The positives to start with. This was actually quite an important victory for Manchester City, for RB Leipzig present the biggest obstacle to their progression from the group.
Jack Grealish sumptuously capped his first European night – the sort of occasion that made up his mind to leave Aston Villa. City’s supporters also appeared more engaged with the Champions League than before.
Now the other stuff. Pep Guardiola will wince when he watches this back. Less football, more basketball. Christopher Nkunku left with a hat-trick, City in danger of dropping points on opening night and 110 days after last season’s final.
Jack Grealish scored on his European debut to help Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 6-3 in the Champions League groupsInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
English football's £100m player curled in a wonderful effort into the top corner to help Pep Guardiola's side onto victory
MAN CITY (4-3-3): Ederson 6; Cancelo 7, Dias 6, Ake 6, Zinchenko 6; De Bruyne 7.5 (Foden 71min, 6), Rodri 6.5 (Fernandinho 59, 6), Bernardo Silva 7 (Gundogan 59, 6); Mahrez 7, Torres 6.5 (Sterling 72), Grealish 8.5.
Scorers: Ake 16, Mukiele (own goal) 28, Mahrez (pen) 45+2, Grealish 56, Cancelo 73, Jesus 85.
Manager: Pep Guardiola 6.5.
RB LEIPZIG (4-2-3-1): Gulacsi 5; Mukiele 5, Klostermann 5, Orban 5, Angelino 6.5; Adams 5.5, Laimer 6 (Haidara 60min, 6); Nkunku 9 (Gvardiol 81), Olmo 7 (Brobbey 72), Forsberg 7 (Szoboszlai 61, 6); Andre Silva 6 (Poulsen 60, 6). Scorer: Nkunku 42, 51, 73. Booked: Klostermann, Adams, Angelino.
Sent Off: Angelino 79.
Manager: Jesse Marsch 6.
Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (Holland) 7. Attendance: 45,000.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
That would have come against a Leipzig team that has lost three of its first four Bundesliga matches and despatched by Bayern Munich at the weekend.
Yet they came away with victory regardless as Grealish and Ruben Dias both recorded different firsts.
Within weeks of his arrival from Benfica last year, word filtering out of the City Football Academy was that Dias appeared a readymade captain. There were those who felt Dias, who had instantly transformed Guardiola’s back line, represented an absolute certainty to form part of the team’s five-man leadership group this season.
The players and staff took that ballot this week and sure enough, Dias secured more than enough votes to become third in command, behind only Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan. With both on the bench last night, Dias took the armband ahead of the returning Kevin De Bruyne.
Dias was coy about the prospect when interviewed by Sportsmail earlier this year, almost bashful, but the desire to be handed greater responsibility was obvious.
When younger, his barking of orders has, on occasion, irked peers who felt that his vocality was for show. Staff at the Benfica academy had to teach him to only communicate with those within his immediate sphere – fellow defenders and central midfield – and over time, Dias has been moulded into an obvious captain.
It was his partner who kickstarted City’s season in Europe though. Nathan Ake had not been afforded a single minute of action since defeat at Tottenham a month ago, yet was given a chance here by virtue of injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.
But when Jack Grealish’s purposeful 16th-minute corner arced into an area to attack, Ake would not be beaten. With a free run at the grounded Willi Orban, Ake powered a header which Peter Gulacsi could only palm onto the bar and over the line.
Nathan Ake headed City into the lead after beating Peter Gulacsi at a corner from close-range at the Etihad Stadium
The opener came from a set piece but owed much to City’s sharpness in midfield, a crisp urgency that had lacked. Guardiola had appeared a picture of exasperation