Manchester City continued their perfect start to the Champions League group stage with a comfortable victory at Marseille.
The visitors dominated from the outset, with Ferran Torres opening the scoring after Kevin de Bruyne got in behind the Marseille defence and squared for a tap-in.
Oleksandr Zinchenko clipped the outside of a post with a neat strike from the edge of the box as City pushed to get a second before half-time.
Marseille rarely troubled Ederson in the City goal. Nemanja Radonjic’s speculative effort from 30 yards was easily saved, while Florian Thauvin hit the outside of a post after the break, although Ederson had it covered.
As the hosts tired, City stepped up a gear and wrapped up the win in style as Ilkay Gundogan stabbed in from Raheem Sterling’s knockdown before Sterling tapped home from another De Bruyne assist.
Victory means City are top of Group C with six points from two games and on course for qualification to the knockout stage.
Their next Champions League game is at home to Olympiakos on Tuesday, 3 November.
No strikers? No problem
City have been unfortunate with injuries to their strikers this season, with Sergio Aguero this week joining Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines.
City have not had both first-choice forwards available for any of their nine games in all competitions, and on only four occasions have they had one fit striker.
It prompted manager Pep Guardiola to experiment against Marseille with winger Torres handed a central attacking role on his first start in the Champions League for the club, with Phil Foden and Sterling on either side.
The experiment paid off, the trio providing an energy in attack that the five-man Marseille defence struggled to deal with, while De Bruyne was once again pulling the strings from just behind the front three.
After Torres’ goal, it took a while for City to put the game to bed, with the two late goals adding the gloss that their performance deserved.
While the loss of City’s two main strikers is a blow, this game not only highlighted that they can still score goals in their absence but also further underlined the importance of De Bruyne.
City became more effective when he came off the bench in the 1-1 draw against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday, and he was again the heartbeat of the side as he finished this game with two assists.
‘We are improving’ – what they said
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: “Sometimes we are not good enough and sometimes the players of the opposing team are better than us. That is life.
“Today, with the social media, when you lose you are a complete disaster. The important thing is for the club to be stable and the players to know what we are doing, where we come from, where we are struggling and be calm.
“It is important to start the Champions League with two victories. We are close now to being in the last 16 but still we are just in the beginning, improving.”
Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas: “It was a tough match to play and we paid for our mistakes, but we didn’t defend too deep and my players were exceptional.
“The second goal was a real blow for us as we were starting to turn things around. In the first half, we had trouble getting through the City press, and a bad pass led to them being 1-0 up.”
Torres strike makes history – the stats
- Manchester City have won their opening two matches in the Champions League group stage for a third time in the past four seasons (also 2017-18 and 2019-20), while they are unbeaten in 13 matches in the group stage.
- City’s opening goal was their 600th under manager Pep Guardiola in all competitions. They have scored 117 more goals than any other Premier League side since Guardiola took charge in August 2016.
- City’s Ilkay Gundogan scored in consecutive Champions League appearances for the first time, with Tuesday’s game his 54th appearance.
- For a fifth time in their past six participations in the Champions League, Marseille have suffered defeat in their first two group games (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2020-21).
- Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 28 Champions League goals in 36 appearances under Guardiola (18 goals, 10 assists), more than any other City player since 2016-17.
- Since his debut for City in September 2015, Kevin de Bruyne has assisted 88 goals in all competitions, 19 more than any other Premier League player in that time.
- City’s Ferran Torres became the youngest Spanish player to score in three consecutive appearances in the Champions League, aged 20 years and 241 days.
City travel to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday (12:30 GMT).
Player of the match
De BruyneKevin De Bruyne
with an average of 8.19
Squad number26Player nameThauvin
Squad number22Player nameGueye
Squad number30Player nameMandanda
Squad number15Player nameCaleta-Car
Squad number3Player nameGonzález
Squad number4Player nameKamara
Squad number5Player nameBalerdi
Squad number8Player nameSanson
Squad number7Player nameRadonjic
Squad number18Player nameAmavi
Squad number2Player nameH Sakai
Squad number21Player nameRongier
Squad number9Player nameBenedetto
Squad number17Player nameCuisance
Squad number10Player namePayet
Squad number17Player nameDe Bruyne
Squad number47Player nameFoden
Squad number7Player nameSterling
Squad number3Player nameRúben Dias
Squad number21Player nameTorres
Squad number2Player nameWalker
Squad number8Player nameGündogan
Squad number14Player nameLaporte
Squad number31Player nameEderson
Squad number16Player nameRodri
Squad number26Player nameMahrez
Squad number80Player namePalmer
Squad number27Player nameJoão Cancelo
Squad number20Player nameBernardo Silva
Squad number11Player nameZinchenko
Squad number5Player nameStones
- 2H Sakai
- 15Caleta-CarBooked at 71mins
- 18AmaviBooked at 62mins
- 21RongierSubstituted forSansonat 64′minutes
- 17CuisanceSubstituted forGueyeat 85′minutes
- 26ThauvinSubstituted forPayetat 78′minutes
- 7RadonjicSubstituted forBenedettoat 78′minutes
- 11de Lima
- 3Rúben Dias
- 14LaporteBooked at 58minsSubstituted forStonesat 77′minutes
- 11ZinchenkoSubstituted forCanceloat 68′minutes
- 8GündoganSubstituted forBernardo Silvaat 78′minutes
- 17De BruyneSubstituted forPalmerat 82′minutes
- 21TorresSubstituted forMahrezat 77′minutes
- 20Bernardo Silva
Match ends, Marseille 0, Manchester City 3.
Second Half ends, Marseille 0, Manchester City 3.
Foul by João Cancelo (Manchester City).
Hiroki Sakai (Marseille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rodrigo (Manchester City).
Darío Benedetto (Marseille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Manchester City. Phil Foden tries a through ball, but Cole Palmer is caught offside.
Substitution, Marseille. Pape Alassane Gueye replaces Michaël Cuisance.
Offside, Manchester City. Rodrigo tries a through ball, but Cole Palmer is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester City. Cole Palmer replaces Kevin De Bruyne.
Goal! Marseille 0, Manchester City 3. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.
Substitution, Marseille. Darío Benedetto replaces Nemanja Radonjic.
Substitution, Marseille. Dimitri Payet replaces Florian Thauvin.
Substitution, Manchester City. Bernardo Silva replaces Ilkay Gündogan.
Substitution, Manchester City. John Stones replaces Aymeric Laporte.
Substitution, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez replaces Ferran Torres.
Goal! Marseille 0, Manchester City 2. Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a headed pass.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Hiroki Sakai.
Duje Caleta-Car (Marseille) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Offside, Manchester City. Kevin De Bruyne tries a through ball, but Raheem Sterling is caught offside.
- New – The Rap Game UK: The search for a new British rap star is on
- MOTDx is back: The very latest on fashion, music and culture from the Premier League