Manchester City took nine points out of nine from their first three Champions League group stage fixtures of the season following victory in Bern on Wednesday night.
The reigning European Champions came out on top 1-3 in Switzerland against BSC Young Boys courtesy of a brace from Erling Haaland, and a goal for Manuel Akanji upon his return to his home country.
Young Boys fought well against a largely rotated Manchester City side that are now set to play in the Manchester derby at the weekend, with the Swiss giants putting Pep Guardiola’s defence to the test. However, it was not enough to keep out a penalty and a perfectly placed shot in the top corner from Erling Haaland as well as an easy tap-in from Manuel Akanji.
The first-half started a lot differently to how City are used to, with the home side taking the game to the Treble Winners. Young boys had a chance within the first minute forcing Ederson to punch the ball away. Shortly after and City had their first chance of their own as a corner from Matheus Nunes found Rodri but the Spaniard could only head wide.
City found their rhythm and began to dominate possession, creating chance after chance. Erling Haaland had two opportunities within a matter of minutes but the Young Boys defence stood in immense formation to stop the Norwegian. The second chance led to a sublime delivery from Jack Grealish that found Jeremy Doku who was unable to convert as he cut in and found himself surrounded by black and yellow shirts.
Just after the half hour mark, Grealish found himself in yet another position to strike from the edge of the box, only for Anthony Racioppi to parry the ball into the path of Matheus Nunes, but the midfielder was unable to score as his attempt on goal was cleared off the line.
The start to the second half was a lot more positive with a header from Ruben Dias rattling the crossbar, providing Manuel Akanji with an easy tap-in as he became the first Swiss player to score against a Swiss club in the Champions League.
However, the momentum rapidly changed as Young Boys keeper Racioppi played a ball out from the back which ultimately resulted in Meschack Elia going one-on-one with Ederson, sensationally lobbing the Brazilian to equalise.
Young Boys picked up momentum and the game became even with both sides having multiple counter-attacks. That was until a foul on Rodri inside the penalty box saw the referee blow for a penalty, slotted away cooly by Erling Haaland.
Substitute Julian Alvarez did not take long to get involved in the action after a one-two with Haaland saw the Argentine run in on goal and place the ball into the bottom corner. VAR was checked after a handball from Jack Grealish in the build up, and the goal was ruled out.
However, Erling Haaland sealed the match in the 86th minute cutting inside onto his right foot and comfortably placed the ball into the top right corner. It was a strong end to a rocky start to the match, but the reigning European champions ended the night with a 100% win rate in Europe so far.
With that being said, here are Five Things We Learned from the win in Switzerland!
Akanji scores on home soil
Manuel Akanji became the first Swiss footballer to score against a fellow Swiss side in the UEFA Champions League, volleying home from close range after an initial powerful header from Ruben Dias ricocheted off the crossbar into the path of the Manchester City man.
That was only Manuel Akanji’s second goal in a Manchester City shirt, since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022, with the first coming in the home fixture against Real Madrid in last seasons 4-0 triumph.
Haaland’s ‘goal drought’ is over
It is pretty harsh to call it a goal drought when he is the current top goalscorer in the Premier League and has as many goals as he has games already this season, but the last time Erling Haaland had scored in a Champions League match was in a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in late April.
Two goals against BSC Young Boys on Wednesday night is certainly a great way to start off his Champions League goal scoring campaign, as the so-called ‘Robot’ looks to help his side retain their European glory.
He’s one of our own
Rico Lewis has seen a lot of minutes already this season with Pep Guardiola gaining a lot of trust in the 18-year-old. The teenager has adapted to the inverted role which has seem him contribute all around the pitch a lot more than last season, where he was featuring at right-back.
The 18-year-old does not look a step out of place and has rightfully earned his place in the starting line-up in the odd match day and will be fighting for a place in much bigger fixtures throughout the season.
Three from Three
Manchester City continue their perfect start to this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign after their 1-3 victory over BSC Young Boys. Wins against RB Leipzig and Crvena zvezda also help the Blues put one foot into the knock-out stage.
The Blues are looking to become the first English side to retain their UEFA Champions League title since Nottingham Forrest in the late 1970’s.
Strong Performance from Young Boys
Despite rotation to the Manchester City side, there were not many doubts about Pep Guardiola’s players leaving Switzerland with all three points.
However, BSC Young Boys pushed the visitors to their maximum. The goal from Elia came as a surprise as they hit Manchester City on a rapid counter attack and slipped past the likes of Rodri, Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias to level the scoring.
Young Boys started off the game extremely dangerous and had multiple opportunities to open the scoring in the first half as well, issuing a crucial warning to Manchester City ahead of the reverse fixture in a fortnight’s time.
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