In what was their ninth straight UEFA Champions League win at the Etihad, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side dismantled Belgium champions, Club Brugge, 4-1.
After a difficult past week for City, tonight's UEFA Champions League clash against Club Brugge provided a great opportunity for the Premier League champions to take one step closer to qualification into the next round. A sold-out Etihad Stadium were present to see their side come out victorious.
As a result of scoring zero goals in their last two games, Guardiola opted to change the line-up from Sunday and perhaps had Saturday's Manchester derby in mind too.
Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, and Ruben Dias all were dropped to the bench with Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and John Stones all coming into the starting eleven.
As you would expect, City started with the majority of possession creating few minor chances in the opening encounters. Current Etihad Player of The Month, Bernardo Silva's volley was blocked from just inside the area, Phil Foden was unable to convert from Joao Cancelo's through ball.
The opener came 14 minutes in, Jack Grealish played Cancelo in behind the defence. The 27-year-old struck the ball first time, looping over Simone Mingolet the ball looked to find the far corner but hit the post. Nevertheless, City sustained the attack and the ball found its way back over the Cancelo, he whipped the ball across the face of goal with his left foot to Foden who was presented with an open net - City have never lost when the academy graduate has scored.
Two minutes later, Brugge got their equaliser in rather freakish circumstances. Initially, poor defending from City's back four allowed the Belgium side to cross towards Charles De Ketelaere who headed down to Hans Vanaken but his shot from close-range was saved by Ederson. The attack wasn't done there, though – after the re-bounded an attempted cross was blocked by Silva then onto Stones' face and into the back of the net. Very unlucky, but preventable to begin with for City.
After the second goal went in, all the excitement and energy fizzled out until the second half. Club Brugge actually controlled the ball, for periods, more than City but struggled to create anything.
Eight minutes into the second 45, City took the lead again. Mahrez's cross missed everyone in the box but ended up at Cancelo's feet. The Portuguese right-back playing left-back checked back inside, onto his right-foot and curled the ball back over Mahrez who headed into an empty net to restore the hosts' lead.
City then got a third, just over 15 minutes later. In typical City fashion, Foden slipped the ball into Gundogan, who captained City this evening. The German midfielder squared the ball across the box with his weaker left foot and in doing so gave substitute Raheem Sterling an open goal, which he couldn't miss. That's only Sterling's second goal this season after he has seemingly fell out of favour in Guardiola's side.
Just before the final whistle, substitute Gabriel Jesus added a fourth. Another City substitute, Cole Palmer, teed the ball for Cancelo who was steaming down onto the Brugge defence before he slotted in Jesus for his 18th Champions League goal - all for Manchester City.
Ederson (6) Walker (6) Stones (6) Laporte (6) Cancelo (9) Rodri (7.5) Gundogan (8) Bernardo Silva (7) Grealish (6) Foden (7.5) Mahrez (8)
Subs: Jesus (8), Sterling (8), De Bruyne (7), Palmer (7), Zinchenko (6)
Although City were once again impressive going forwards tonight, in the Champions League, the defence looked suspect. Brugge had a few good chances to add to their tally of once and probably should have scored when the game was tied at 1-1.
No disrespect to Brugge, but against a higher quality of opposition City would have been punished for some of their sloppy defending and with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co at the weekend, United's forward line will have been licking their lips at some of City's play tonight. Things need to improve, defensively, ahead of Saturday's derby.
Last seasons finalists now only need one point from their final two games, PSG (H) and RB Leipzig (A), to qualify into the Round-of-16.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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