Manchester City begin Champions League title defence with a confident win

Manchester City welcomed Red Star Belgrade to the home of the European Champions in the opening night of the Champions League 23/24.

Guardiola went with a strong line up, as always. While the opposition lacked Champions League experience, the Blues oozed it.

Unsurprisingly, Manchester City dominated possession and had some excellent early chances.

The first opportunity came from Rodri. He displayed great strength to get his shot off before Alvarez linked up nicely with Foden, only to see his shot saved.

While the chances kept coming for the Blues, Red Star kept thwarting them.

Haaland rocked the crossbar following an inch perfect cross from Foden. While chance after chance was created and Ake saw a header saved, the Blues struggled to convert.

The Red Star Belgrade keeper was having the game of his life.

During the earlier stages, the opposition lacked attacking threat. However, there was clear intent to catch City on the break.

Worryingly, Bernardo Silva was hooked with what looked like an injury before being replaced by Doku.

A shocker came just before halftime when Red Star Belgrade opened the scoring. The goal was initially deemed offside, however he was kept on by Dias and basically ran through free on goal.

The European Champions went into the break a goal down despite being unbeaten at the Etihad in the Champions League for five years.

Second half

The Blues came back out following halftime with no changes made and probably had an ear bashing from Pep. And it worked. Within just two minutes, Alvarez and Haaland linked up again.

As Rodri passes the ball through midfield to Alvarez, he takes a touch and turn bringing the Norwegian into play. Haaland then threads it back to Alvarez who finishes the move beautifully.

Manchester City continued to create chances and seemed more clinical as Walker saw a goal ruled out for a marginal offside.

However, a wonderful free-kick goal from no other than Alvarez and then a Rodri special put the Blues 3-1 up.

Despite over 30 shots, the score line flattered the opposition. While the goal keeper made some blinding errors, he had it out for Haaland and said “you shall not pass”.

With Manchester City cruising, we saw Phillips, Lewis and Bobb replace Rodri, Dias and Foden – presumably to rest them ahead of the weekend.

Overall, a solid and professional performance from the European Champions. Starting their Champions League title defence with a win.

Tags Champions League Julian Alvarez Manchester City Pep Guardiola Rodri