off the bench in the 69th minute with City trailing 2-1 to spark a remarkable turnaround.

Mr. De Bruyne equalized with a trademark silky finish five minutes after replacing Bernardo Silva and played the perfect pass in stoppage time for fellow substitute Oscar Bobb to secure the three points with his first Premier League goal.

Manchester City’s players celebrated loudly at the final whistle as the victory took them up to second place, two points behind Liverpool with both sides having played 20 games.

Manager Pep Guardiola boasts an embarrassment of riches in Man City’s squad but the 32-year-old Mr. De Bruyne proved yet again that he is simply irreplaceable and his return could not have come at a better time.

Bernardo Silva had given Man City a 26th-minute lead with a sublime back-heeled finish from Kyle Walker’s low cross but Pep Guardiola’s side were soon rocked back on their heels.

Alexander Isak curled in an equaliser in the 35th minute and Anthony Gordon sent the home fans wild with another high-quality finish past Man City keeper Stefan Ortega, who had replaced the injured Ederson in the fifth minute.

Man City missed a series of chances in the second half as Newcastle edged towards a morale-boosting victory, but the mercurial Mr. De Bruyne’s arrival made all the difference.

They have 43 points to Liverpool’s 45 while Newcastle’s fourth successive defeat left them in 10th spot.

With City now set to enjoy a two-week break, Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland could also be back from a foot injury by the time they play in the league again in another boost to their prospects of a fourth successive title.

The 20-year-old Mr. Bobb showed that Man City may have another Norwegian diamond in their ranks.

He displayed superb footwork to control Mr. De Bruyne’s flighted pass and skip inside to beat Martin Dubravka for the winner.

Struggling Newcastle had an early goal by Sean Longstaff ruled out for offside and were furious after City’s opener, claiming that Mr. Gordon had been baulked by Ruben Dias at the other end of the pitch as he tried to sprint down the wing.

Their anger fuelled a stunning response with Isak latching on to Bruno Guimaraes’s first-time pass and bending a shot past Ortega. City’s high defensive line was exposed again when Mr. Gordon exacted revenge for his perceived injustice, turning Walker with ease and beating Ortega with a pinpoint finish.

Had Mr. Isak buried another chance shortly afterwards the outcome might have been different but Newcastle’s season is now crumbling in alarming fashion. — Reuters