Manchester City thumps Marseille 3- 0 away from home. The visitors dominated from the outset, with Ferran Torres opening the scoring after Kevin de Bruyne got in behind the Marseille defence and squared for a tap-in. Manchester City continued their perfect start to the Champions League group stage with a comfortable victory at Marseille.
Oleksandr Zinchenko clipped the outside of a post with a neat strike from the edge of the box as City pushed to get a second before half-time.
Marseille rarely troubled Ederson in the City goal. Nemanja Radonjic’s speculative effort from 30 yards was easily saved, while Florian Thauvin hit the outside of a post after the break, although Ederson had it covered.
As the hosts tired, City stepped up a gear and wrapped up the win in style as Ilkay Gundogan stabbed in from Raheem Sterling’s knockdown before Sterling tapped home from another De Bruyne assist.
Victory means City are top of Group C with six points from two games and on course for qualification to the knockout stage. Their next Champions League game is at home to Olympiakos on Tuesday, 3 November.
No strikers? No problem
City have been unfortunate with injuries to their strikers this season, with Sergio Aguero this week joining Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines. City have not had both first-choice forwards available for any of their nine games in all competitions, and on only four occasions have they had one fit striker.
It prompted manager Pep Guardiola to experiment against Marseille with winger Torres handed a central attacking role on his first start in the Champions League for the club, with Phil Foden and Sterling on either side.
The experiment paid off, the trio providing energy in attack that the five-man Marseille defence struggled to deal with, while De Bruyne was once again pulling the strings from just behind the front three. After Torres’ goal, it took a while for City to put the game to bed, with the two late goals adding the gloss that their performance deserved.
While the loss of City’s two main strikers is a blow, this game not only highlighted that they can still score goals in their absence but also further underlined the importance of De Bruyne.
City became more effective when he came off the bench in the 1-1 draw against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, and he was again the heartbeat of the side as he finished this game with two assists.
Torres strike makes history – the stats
- Manchester City have won their opening two matches in the Champions League group stage for a third time in the past four seasons (also 2017-18 and 2019-20), while they are unbeaten in 13 matches in the group stage.
- City’s opening goal was their 600th under manager Pep Guardiola in all competitions. They have scored 117 more goals than any other Premier League side since Guardiola took charge in August 2016.
- City’s Ilkay Gundogan scored in consecutive Champions League appearances for the first time, with Tuesday’s game his 54th appearance.
- For a fifth time in their past six participations in the Champions League, Marseille have suffered defeat in their first two group games (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2020-21).
- Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 28 Champions League goals in 36 appearances under Guardiola (18 goals, 10 assists), more than any other City player since 2016-17.
- Since his debut for City in September 2015, Kevin de Bruyne has assisted 88 goals in all competitions, 19 more than any other Premier League player in that time.
- City’s Ferran Torres became the youngest Spanish player to score in three consecutive appearances in the Champions League, aged 20 years and 241 days.
Source – BBC News