Teenage midfielder Cole Palmer scored his first Champions League goal as Manchester City produced a slick performance to secure a 5-1 win over Club Brugge in Belgium.
Full-backs Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker both found themselves on the scoresheet, the former scoring the first on the half-hour mark with a composed finish from Phil Foden’s pass.
Riyad Mahrez calmly tucked a penalty away before half-time and, soon after the restart, Walker got in on the action, drilling into the bottom-left corner after Kevin De Bruyne – playing in his home country – set him up.
Palmer struck within three minutes of coming off the bench, taking a neat touch before rifling a left-footed effort past Simon Mignolet from just inside the area.
While captain Hans Vanaken grabbed a late consolation for Brugge, a controlled outing for City was capped by Mahrez scoring his second of the night.
City started with plenty of intent, seeing two goals ruled out before full-back Cancelo opened the scoring with a centre-forward’s finish, taking Foden’s ball over the top on his chest and prodding through the legs of Mignolet.
There were ugly scenes as the Portugal international celebrated by the corner flag, with projectiles thrown towards him and his City team-mates by Club Brugge fans.
Stanley N’Soki tripped Mahrez just inside the box and the Algeria winger dusted himself off to take the spot-kick, which he slotted coolly into the bottom-left corner, sending Mignolet the wrong way to give the visitors a deserved 2-0 lead shortly before the break.
The third came eight minutes into the second half as City’s other full-back, Walker, made a smart run into the box and lashed a low effort across goal to finish off a neat team move.
De Bruyne was received warmly by the home faithful as Pep Guardiola replaced the Belgian with 19-year-old Palmer, and the substitute promptly added a fourth, lashing inside the left-hand post on 67 minutes after being found by Raheem Sterling.
Vanaken found the bottom-right corner to deny Ederson a clean sheet with nine minutes of normal time remaining, but Mahrez responded with City’s fifth just three minutes later, racing in behind and steering the ball into the top-right corner to round off the scoring, with Fernandinho getting the assist.
What does it mean? Pep’s City rack up the goals and look dangerous
City suffered a blow in their quest to finish top when they lost 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain on matchday two. However, last season’s Champions League finalists clicked into gear tonight and looked very impressive, despite losing their clean sheet towards the end.
This is the 19th time a Pep Guardiola side has scored five or more goals in a Champions League match, more than twice as many times as any other managers’ sides have done so (Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, eight).
Mahrez maintains strong record against Brugge
Mahrez’s composed penalty and late strike mean that the winger now has five goals in just three Champions League appearances against Club Brugge – his best record against a single opponent in the competition.
It is also a continuation of the Algerian’s excellent form in the Champions League, taking him to seven goals in his last seven appearances in the tournament.
Teen sensation Palmer grabs the headlines
Palmer has become only the third teenager to score in the Champions League for Manchester City after Foden and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Aged 19 years and 166 days, Palmer is the 10th youngest Englishman to score in the competition.
Key Opta Stats:
– Manchester City have won 35 of their 53 matches in the Champions League under Guardiola (D7 L11), with only Bayern Munich (39) winning more games in the competition since the Spaniard took over in 2016-17.
– Brugge have failed to win any of their last 13 matches against English sides in Europe (D3 L10) since beating Chelsea at home in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1995 – they have conceded 35 goals across those 13 games.
– Dating back to 2005-06, Brugge have won just one of their last 15 home matches in the Champions League (D6 L8).
– Cancelo has scored in two of his last three Champions League matches, netting as many goals as he managed in his first 30 appearances in the competition.
– Foden has six goals and six assists in the Champions League for Manchester City. The only player to provide more goals and assists under Guardiola in the competition before turning 22 is Lionel Messi (14 – nine goals and five assists).
City travel to for a tough test against Brighton and Hove Albion next in the Premier League on Saturday, while Club Brugge face Antwerp away from home.
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