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Champions League: Alvarez rescues City

Updated on: 21 September,2023 09:15 AM IST  |  Manchester

Argentina’s World Cup-winning star Julian’s brace helps Sky Blues register come-from-behind 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade at Ethihad Stadium

Champions League: Alvarez rescues City

Man City’s Julian Alvarez after scoring against Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

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Champions League: Alvarez rescues City

Julian Alvarez’s double saved Manchester City’s blushes as the holders began their Champions League defence with a 3-1 win after Red Star Belgrade took a shock lead at the Etihad on Tuesday. The visitors’ goal had been bombarded before they stunned Pep Guardiola’s men when Osman Bukari opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time.

However, Alvarez continued his sparkling early season form by levelling just two minutes after the break. The Argentine then got some help from Red Star goalkeeper Omri Glazer as he flapped at Alvarez’s free-kick to allow the ball to fly into the far corner. 

Rodri on target

Rodri rounded off the scoring with a composed finish 17 minutes from time. “If we scored two goals early in the beginning it would’ve been completely different,” said Guardiola, who was frustrated at his side’s finishing after having 22 shots in the first-half alone. 

“Having 22 shots on goal means you are playing really good. It has to be the responsibility of the people in front to score the goals.” Red Star were expected to be lambs to the slaughter after City followed up their treble success last season with a perfect start five games into the new Premier League campaign. But the English champions made life difficult for themselves, while Glazer performed heroics for the Serbian giants before the break. 

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Haaland fails to score

Erling Haaland has now failed to score in four consecutive Champions League games and was frustrated at himself after heading against the crossbar from point-blank range. Phil Foden then nodded an even easier headed opportunity straight at Glazer. City’s stretched squad due to injuries was shown as they named only eight of a permitted 12 substitutes, two of which were goalkeepers.

Doku replaces Silva

And Bernardo Silva had to be replaced just before half-time by Jeremy Doku in what could be another injury problem for Guardiola. Red Star had barely been out their own half in the opening 45 minutes, but City were stunned when Bukari burst in behind and finished confidently past Ederson.

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