Manchester City won 4-1 over Club Brugge in the Champions League on match day four without ever coming out of second gear.
An early goal from Phil Foden was quickly interrupted by an own goal from John Stones, but additional City goals from Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus ensure maximum points for Pep Guardiola’s team.
As expected, City dominated the ball. Their lead was well deserved when it came, with Joao Cancelo already hitting the post. The foot was a live wire in the penalty area and ended from Cancelo’s cross after an intense moment by Citypress.
But City did not stay ahead very long. The Stones were not wiser when the ball was cannoned by him in the net to level Bruges, although he and his colleagues in the back four were all a bit too passive in the build-up, which allowed the situation to develop in the first place.
Passive is an appropriate way to describe much of the performance over an hour. At half-time, only one of nine shots from City had been on target. The crowd inside the Etihad Stadium was flat and no amount of beautiful touches and short passes could breathe life into the match.
It started to improve a bit as the second half progressed, with City regaining the lead when Mahrez at the back post met another Cancelo post. Not much earlier, Bruges had seen a good chance to go begging when Charles De Ketelaere went through and missed, emphasizing the importance of City’s second goal when it came.
The match was over like a competition when Sterling made it 3-1 shortly after coming off the bench, a simple insert in the sexyard box that had been created by Foden’s vision and Ilkay Gundogan’s run.
The home-grown young Cole Palmer could have scored four for City in the final stages, when he saw his low shot well shot away by the well-known Simon Mignolet in Bruges’ goal. Jesus was also denied a late opportunity to extend the lead, but took one more in stoppage time to complete the place.
Joao Cancelo got a hat trick with assist / Naomi Baker / GettyImages
Ederson (GK) – 6/10 – Didn’t have much to do but the distribution was excellent.
Kyle Walker (RB) – 5/10 – Lacked intensity when Brugge equalized.
John Stones (CB) – 5/10 – Unhappy in his own way but should have defended the situation generally much better.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 5/10 – Another who was too passive at the back.
Joao Cancelo (LB) – 8/10 – Inalienable at the moment. Started by hitting the post himself and assisted on three of City’s four goals.
Ilkay Gundogan’s runs in second half injured Bruges / Chloe Knott – Danehouse / GettyImages
Rodri (DM) – 6/10 – Easy night in ball possession when Brugge was prepared to let City have the ball and play on counterattack.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 7/10 – Looked eager to try to make something happen and got sharper as the game progressed.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 7/10 – Intelligent, well-timed runs forward in the second half made City’s attacking threat much sharper than it had been.
Phil Foden got the ball rolling for Man City / Chloe Knott – Danehouse / GettyImages
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 7/10 – Made a nod at the far post to restore his team’s lead at an important moment.
Phil Foden (ST) – 7/10 – Intelligent movement as the provisional “number nine” and was awarded his fifth goal of the season. Carpentryed up the Brugge defense to create City’s third goal.
Jack Grealish (LW) – 5/10 – Not enough of a meaningful effect.
Raheem Sterling scored from the bench / Clive Brunskill / GettyImages
Gabriel Jesus (LW) – 6/10 – Played all over the front when he came in and will be happy with his late goal.
Raheem Sterling (RW) – 6/10 – A simple goal but showed good movements to offer a more consistent threat than it would have been without him.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 6/10 – Got in after getting off early last time.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – 6/10 – Crucial minutes under the belt.
Cole Palmer (ST) – 6/10 – Saw the urge to impress and could have scored.
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