5-star Manchester City dismantle Club Brugge – Club Brugge 1-5 Manchester City Review
Manchester City were back to their best as they beat Belgium side, Club Brugge, 5-1 in their UEFA Champions League clash this evening.
The importance of tonight's game wasn't understated by City fans, with all calling for Pep Guardiola to name his strongest XI and he did certainly just that.
After City's defeat in Paris and Brugge's unbeaten start to the group, it was crucial City took all three points back to Manchester to ensure they still had control on advancing to the knock-out stages.
As soon as the whistle went, City were outstanding. In typical Guardiola fashion, the Premier League champions moved the ball with both elegance and grace but with a strong sense of control too.
Before their first goal, City actually had the ball in the back of the net twice but both were called back for prior offences. The first one was disallowed after a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick was squared back across goal courtesy of Aymeric Laporte, Rodri tapped into an empty net but play was brought back after Laporte was given offside.
Jack Grealish too had the ball over the line, however, his was brought back after he fouled his marker.
Guardiola finally got their first thanks to right-back, playing left-back, Joao Cancelo. You wouldn't be laughed at for thinking he was a striker, judging how he poked the ball through Simone Mingolets' legs after a fine ball over the Club Brugge defence from Phil Foden.
City's second came just five minutes before the break, Stanley Nsoki dived in on Riyad Mahrez, inside the box, and gave a penalty away. Mahrez stood up and scored the penalty into the bottom left-hand corner. 2-0 to City at half-time and deservedly so.
The away side started the second-half just like they ended the first - with a goal. De Bruyne plays the ball through the middle of two Club Brugge defenders and the steam-train like Kyle Walker found himself on the end of it and struck across goal, into the bottom left-hand corner, for his first-ever Champions League goal, to make it 3-0.
A few changes later and City grabbed their fourth. Substitutes, Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer combined in what was a great goal. Sterling laid the ball off for Palmer, who took one touch to steady himself and the second to caress the ball into the far corner. What a past few days it's been for the City youngster.
Despite being 4-0 down, the home side were really pushing to give their fans something to celebrate. They came close after Ederson made a great save from Charles De Ketelaere's header, but eventually got their goal in the 81st minute. The side from Belgium played some good football down City's left and, just like City often do, squared the ball across goal to Hans Vanaken who beat Ederson. That's his third Champions League goal this season.
Nevertheless, not shortly after Guardiola's side got their fifth and Mahrez's second. The Algerian was played in behind by Fernandihno and rather calmly waited for Minoglet to come out before just slotting past him for City's final goal.
Ederson (7) Cancelo (8) Dias (7) Laporte (6) Walker (8) Rodri (8) Bernardo (7) De Bruyne (7.5) Mahrez (8.5) Foden (8) Grealish (7)
Substitutes: Ake (6) Gundogan (6) Palmer (8) Sterling (7) Fernandihno (7)
City were very impressive this evening, especially going forwards, but they needed that performance and this now puts them in good sted for the group stage.
Guardiola once again proved, he can work without the need for a 'typical number 9'. His side were so fluid in possession and it was so enjoyable to see but perhaps in bigger and tougher games, City won't be able to afford some of the missed chances they wasted and the need for that 'out and out goalscorer' is still there, a strange thing to suggest after a 5-1 victory.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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