Manchester City produced a breath-taking display and youngster Phil Foden ran the show as the blues cruised to a 5-1 victory over Club Bruges.
Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez gave the blues a 2-0 half time lead, which was added to in the second half by strikes from Kyle Walker and Cole Palmer, before Mahrez scored his second of the match late on.
The match had been stated as vital for City, after the blues were defeated 2-0 by PSG last month. Bruges had beaten RB Leipzig to leapfrog the blues into second place, and defeat in Belgium would have made group qualification a more difficult task for City.
But the faithful need not have worried, as City turned in an excellent display to move within one point of the French group leaders, who visit Manchester in late November.
City were slick and dominated the Belgian outfit from the outset, although it did take 30 minutes for the first goal to arrive. And when it did, it was very much worth the wait.
Phil Foden, who covered every blade of grass on the pitch, showed his worth when he played a sublime pass to release Cancelo. The Portuguese defender took Foden’s ball on the chest and produced a centre-forward finish that club legend Sergio Aguero would have been proud of.
It was nothing more than City deserved after an outstanding 30 minutes that could, and maybe should have produced more than the one goal.
However, City’s attacking intent was rewarded again two minutes before the interval. A good move on the edge of the Bruges area, with some lovely one-touch football, ended when Mahrez was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Mahrez, who buried a penalty against RB Leipzig in September, dusted himself off and fired home to make it 2-0 to City. Considering City’s problems from the penalty spot last season, it was good to see Mahrez’s precision spot kick hit the back of the goal.
City didn’t let up after the break and went 3-0 up 8 minutes into the second half. Again, City’s quick football was a joy to behold. Mahrez, on the right wing, passed to Kevin de Bruyne, who controlled with one touch, and his second played in the other full-back Walker. The England man’s first touch took it away from the defender, before firing across the keeper to make the game safe.
Yet more was to come from City. A flowing move from defence saw Raheem Sterling released on the left, and his ball into the middle found Palmer on the edge of the box. The youngster took a touch to create space, before unleashing a curling left foot shot beyond the keeper to score his first Champions League goal, just two minutes after coming on as substitute.
It was a stunning finish from the youngster, who showed calm and composure in front of goal on Europe’s big stage, and once again proved Guardiola’s management of Academy stars.
The blues had a host of chances after the goal, with Sterling and Jack Grealish missing opportunities, the latter going for glory when Palmer was unmarked and waiting to put the ball into the back of the goal.
Bruges gave their fans something to cheer when Hans Vanaken turned home a Vormer cross to prevent Ederson from keeping a clean sheet on his return.
City then resumed parity three minutes later as Mahrez beat the offside trap, took a touch into the area, and slammed the ball into the top corner.
It was a rampant display from the blues, who now move up to second place in the table, just one point behind PSG. A win against the Belgian side at the Etihad in November will put City five put clear of Bruges and on the edge of group qualification.
Final score: Club Bruges 1-5 Manchester City