Manchester City kicked off their 2022/23 Champions League in perfect fashion by cruising to a 4-0 win against Sevilla away from home.
Erling Haaland scored another two goals – his 11th and 12th for the club in only eight appearances – while Phil Foden also got in on the action with a fine strike in an excellent overall performance from the England international. Ruben Dias made it four in stoppage time.
City dominated from the early stages of the match, with Sevilla struggling to put together much of anything. But the quality from the visitors was also tellingly lacking during that period – Kevin De Bruyne’s radar seemed slightly askew and others couldn’t quite nail the final ball.
That all changed 20 minutes in when De Bruyne did get it right, sending a fierce low ball across the six-yard box that was met by the outstretched endless leg of City’s red hot Norwegian number nine.
Half an hour in, De Bruyne himself rippled the outside of the net with a curling free-kick that had Sevilla goalkeeper Bono worried enough to fly across his goal.
Sevilla, having hardly created anything for nearly 40 minutes, saw a glorious chance to equalise in the closing stages of the first half when Papu Gomez blazed over to the right of the six-yard box.
The hosts had some renewed vigour straight after half-time after a double substitution from Julen Lopetegui, although it took an outstanding one-on-one save from Bono to stop De Bruyne from doubling City’s advantage on a rapid counter attack.
That brief response was killed when Foden did make it 2-0, stroking a perfect effort into the bottom corner after being fed by Joao Cancelo.
Substitute Ilkay Gundogan soon thought he had made it three for City from close range, only to see an offside flag raised, but the flag stayed down for Haaland’s second of the night, pulling away from the Sevilla defenders and pouncing on a rebound from Foden’s saved shot for an easy goal.
City could have been forgiven for dropping their intensity at 3-0 up, but still they continued to swarm around Sevilla players to win the ball back at every opportunity.
Sevilla’s disappointing performances was summed up by it taking 82 minutes for their first shot on target, an effort from former Liverpool and Milan winger Suso that was easily saved by Ederson.
Substitutes Cole Palmer and Julian Alvarez both went close to getting City’s fourth in a stoppage time melee, the former denied by a sprawling Bono save and the latter a goal line clearance. Instead, that honour went to Dias, whose tap in was impossible to miss after a delightful cross from Cancelo.
GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Not busy by any stretch of the imagination. His biggest test was racing out to clear a short back pass.
RB: Joao Cancelo – 8/10 – Almost played like an extra winger he was that far forward most of the time. Registered an assist.
CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Controlled things at the back, which was probably a factor in his new partner doing well. Finished things off with a goal.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Making his City debut and will be pleased with his performance. Looked assured and slotted in pretty seamlessly.
LB: Sergio Gomez – 7/10 – Impressed on his first start or the club. Will face tougher defensive tests than he got here of course.
CM: Rodri – 7/10 – Pushed really high to try and win the ball back and misplaced only one pass all night.
CM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Good all-round performance in the centre of the pitch. Did both sides of the game well.
RM: Phil Foden – 9/10 – Had the vision to play in De Bruyne to assist Haaland’s breakthrough goal. Scored the excellent second himself and it was his shot that Haaland rebounded for the third.
AM: Kevin De Bruyne (c) – 8/10 – Took a little time to get his eye in but was soon pulling Sevilla apart.
LM: Jack Grealish – 6/10 – Only last an hour on his return from injury, although created chances and will see it as a positive comeback.
ST: Erling Haaland – 9/10 – Another two goals. Are you even surprised? That’s now 12 in all competitions this season already.
SUB: Ilkay Gundogan (62′ for Grealish) – 6/10
SUB: Cole Palmer (70′ for Foden) – 6/10
SUB: Julian Alvarez (70′ for Haaland) – 6/10
SUB: Riyad Mahrez (78′ for De Bruyne) – 5/10
SUB: Kalvin Phillips (78′ for Rodri) – 7/10
Coach: Pep Guardiola – 7/10 – Good team selection initially and didn’t hesitate to pull his starters once the game was wrapped up.
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