Manchester City have overcome an early scare to get their Champions League defence off to a solid start, but manager Pep Guardiola says his side are now “in trouble” after Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva joined the club’s lengthy injury list.
Elsewhere, Barcelona cruised past Antwerp, and Kylian Mbappe helped Paris Saint-Germain to an opening win on a breathless beginning to the group stage of Europe’s top club competition on Tuesday.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
Newcastle marked their return to the competition for the first time in two decades with a battling goalless draw against AC Milan at the San Siro, and Lazio grabbed an equaliser deep in injury time to hold Atletico Madrid while nine-man Celtic endured a rough night in Rotterdam.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 19, 2023
In Manchester, Guardiola’s side were stunned when Red Star’s Osman Bukari opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time. But Julian Alvarez continued his sparkling early season form by levelling two minutes after the break.
The Argentine then got some help from Red Star goalkeeper Omri Glazer as he flapped at Alvarez’s free kick to allow the ball to fly into the far corner. Rodri rounded off a 3-1 win with a composed finish 17 minutes from time.
But City midfielder Silva was forced off before half-time, and the manager said the Portuguese playmaker “won’t be able to play for the next games”.
City are already without key players Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic due to injury.
The defending champions are next away to RB Leipzig, who share top place in Group E after a 3-1 win at Swiss champions Young Boys.
Barcelona keep up scoring form
In Catalonia, Joao Felix struck twice as Barcelona flexed their muscles with a crushing 5-0 win over Royal Antwerp to show their determination to be considered among Europe’s elite once again.
After consecutive humiliating group stage eliminations, Barcelona are desperate to go deep in this season’s competition, last winning it eight years ago.
The win lifted them top of Group H above Porto, who were 3-1 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk.
‘Almost perfect evening’ for PSG
At Parc des Princes, PSG may have lost Neymar and Lionel Messi over the summer, but they held onto Mbappe, who set them up for a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund.
The French champions went ahead four minutes after the break when Mbappe scored a spot kick awarded for a Niklas Suele handball.
Achraf Hakimi added a memorable second, and PSG could have won the Group F encounter by a far more handsome margin in the end.