Cole Palmer grabbed his first Champions League goal as Manchester City produced a scintillating attacking display to beat Club Brugge 5-1 at the Jan Breydel Stadium.
Heading into the game, there was an element of pressure hanging over Pep Guardiola’s side following their 2-0 defeat at PSG last month. Club Brugge started the game one point ahead of the Premier League champions, but any pressure was quickly relieved as the visitors secured a 2-0 advantage going into the break thanks to Joao Cancelo’s strike (30) and Riyad Mahrez’s penalty (43).
Their dominance continued after the break as Kyle Walker finished another fine City move in the 53rd minute before Palmer made an instant impact from the substitutes’ bench.
The 19-year-old was only on the pitch for two minutes before scoring his first Champions League goal with a fine left-footed finish into the bottom corner (67).
Club Brugge finally had something to cheer late on when Hans Vanaken grabbed a late consolation (81) but it was the only blemish for City, who added a late fifth as Mahrez grabbed his second of the game (84) to put the finishing touch on a near-perfect night for Guardiola and his side as they look to secure top spot in Group A.
City were quick out of the blocks and low crosses from Phil Foden and Cancelo just evaded Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish respectively.
The visitors also had the ball in the back of the net on two occasions through Grealish and Rodri but both times the goals were ruled out – the first for a foul by Grealish on Clinton Mata before Aymeric Laporte was flagged offside after teeing up Rodri for a tap in.
There was no let up from Guardiola’s side and more chances went begging as their final ball let them down on numerous occasions, but that all changed on the half hour mark.
Foden’s inch-perfect through ball released Cancelo, who showed great composure to hold off Kamal Sowah’s challenge before poking the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
City extended their advantage just before the break when Mahrez was felled by Stanley Nsoki’s late lunge inside the penalty area, and the Algeria international picked himself up off the turf to send Mignolet the wrong way and double his side’s advantage at the break
There was no let up from City in the second half as Walker put the finishing touch on another fine move after being played in by De Bruyne.
With his side three goals to the good it allowed Guardiola to ring the changes, but their dominance continued with Palmer producing a moment he will never forget.
After combining with fellow substitute Raheem Sterling, the youngster produced a fine left-footed finish to beat Mignolet for just his second City goal.
The home fans did eventually get something to cheer when Vanaken swept home from close range with just under 10 minutes remaining, but it proved to be only a consolation and there was even time for City to respond.
Mahrez raced onto Fernandinho’s long ball over the top before putting the exclamation mark on City’s big win.