Man City vs Red Star Belgrade LIVE: Champions League result as Julian Alvarez hits double in comeback win

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade: Alvarez scored twice after half time as the holders came from behind to begin their Champions League defence with three points

Michael Jones
Tuesday 19 September 2023 22:22 BST
Guardiola: Man City still have same approach to Champions League

Holders Manchester City recovered from falling a goal behind to outclass Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in their Group G opener with Julian Alvarez scoring twice at The Etihad.

Pep Guardiola's side dominated the opening period but were guilty of wayward finishing and trailed to a sucker-punch just before halftime as Osman Bukari broke clear to finish in style.

City began the game on a 26-match unbeaten run in Champions League home games and normal service was resumed almost immediately after the restart as Alvarez levelled after combining with Erling Haaland.

A misjudgement by Red Star keeper Omri Glazer allowed an Alvarez cross to go into the net on the hour and Rodri made it 3-1 with a clinical finish after 73 minutes as City made it 19 home wins in succession in all competitions.


Rodri’s attacking evolution is helping to fill Man City void

It was neither Rodri’s most significant Champions League goal of 2023 nor his most important strike of the season. And yet, as Manchester City began their defence of their continental crown, perhaps it was fitting that it was capped by a finish from the man who delivered the strike that secured their holy grail.

The scourge of Internazionale in Istanbul, Rodri finished off Red Star Belgrade in Manchester. He did so in style, too, exchanging passers with Phil Foden, embarking on a solo run and placing a shot in. It was an indication that the defensive midfielder, the man who has always amassed passes, has now started to trade in goals as well: four in nine games, going back to the Champions League final.

If some – April’s opener against Bayern Munich, the decider against Inter, the recent winner at Sheffield United – are signs of stature, of the capacity to seize the initiative, there is also evidence of a more attacking bent. If Rodri is getting forward more, it may be because he is finding his duties at the base of the midfield too easy. Or perhaps because, without Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, he recognises the need to compensate for the absence of two talismanic figures and has the ability to do so.

Rodri’s attacking evolution is helping to fill Man City void

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade: The scorer of the winning goal in the Champions League got another as Rodri sealed the opening win of their title defence

Mike Jones19 September 2023 22:13

FT Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

Mike Jones19 September 2023 22:03

Full-time! Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

90+4 mins: There goes the final whistle. Manchester City come from behind to defeat Red Star Belgrade in their opening Champions League group stage clash.

Pep Guardiola would have been frustrated after an opening 45 minutes that saw City waste chances and go behind but they rallied wonderfully in the second half and put the result beyond doubt.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:54

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

90 mins: Four minutes of added time to play at the Etihad Stadium. Can Erling Haaland get himself a goal?

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:51

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

88 mins: Doku switches the ball over to Rico Lewis on the right wing and he flies forward before underhitting a pass to Oscar Bobb and giving the ball away.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:48

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

85 mins: City win a corner that is swung onto the head of Nathan Ake who nods another effort at goal. This one is sent straight at the goalkeeper who plucks the ball safely out of the air.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:45

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

82 mins: Pep Guardiola makes a few changes now. Rico Lewis, Oscar Bobb and Kalvin Phillips come on to replace Phil Foden, Ruben Dias and Rodri.

Less than 10 minutes to play and City are cruising to victory.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:44

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

79 mins: Jeremy Doku has been moved out onto the left side where he played when he faced West Ham in the Premier League. He’s a direct runner and likes taking players on.

A shuffle of the feet and a shot at goal results in his effort being blocked inside the penalty but that won’t discourage him from another go if he gets the opportunity.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:40

Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

76 mins: Man City will now try to run up the score. They’ve gone through the gears in the second half, through necessity after Red Star scored first.

The match is done now and City will take all three points. The icing on the cake will be a goal for Erling Haaland.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:35

GOAL! Man City 3-1 Red Star Belgrade (Rodri, 73’)⚽️

73 mins: He’s looked hungry to score all night and now has his goal. Manchester City’s Rodri receives the ball just outside the penalty area and isn’t closed down by the Red Star defence.

Instead they drop off him and allow Rodri to bring the ball into the box. He coolly guides the ball into the far bottom corner unopposed and City have their third.

Mike Jones19 September 2023 21:34

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