Manchester City put on a dominant display of slick passing and movement to rout Club Brugge 5-1 on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Following its loss to Paris Saint-Germain last month, Pep Guardiola’s team recovered in style, making things look easy against opponents who were overwhelmed from the start and were forced to defend throughout the match.
City has six points from three games, two more than Brugge, which slumped to its first Group A defeat. PSG was playing last-place Leipzig in the group’s other match Tuesday.
Led by an excellent Phil Foden in a false No. 9 role, City pressed hard up the pitch at Jan Breydel stadium and was rewarded with first-half goals from Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez. Kyle Walker, substitute Cole Palmer — on his tournament debut — and Mahrez with his second of the night completed the scoring after the interval.
“They have so much quality. They scored five goals but could have added more,” Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet said. “It was the first time in years that we played such a talented team in the Champions League. They make you pay for every little mistake.”
Under huge pressure from Jack Grealish down the left flank and pegged back in their own half, the Belgian hosts were forced to focus on the defensive work as City went close to taking the lead twice in the opening 15 minutes.
City found the net in the 13th but Rodri’s goal from close range was canceled for an offside position and Foden dragged his shot wide into the side-netting in the next minute.
The visitors relentlessly built attacks and broke the deadlock near the half-hour mark after Foden found Cancelo with a chipped pass over Brugge’s defense. Cancelo chested down the ball and beat Mignolet with a subtle poke between the keeper’s legs.
City doubled its lead in the 43rd minute after Stanley Nsoki fouled Mahrez with a clumsy tackle inside the box. The Algeria international converted from the spot into the bottom left corner, sending Mignolet the wrong way.
City continued its high pressing game after the interval, finding space at ease down the flanks. Walker made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute from Kevin De Bruyne’s clever pass between two defenders.
Guardiola’s coaching paid off in the 67th minute as substitutes Raheem Sterling and Palmer combined well to create City’s fourth goal. Sterling set up the 19-year-old on the edge of the box and Palmer finished off the move with a brilliant curled kick into the net.
Hans Vanaken scored a consolation goal to salvage pride for the hosts in the 82nd minute and Mahrez capped City’s win from close range.