Back-up keeper Bravo produced the only save in the shootout to see Pep Guardiola’s side defend their Community Shield title after a 5-4 victory to yet again pip Jurgen Klopp’s side to a trophy by the slimmest of margins.
Just as in the Premier League title race last season, there was nothing to separate the two sides as the game ended 1-1 after goals from Raheem Sterling and Joel Matip in a real game of two halves.
City controlled the first half but Liverpool dominated the second with plenty of chances at both ends throughout – Sterling also missing a sitter while Kyle Walker produced a dramatic goal line clearance to deny Mohamed Salah a winner in the second half.
Sterling scored a scrappy opener in the first half as Man City had the better of the contest in terms of both possession and chances, to rightly lead at the break.
The nature of the goal will be of no concern to Sterling who finally managed to score against his former club at the 11th time of asking – perhaps benefitting from the game being at Wembley where he has flourished in front of goal.
The tables were turned in the second half as Liverpool dominated but could not level as they hit the crossbar and post with efforts, while Sterling fluffed his lines to miss a sitter to kill the game for City.
Liverpool deservedly drew level from an unexpected source as substitute centre back Matip nodded home from Virgil van Dijk’s cross.
Salah had a couple of excellent late chances to win the game, wasting a fine shooting opportunity by dragging a shot wide of the near post, before the most dramatic of clearances denied him a certain goal.
The Egyptian should have done better in truth with a one-on-one with Bravo, but after the ball rebounded up he nodded towards an empty net, only for Walker to come from nowhere with a flying bicycle overhead kick from under his own bar.
It summed up City’s hunger to win the game, despite being clearly second best in the second half, and after making it to penalties they put away their five spot kicks expertly.
Liverpool also took four excellent penalties but Wijnaldum’s second penalty for Liverpool was by far the worst of the ten and Bravo easily palmed it away to give the champions the advantage.
Gabriel Jesus then sealed a seventh successive domestic trophy for City
Community Shield Opta stats
- Manchester City have won the Community Shield for a sixth time and are the first side to retain the trophy since Arsenal in August 2015.
- Manchester City are the first side to win the Community Shield having won both the Premier League and the FA Cup in the previous season since Arsenal in August 2002 (beating Liverpool 1-0).
- Including penalty shootout defeats, only Manchester United and Chelsea (nine each) have ended up on the losing side on more occasions in the Community Shield final than Liverpool (seven – level with Arsenal).
- In all competitions, Man City have won just two of their last 13 meetings with Liverpool (D4 L7), however they are unbeaten in their last three games against the Reds (W1 D2).
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last eight games at Wembley Stadium since losing to Arsenal in the 2017 FA Cup semi-final (W6 D2), the longest ongoing such unbeaten run among club sides.
- Raheem Sterling’s opener for Manchester City was his first goal against his former side Liverpool in what was his 11th appearance against them across all competitions.
- Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in seven goals in his last four appearances for club and country at Wembley Stadium (six goals and one assist).
- Three of Joel Matip’s four goals for Liverpool have been scored in London (Selhurst Park, London Stadium, Wembley), with three of the four also coming from headers.
- Virgil van Dijk was dribbled past for the first time in his last 65 competitive appearances (by Gabriel Jesus) for Liverpool, since Mikel Merino did so for Newcastle in March 2018.