In an exhilarating Champions League opener, Manchester City faced unexpected hurdles against Red Star Belgrade, but eventually secured a 3-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
The defending champions demonstrated their resilience as they fought back from a shocking first-half setback to claim all three points.
The Unexpected Setback
The game began with Manchester City relentlessly attacking Red Star’s goal.
The visitors’ defense was under constant siege, but it was Red Star who delivered the initial shock.
Osman Bukari found the back of the net in first-half stoppage time, stunning Pep Guardiola’s men.
Julian Alvarez emerged as the savior for Manchester City.
Just two minutes into the second half, the Argentine midfielder leveled the score.
Alvarez’s early-season brilliance continued as his free-kick took a fortuitous deflection off Red Star goalkeeper Omri Glazer, finding the far corner of the net.
Rodri’s Composed Finish
With the score level, the tension in the stadium was palpable.
Manchester City needed someone to step up, and it was Rodri who answered the call.
The Spanish midfielder secured the victory with a composed finish, slotting the ball into the far corner 17 minutes from time.
Red Star’s Resilience
Red Star Belgrade, initially expected to be outmatched, displayed remarkable resilience.
They held their ground during City’s relentless attacks before Bukari’s offside goal was overturned by VAR, keeping their hopes alive.
Erling Haaland may not have found the back of the net himself, but his clever pass set up Alvarez for the equalizer.
Haaland’s presence in the team was pivotal in orchestrating City’s comeback.
Despite conceding three goals, Red Star goalkeeper Omri Glazer put in a heroic performance.
He made crucial saves, including stopping attempts from Rodri and Alvarez, and had City’s attackers frustrated.
City’s Squad Challenges
Manchester City faced additional challenges due to injuries, evident in their limited substitutes and an early substitution of Bernardo Silva due to a potential injury.
Guardiola’s stretched squad had to dig deep to secure the victory.
What You Should Know
In a rollercoaster of a match, Manchester City overcame a surprising setback to launch their Champions League defense with a 3-1 win against Red Star Belgrade.
Alvarez’s heroics, Rodri’s composed finish, and Haaland’s influence were pivotal in securing the victory.
Despite their challenges, City demonstrated their determination to maintain their status as one of Europe’s top clubs.