Table of Contents
This was easily the most dominating 90 minutes for the Citizens in any competition this season.
From the get-go it was clear Marseille’s strategy was to play defense and try to frustrate City.
Andre Villas-Boas put striker Dimitri Payet on the bench and employed five defenders to start the match.
Quickly City took advantage of the huge space in midfield with Kevin De Bruyne in fine form.
A few chances for City came to nothing in the early going.
In the 18th minute, De Bruyne’s centering pass found Ferran Torres who fired home the opening goal from close range.
Some sloppy defending from Marseille led to a great chance for Oleksandr Zinchenko who’s strike hit the outside of the post.
Into the second half, Marseille had a long-range effort from Florian Thauvin hit the outside of the post.
That’s really as close as the French side came to troubling Ederson in the City goal.
Sterling’s header across goal brushed off Torres before falling perfectly to Ilkay Gundogan for an easy tap in.
Five minutes later Sterling went from provider to goalscorer as substitute Riyad Mahrez spotted De Bruyne behind the Marseille defense.
The Belgian’s low cross found Sterling in front who fired home his first goal of this season’s Champions League.
On a Hot Streak
If there’s one player who’s thriving in the Champions League for Manchester City it’s Raheem Sterling.
The 25-year-old has been directly involved in 28 Champions League goals for City in 36 appearances under Pep Guardiola.
That’s more than any City player since 2016/17.
Man of the Match
In his first start since suffering an injury in the UEFA Nations League, Kevin De Bruyne showed once again why he’s the best player at his position.
He played a big part in both second-half goals for City, was solid in midfield finding a ton of cracks in the Marseille midfield with great vision and precision passing.
His assist on the Torres goal was his 87th in all competitions for City, that’s 18 more than any other midfielder in the Premier League since he debuted in September of 2015.
This is the third time in the last four Champions League campaigns that City have won their first two matches.
Marseille have lost 11 straight games in the Champions League.
At 20 years and 241 days old, Ferran Torres is the youngest Spanish player to score in three consecutive Champions League appearances.
Afterward, Pep Guardiola said, “we played really well, we didn’t concede much, we were under control, patient, aggressive without the ball, I am so satisfied for the performance, the victory, because winning away is difficult and we did it.”
While praising De Bruyne in his return the City boss also singled out a few players in defense for their performance.
“Ruben [Dias] and Aymeric [Laporte] were good, Kyle [Walker] is in the best form since we’ve been together in Manchester.”
What it means
This win puts Man City all alone at the top of their group with six points.
Both those teams are tied for second with 3 points each while Marseille is bottom of the group with 0 points from two games.
Matchday 3 for City is next Tuesday, November 3 when they host Olympiacos from Etihad stadium at 8 pm.
The next game for Guardiola’s men is Saturday on the road at Sheffield United at 12:30 pm. (JSL)