Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 11:03 PM• Lars Capiau • Last update: 23:45

Manchester City has won the first Champions League match of the season. At home against Red Star Belgrade, coach Pep Guardiola’s team missed chance after chance in the first half, after which they surprisingly found themselves trailing 0-1 at halftime. In the second act the Citizens get your affairs in order quickly. Through Julián Álvarez (twice) and Rodri, the team eventually built up to a 3-1 victory.

Guardiola made a few changes for his first Champions League match against Manchester City as reigning title holder. Compared to the 1-3 win against West Ham United last weekend, the Spaniard formed two striking names. Sergio Gómez took the place of top signing Josko Gvardiol and formed the defense together with Nathan Aké, Kyle Walker and Rúben Dias. Matheus Nunes replaced Jeremy Doku, moving Bernardo Silva forward one spot. Erling Haaland, of course, led the front line, with Álvarez playing behind him.

After about fifteen minutes the first feat took place the Citizens. After a good pass from Silva and a strong dribble from Rodri, the latter aimed at goalkeeper Omri Glazer, who reflexively turned the ball into a corner. After 25 minutes of play, Haaland was very close to scoring. Phil Foden’s pinpoint cross landed perfectly on the Norwegian’s head, but his header crashed onto the crossbar. A few minutes later, Aké headed towards the bottom corner from a corner, but his effort was also saved by Glazer. Haaland clearly did not have his sights on focus in the first half, as he also blasted Gómez’s withdrawn cross high.

Just minutes before half-time, Foden missed the biggest chance of the match. A free header from the young Englishman from less than five meters away was headed straight at the excellent Glazer, who parried with a quick reflex. However, just before half time, Red Star Belgrade took the lead against all odds. In a lightning-fast counter, Mirko Ivanic launched the fast Osman Bukari, who shot the ball behind Ederson. The goal was disallowed for offside, but after a VAR intervention, Bukari was still allowed to celebrate his goal: 0-1. Immediately after half-time, Manchester City erased the deficit. Álvarez opened up well, played Haaland in, after which the Norwegian beautifully found the Argentinian again. He rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty goal: 1-1.

Five minutes later, Walker immediately thought he had taken the lead, but his goal was, this time correctly, disallowed for offside. Standout in the first half Glazer made a nasty mistake shortly afterwards. The goalkeeper tried to box the ball away from Álvarez’s free kick, but was completely missed. He then tapped the ball into his own goal: 2-1. After another attempt by Haaland, which Glazer tapped against the post, Rodri made the final score 3-1. The Spaniard placed the ball in a controlled manner in the bottom corner after a nice dribble.