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Pep Guardiola salutes Bernardo Silva after his stunning goal against Aston Villa

City of Manchester Boss Pep Guardiola hello match winner Bernardo Silva after his stunning goal sealed victory at Aston Villa

The striker’s sensational volley and Ruben Dias opener gave City a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Ollie Watkins equalized for the home side, who kept the champions struggling in the second half, but they could not find someone to level the gap.

Bernardo Silva scored a stunning goal for Manchester City (Bradley Collyer/PA)

(PA wire)

City are second in the Premier League, one point behind Chelsea and one point away from Liverpool and Guardiola praised Bernardo for helping them maintain the pace.

He said: “He is the best. He was the best two or three seasons ago. At that time he was also the best. He has a special ability to do whatever he wants with the ball. Against such a good goalkeeper it was an unbelievable finish.

“You have to go back to the time when we won with 98 points, watch the videos, you immediately see a player like this.

“To come here in the face of this opposition, I am really impressed with who they are, and being able to beat them is an incredible step forward for us.

Jack Grealish has a mixed reception on his first return to Aston Villa (Bradley Collyer/PA)

(PA wire)

“The important thing is there (at the top). We had a very difficult first part of the tournament, we were one point behind. What’s important is the way we’re performing, the way we’re performing is a high level.”

Jack Grealish also returned to Villa Park for the first time since his £100m move as a late substitute and was well received by the home fans.

“He gave us what we needed. He is perfect. His touches are a new quality and every time he holds the ball, he doesn’t lose the ball,” added Guardiola.

City dominated in the first half and Dias had a well-deserved opening goal when he shot in from Raheem Sterling after 27 minutes.

Villa struggled with the visitors’ pass and could not produce a shot before Bernardo scored safely two minutes before the break.

Ollie Watkins’ goal means a tough second half for Manchester City (Bradley Collyer/PA)

(PA wire)

It was another target to add to City’s scrapbook under Guardiola as Riyad Mahrez and Joao Cancelo escaped danger at the edge of their area and found Fernandinho.

His first pass made it clear for Gabriel Jesus to pass for Bernardo, who volleyed brilliantly into the top corner from 18m.

Villa needed a reaction and got a goal in the second minute of the second half when Watkins cornered Douglas Luiz’s corner wide wide of the post.

It brought confidence to the home team and Steven Gerrard’s side improved significantly, refusing to let Man City win.

Jesus should have done better than interrupting after controlling Bernardo’s cross before Ederson secured the point in the 15th minute.

Steven Gerrard suffers first defeat as Aston Villa manager (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA wire)

Emi Buendia slipped in the situation of Carney Chukwuemeka, who could only beat the opponent’s goalkeeper but shot too close, causing the Brazil international to change direction.

“In terms of the second half, I think we were excellent. We scared City off because we were so close to taking something away from the game,” said Gerrard after his first defeat in charge.

“It was a great response from the players and I told them not to leave this stadium with their heads bowed.

“Man City have started very well, we have to respect what we are playing but I think we fell a bit behind in 10-15 minutes.

“I want to prove to my supporters that I am the right person and with hope and faith we can move forward and have good and successful memories together. It’s an acid test and a true reflection of where we are and where we want to be. ”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-bernardo-silva-jack-grealish-aston-villa-manchester-city-b1968143.html Pep Guardiola salutes Bernardo Silva after his stunning goal against Aston Villa

JACLYN DIAZ

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