Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Champions League: City cruise, Messi, PSG held at Bruges

Jack Grealish scored a beautiful goal on his Champions League debut as Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 6-3 to put the pain of losing last season’s final behind them.

City produced a stunning attacking display to overcome last season’s Bundesliga runners-up and get their Group A campaign off to a winning start.

Grealish, the British record £100m signing from Aston Villa, illuminated Etihad Stadium after cutting inside from the left before curling home to make it 4-2.

In an extraordinary game, Nathan Ake had put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead with a powerful header before a calamitous own goal by Nordi Mukiele doubled the lead.

City did not have things all their own way, however, and Mukiele made up for his error by playing a role in Christopher Nkunku’s goal to make it 2-1 before Riyad Mahrez restored the two-goal cushion with a penalty after Lukas Klostermann handled.

Nkunku gave RB Leipzig hope with a header only for Grealish to his score his second for the club with a delightful finish.

Former Paris St-Germain player Nkunku completed his hat-trick, but Joao Cancelo added a stunning fifth and substitute Gabriel Jesus a sixth to set City up nicely for their biggest test in the group away to PSG on 28 September.

PSG, meanwhile, failed to deliver the goods as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Club Bruges, despite summer acquisition Lionel Messi making his full debut.

Ander Herrera’s early strike was deservedly cancelled by Hans Vanaken, with Lionel Messi hitting the woodwork and forcing a second-half save as Mauricio Pochettino’s men were largely contained.

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