Manchester City made a winning start to their 10th attempt at winning the Champions League after fighting back to beat Porto.
The Portuguese champions took a surprise early lead but Sergio Aguero quickly levelled from the spot and second-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan and substitute Ferran Torres gave City victory.
This was not a vintage performance from Pep Guardiola’s side, who were sloppy in possession in dangerous positions, especially early on, but they were in full control by the time their opening game in Group C was over.
City had not even managed a shot at goal when they fell behind in the 14th minute, after a poor pass by Ruben Dias allowed Matheus Uribe to start a Porto attack.
Uribe found Colombian forward Luis Diaz, who was allowed to cut inside from the left and run virtually unchallenged into the City box before beating Ederson with a low shot.
City were not behind for long, however, with Aguero given the chance to equalise from the spot after Gundogan hit the post and Pepe clumsily took out Raheem Sterling as he chased the rebound.
Porto were unhappy with the decision, claiming Gundogan had stepped on goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin in the build-up, but the penalty stood and Aguero blasted home his 40th Champions League goal.
There were further chances for the visitors before the break, with Kyle Walker having to clear Sergio Oliveira’s shot off the line.
But they were much less of a threat in the second half, which was when City began to exert some authority in midfield.
The chances were hardly flowing for Guardiola’s men either, but Gundogan showed a touch of class to bend in his free-kick over the wall from the edge of the area and give his side the lead.
By now City were on top and Torres made certain of victory seconds after replacing Aguero, playing a neat one-two with fellow substitute Phil Foden and curling his shot home.
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Aguero ends goal drought
It is only 67 days since City’s defeat against Lyon in the delayed quarter-finals of last year’s competition, and that disappointment must be fresh in Guardiola’s mind.
His side made a sluggish start here too, but in the end he will have seen plenty to improve his mood – notably the end of Aguero’s goal drought.
The prolific Argentina striker had gone 230 days without scoring before converting his penalty, the longest spell of his illustrious career.
Aguero had missed a large portion of that spell through injury, before making a return to action against Arsenal last weekend.
His fitness and form is surely key to City success, especially with their only other senior striker Gabriel Jesus sidelined, and it must be reassuring for Guardiola to see him back among the goals.
The bad news for City? Another injury
The only cloud for City was to see another player – substitute Fernandinho – injured and forced off himself before the end.
Fernandinho had been a particularly vocal supporter of his side from the stands during the first half but they will not want him to have to stay there for a long period.
With a busy schedule ahead, they are already without their talisman Kevin de Bruyne as well as Jesus, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy and Aymeric Laporte.
Uefa regulations allow clubs to name 12 substitutes for each Champions League game, but it was telling that City had two keepers – Zack Steffen and Scott Carson – on their bench.
‘We had to be patient’
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to BT Sport: “This is a good start for us and the next step we go to France to get the second one. At set-pieces they were strong. By the second half we didn’t concede anything on set-pieces or counter-attacks so we controlled the game.
“Here in the Champions League is an opportunity to play five substitutions and the ones that came on made incredible contribution. We had decided before the goal [to substitute Gundogan] but he made an incredible goal.
“We spoke about being patient, we had to be patient and at the right moment attack them, so we let them run.”
What’s next? A trip to France
City head for the south of France next Tuesday, 27 October, to play Marseille in their second game in Group C, at the same time as Porto entertain Olympiakos (both 20:00 GMT kick-offs).
Before then, Guardiola’s side travel to London to face West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday (12:30).
Player of the match
with an average of 7.26
Squad number21Player nameTorres
Squad number47Player nameFoden
Squad number10Player nameAgüero
Squad number8Player nameGündogan
Squad number25Player nameFernandinho
Squad number20Player nameBernardo Silva
Squad number2Player nameWalker
Squad number7Player nameSterling
Squad number26Player nameMahrez
Squad number31Player nameEderson
Squad number3Player nameRúben Dias
Squad number16Player nameRodri
Squad number5Player nameStones
Squad number27Player nameJoão Cancelo
Squad number50Player nameGarcía
Squad number7Player nameDíaz
Squad number32Player nameSarr
Squad number19Player nameMbemba
Squad number1Player nameMarchesín
Squad number8Player nameUribe
Squad number12Player nameSanusi
Squad number11Player nameMarega
Squad number17Player nameJM Corona
Squad number50Player nameFábio Vieira
Squad number27Player nameSérgio Oliveira
Squad number18Player nameWilson Manafá
Squad number3Player namePepe
Squad number9Player nameTaremi
Squad number31Player nameNanu
Squad number10Player nameNakajima
Squad number30Player nameEvanilson
- 2WalkerBooked at 28mins
- 3Rúben Dias
- 50GarcíaBooked at 67mins
- 27CanceloBooked at 36mins
- 20Bernardo SilvaBooked at 34mins
- 16RodriSubstituted forFernandinhoat 85′minutesBooked at 90minsSubstituted forStonesat 90+4′minutes
- 8GündoganSubstituted forFodenat 68′minutes
- 10AgüeroSubstituted forTorresat 68′minutes
- 17JM CoronaSubstituted forChipela Gomesat 77′minutes
- 3PepeBooked at 84mins
- 32SarrSubstituted forde Lima Barbosaat 80′minutes
- 12SanusiSubstituted forNakajimaat 77′minutes
- 50VieiraSubstituted forTaremiat 77′minutes
- 7DíazSubstituted forManafá Jancóat 55′minutes
- 4Monteiro Pinto Leite
- 18Manafá Jancó
- 21Silva Baró
- 28Felipe Anderson
- 30de Lima Barbosa
- 31Chipela Gomes
- 99Meireles Costa
Match ends, Manchester City 3, FC Porto 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester City 3, FC Porto 1.
Substitution, Manchester City. John Stones replaces Fernandinho because of an injury.
Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Evanilson (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Phil Foden (Manchester City).
Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Fernandinho replaces Rodrigo.
Pepe (FC Porto) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Rodrigo (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Agustín Marchesín.
Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
Substitution, FC Porto. Evanilson replaces Malang Sarr because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Moussa Marega (FC Porto) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Mateus Uribe.
Substitution, FC Porto. Mehdi Taremi replaces Fábio Vieira because of an injury.
Substitution, FC Porto. Nanu replaces Corona.
Substitution, FC Porto. Shoya Nakajima replaces Zaidu Sanusi.
Goal! Manchester City 3, FC Porto 1. Ferran Torres (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Phil Foden.
Foul by Rodrigo (Manchester City).
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