Pep Guardiola was happy as his Manchester City started their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 3-1 comeback victory over Porto on Wednesday evening.
After more Champions League heartache at the end of last season, Pep Guardiola’s side kicked off their 2020/21 European journey without a number of first-team regulars, including star man Kevin De Bruyne and central defender Aymeric Laporte.
With City fresh off the back of a comfortable 1-0 win over Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal at the weekend, confidence was high, yet the hosts were quickly on the backfoot when after 14 minutes Luis Diaz’ superb solo effort put the away side in the ascendancy. That lead lasted just six minutes, however, as Sergio Aguero netted from the penalty spot after former Real Madrid man Pepe recklessly brought down Raheem Sterling in the box.
Despite not quite being at their scintillating best the home side’s quality was still too much for their opponents, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan putting his side ahead midway through the second period with a delightful free-kick that curled into the top left-hand corner. That lead was soon extended as substitute duo Phil Foden and Ferran Torres combined to devastating affect, the latter rifling home after some fine footwork in the box.
That 3-1 victory may have somewhat flattered the hosts, yet Guardiola felt it was a positive start in the competition for his side and that despite the potential threat of the opposition, his team had controlled the game
“The last 10-15 minutes of the first half and the start of the second we played well,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) October 21, 2020
“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 set pieces or counter attacks so we controlled the game.
“Here in 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.
“Teams that set up with lots back you have to wait for your moment. We adjusted a little something at the end of the first half. We spoke about being patient, we had to be patient and at the right moment attack them, so we let them run.”
City face a trip to the London Stadium on Saturday to face an in-form West Ham United side in the Premier League.