Manchester City crushed RB Leipzig 6-3 in a thrilling UEFA Champions League Group A game on Wednesday as Christopher Nkunku scored a hat-trick for the German side.
It was a hugely entertaining match at the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, will be happy with the three points for the 2020/2021 season’s runners-up.
He will however be concerned about the spaces his team left for the German side to exploit on the break.
Nkunku became only the fourth player to score a UEFA Champions League treble and end up on the losing side.
He deserved his player of the match award though, as RB Leipzig showed real spirit to keep fighting back against Manchester City’s impressive firepower.
Defender Nathan Ake put Manchester City ahead in the 16th minute with a header from a Jack Grealish corner-kick and the hosts doubled the lead 12 minutes later.
This was when Kevin De Bruyne produced wonderful skill to leave three defenders for dead before his deep cross was headed into his own net by RB Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiele.
RB Leipzig got back in the game with a 42nd-minute header from Nkunku, only for Manchester City to restore their two-goal advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Lukas Klostermann was ruled to have handled after the referee went to the pitchside monitor to check the incident and Riyad Mahrez blasted home the spot-kick.
Leipzig were not deterred, though, and Nkunku reduced the deficit again in the 51st minute by heading in a cross from the excellent Spanish midfielder Dani Olmo.
Grealish then delivered a wonderful solo goal to mark his first European club appearance.
He collected the ball on the left flank and jinked inside before giving Peter Gulacsi no chance with a curling shot into the far corner.
That was surely that, the Manchester City fans could be forgiven for thinking.
But, once again, French forward Nkunku kept the game alive, completing his hat-trick with a crisp drive after being set up by Yussuf Poulsen.
Incredibly, Manchester City responded immediately with an unstoppable long-range drive from Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo.
Any hopes the visitors had of a comeback ended when they went down to 10 men, after former Manchester City full-back Angelino was sent off in the 79th minute.
Substitute Gabriel Jesus added the sixth from close range five minutes from time and the home crowd were delighted with the display of Grealish, in front of his England manager Gareth Southgate.
“I loved it,” Grealish said of his first taste of the competition.
“I’ve been waiting a while. The past few weeks, I couldn’t wait for this game. It’s a great night.
“It was one of those games. It had absolutely everything. In the end we’re delighted to get the win against a good team full of energy and young players,” he said.
Manchester City lead the group on three points after Paris St-Germain (PSG) were held to a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their opening game.(Reuters/NAN)