Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored in the second half as Man City picked up a reasonably comfortable Champions League victory over Club Brugge.
Pep Guardiola got an effective response after his team had lost to West Ham and Crystal Palace in their previous two outings. The Citizens ended up 4-1 winners at the Etihad, although they did not have it all their own way.
The tone for the match seemed to be set just eight minutes in. City began to dominate possession, while their opponents put ten men behind the ball.
The game soon sprung into life as Jack Grealish sent Joao Cancelo through on the left. He lifted a delightful shot over Brugge keeper Simon Mignolet and was unlucky to see it hit the post.
City kept the ball after that effort and did well to recycle the chance. Mahrez showed off some nice footwork in the box before playing in Cancelo. He put in a dangerous cross which Phil Foden tapped home from just yards out. There was an initial VAR check, but the Englishman was clearly onside.
However, City’s lead did not last long as Brugge finally got some men up the pitch two minutes later. Belgian starlet Charles De Ketelaere headed into the path Hans Vanaken, who challenged Ederson with a good strike.
The Brazilian shot-stopper pushed it wide but De Ketelaere did not give up on the opportunity. He sent the ball back into the box and it went in after deflections off Bernardo Silva and John Stones.
17' Stones OG
Manchester City had barely finished their celebrations before Club Brugge had equalised with a bizarre goal.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 3, 2021
Brugge clearly found some confidence from the equaliser and started to trouble the reigning Premier League champions. Winger Noa Lang got in behind Cancelo on a couple of occasions but his side could not convert.
De Ketelaere then sent a powerful left-footed drive towards goal which was saved by Ederson.
Shortly after the break, Grealish came in off the left to play in Mahrez. The Algeria international had a shot on his right foot but saw it blocked by Mignolet.
De Ketelaere was causing problems again in the 54th minute. He got in behind Stones and Aymeric Laporte but dragged his half-volley wide of the mark.
Mahrez gets eighth goal of the campaign
City went straight up the other end and took the lead again through Mahrez. The winger’s initial cross was wasted, but Cancelo kept it alive and whipped a ball to the back post. Mahrez was on hand to head past Mignolet and put his team 2-1 up.
Guardiola then decided to change things around in search of more goals. Sterling replaced Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus came on for Grealish.
Sterling got on the scoresheet just minutes later. Foden sent Ilkay Gundogan racing into the box with a great through ball. The German midfielder pulled it across for Sterling, who simply could not miss.
Guardiola then brought Silva off for Belgium star Kevin de Bruyne, perhaps with an eye towards Saturday’s Manchester derby.
Mignolet did well to keep out substitute Cole Palmer late on but was beaten again in stoppage time. Brazil international Jesus sent a first-time effort into the far corner.