Raheem Sterling took centre stage last night as the blues fought back from a goal down to thrash Atalanta 5-1 on matchday 3 of the Champions League. Ruslan Malinovskyi had given the visitors the lead, only for a Sergio Aguero double to put City in front. Sterling then took over, hitting three in elven minutes before Phil Foden was sent off for a second bookable offence. The match also saw City suffer another injury blow as Rodri was substituted in the first half.
It was another statement of City Champions League credentials, as the blues secured their third win to send them four points clear at the top of the table, and victory in the return leg in Italy will see the blues qualify for the last sixteen stage.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though as the Champions League debutants took the game to City and took a surprise lead after Fernandinho’s clumsy challenge upended Josep Ilicic, and Malinovskyi converted the resulting penalty.
But like a red rag to a bull, that goal only fired City forward and hey were level inside six minutes, and it was Sterling that was involved. His cross was met by the Argentine, who fired home, then converted a penalty won by Sterling four minutes later to send the blues 2-1 up at half time.
The England winger, so often criticised in the past for his lack of goals, then took over. De Bruyne found Foden in the area, and the youngster could have scored himself, but unselfishly passed to Sterling in a better position for the 24 year old to slam home.
Six minutes later, and Sterling was at it again, this time taking Ilkay Gundogan’s pass, before cutting inside the defender and firing home. And just five minutes later, Riyad Mahrez’s cross was met by Sterling to make it 5-1 to the blues. The England man could have had a fourth shortly after, but put his shot wide of the mark.
But sadly, the night didn’t end well for Phil Foden. On 76 minutes, the home grown talent was harshly judged to have fouled Malinovskyi and was booked for the challenge, and just six minutes later was shown his first red card of a promising career.
Final score: City 5-1 Atalanta