Rodri came up with another big goal for Manchester City, scoring in the 88th minute to secure the champions a 2-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday and a third straight victory to open its Premier League title defense.
After Erling Haaland responded to missing a first-half penalty by breaking the deadlock in the 63rd, it looked like City would be dropping points in a game it dominated when a mistake by captain Kyle Walker gifted Jayden Bogle an unlikely 85th-minute equaliser.
Walker made amends by winning the ball back on the right wing and crossing to Phil Foden, whose miscontrol went straight to Rodri and the midfielder made no mistake with a fierce left-foot shot into the top corner.
Rodri was the scorer of City’s winner in the Champions League final last season and has already scored twice this campaign, having netted at Burnley in the opening round.
City is the only team with a maximum of nine points so far.
City, and specifically Haaland, endured a frustrating afternoon at Bramall Lane until the Norway striker’s opener, with a physical Sheffield United team defending deep and ruggedly.
A 36th-minute penalty — awarded for a handball against John Egan that blocked Julian Alvarez’s cut-back — was City’s first real chance and Haaland wasted it by dragging it against the post, with goalkeeper Wes Foderingham diving the other way.
The game continued to be one-sided in the second half, with Haaland shooting wide from Walker’s cross and then seeing a deft chip clawed away by Foderingham in the 61st.
City manager Pep Guardiola — watching the match in Barcelona as he recovers from back surgery — might have been feeling uncomfortable at that stage but Haaland delivered in the end like he usually does.
Jack Grealish stood up a cross from the left and Haaland nodded in at the back post, breathing a huge and ostentatious sigh of relief after doing so.
A City fan got onto the field and jumped on the back of Haaland after the goal, the striker’s third already this campaign after 36 in the league last season. Haaland laughed it off and the supporter was escorted away.
Walker, a former Sheffield United player, made a silly error for the equaliser by deciding to backheel the ball into play in his own area. He got it all wrong as the hosts regained possession and the ball found its way to Bogle, who drove a low finish across goalkeeper Ederson Moraes.
Rodri came to the rescue, though, and City has now beaten Burnley, Newcastle and Sheffield United so far to be assured of a two-point lead after three games.
Juanma Lillo took charge of City in the absence of Guardiola.
Cash double helps Villa to 3-1 win at Burnley
Defender Matty Cash scored twice in the first half as Aston Villa won 3-1 at Burnley to continue its winning run.
Cash, playing his 100th match for Villa, was the unlikely hero as he scored for the first time for over a year in Villa’s third straight victory in all competitions since the 5-1 thrashing at Newcastle United on the opening day of the season.
The Poland international put the visitor in front in the eighth minute as he turned in a looping Ollie Watkins cross at the end of a swift counter-attack.
Cash doubled the lead 12 minutes later, steering home Moussa Diaby’s cutback to complete a slick move.
Belgian defender Hannes Delcroix, who was signed from Anderlecht this month, had a debut to forget in Burnley’s back line but did well to deny Diaby with a well-timed interception.
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley began the second half on the front foot and was rewarded with a goal in the 47th minute as Lyle Foster outmuscled Pau Torres in the area and rifled his shot past Robin Olsen.
In a frenetic 10 minutes after the goal, Burnley had several chances to equalise, with Olsen keeping out a goal-bound Delcroix header, but Villa weathered the storm.
As Burnley continued to commit bodies forward in its hunt for a leveller, Villa struck again in the 61st minute through Diaby, who slotted home from the edge of the area.
Watkins and substitute Nicolo Zaniolo spurned late golden opportunities but Villa coasted to a second league win and provisionally climbed to sixth in the standings.
Burnley’s second straight loss left it down in 18th, though it has played only two games after last week’s fixture at Luton Town was postponed due to stadium works at Kenilworth Road.
Burnley travels to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup on Wednesday and Villa hosts Hibernian in the second leg of a Europa Conference League playoff tie on Thursday. Villa won the first leg 5-0.
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