Club Brugge 1, Manchester City 5 (UEFA Champions League)
A twin strike by Riyad Mahrez, and goals by Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker, Cole Palmer saw Manchester City beat a feisty Club Brugge side with both fullbacks getting on the scoresheet.Embed from Getty Images
Hans Vanaken scored a consolation for Club Brugge on a night when City could have racked up a far higher score in Belgium with another highly rated youngster getting on the scoresheet.
It was the 19th time that a Pep Guardiola side had hit five or more goals in a Champions League match – more than twice as many as any other manager with Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides only managing 8 each.
Kevin de Bruyne was given a warm welcome by City’s Belgian hosts before he played his first club game in Belgium since 2012 but he was just one of many stars who shone for City in their game against Brugge.
Phil Foden continued his fine recent form, and although he could have got on the scoresheet himself in a wasteful opening period for City, he delivered a pinpoint looping pass from midfield onto the chest of Cancelo who nutmegged Mignolet from six yards out to give City a deserved lead just when it looking like profligacy might cost them again.
Mahrez doubled City’s lead shortly before half time from the penalty spot after he was fouled in the area by Stanley Nsoki.
The Algerian helped City make the game safe after the break when he cut the ball back to De Bruyne who put Kyle Walker clean through for City’s third goal after 53 minutes.
With City cruising and a tricky game at the weekend at Brighton on the horizon Pep Guardiola started ro rest players.
And Just 2 minutes and 20 seconds after Raheem Sterling and Palmer came on they both combined to score City’s fourth goal of the night with the England winger putting the ball into the path of Palmer who became the 10th youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League with a curling strike reminiscent of many of his goals this season from the edge of the box.
Palmer, who scored a hat trick for the EDS team soon after coming on as a late substitute for the senior team in their 2-0 win over Burnley at the weekend – also became the third teenager to score for City in the Champions League after Foden and Kelechi Iheanacho at the age of 19 years and 166 days.
Charles de Ketelaere, named pre-match as the pretender to De Bruyne’s crown as King of Belgium, tested Ederson before Hans Vanaken pulled one back for Brugge when he sent a deflected right wing cross past the City keeper as City started to ease down.
But City restored their lead late on after Sterling had his chances to score but still looked tentative in front of goal so with six minutes to go, Mahrez swept the ball home to hit his second of the game – and his 6th goal in hs last 7 Champions League games – after a direct pass from Fernandinho deep in midfield released him.
MATCH STATS – Club Brugge 1, Manchester City 5 (UEFA Champions League)
Club Brugge: Mignolet, Mata, Hendry, N’Soki (Mechele 79), Sobol, Sowah (van de Brempt 56), Rits (Vormer 56), Balanta (Mbamba-Muanda 68), Lang, Vanaken, De Ketelaere (Dost 79)
Club Brugge subs not used: Lammens, Maouassa, Ricca, Izquierdo
Booked: Mata, N’Soki, Balanta
Goal: Vanaken 81
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte (Ake 57), Cancelo (Palmer 65), Rodri (Fernandinho 71), Bernardo Silva (Gundogan 57), Mahrez, Foden (Sterling 64), Grealish
Man City subs not used: Carson, Steffen, Jesus, Zinchenko
Goals: Cancelo 30; Mahrez 43, 84; Walker 53; Palmer 67
Referee: Istvan Kovacs