Manchester City concluded their 2023/24 Group Stage campaign with a 2-3 victory over Crvena zvezda, courtesy of goals from Micah Hamilton, Oscar Bobb and Kalvin Phillips.
Pep Guardiola granted a chance to four academy players in Belgrade, with Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb scoring sentimental goals, matching another impressive outing by Rico Lewis on the night, before Mahamadou Susoho was substituted from the bench.
City closed off their Group Stage campaign, earning the maximum points from Group G, whilst extending their unbeaten run to 20 games in European competitions.
It was a fluid start to the game from the away side, with the heavily rotated City squad maintaining their principles, moving the ball swiftly and looking sharp in the opening exchanges.
After 19 minutes of possession, debutant Micah Hamilton blew us all away. Driving into the Crvena zvezda penalty area and beating the defender with skill, before lashing it past the goalkeeper to give City the lead. A special moment for the academy graduate.
Manchester City had the chance to quickly double their advantage, as a driving run from Nunes this time saw the ball at the feet of Hamilton, who fired the ball across, just evading an outstretched Oscar Bobb.
The ball eventually came out to Kalvin Phillips, who fired his effort well wide, as the last action of the first-half.
The brilliance of the Manchester City academy was evidenced again on the hour mark, as Oscar Bobb followed in the footsteps of Hamilton with a special goal, weaving through three defenders before slotting the ball past the goalkeeper, doubling City’s lead.
Red Star managed to break the seemingly impenetrable defence after 75 minutes, as Hwang picked up the ball in the penalty area and fired it past Stefan Ortega, halving the deficit.
However, their belief was short lived, when the explosive Hamilton broke through two challenges before being dragged down for a penalty, which Kalvin Phillips expertly converted.
Red Star managed to grab a consolation goal, heading home from a corner on the 90-minute mark, but it wouldn’t be enough to earn a result.
Here’s how we rated the players’ performances following the 2-3 victory in Belgrade!
Ortega Moreno – 8
Some tidy footwork and a couple of important stops.
Rico Lewis – 8
It was a night for academy graduates, with Rico Lewis showcasing his class yet again away from home in Europe, picking up an assist for City’s second.
John Stones – 7
Some crucial minutes for John Stones, who seems to be back to full fitness following his long spell on the sidelines.
Manuel Akanji – 7
A comfortable evening until the Crvena zvezda goal for Akanji. A solid display from the Swiss man away from home.
Sergio Gomez – 6.5
A better display from Gomez who has had his critics in recent times, despite playing out of position. Lost his man from the corner in the last few minutes and was subsequently punished.
Kalvin Phillips – 7
It’s fair to assume it may be Phillips’ last game in a City shirt, and his marking for the Crvena zvezda goal demonstrated why. Phillips effectively bowed out after being handed penalty duties for City’s third goal. A telling gesture.
Matheus Nunes – 8
His best display in a City shirt for Nunes, with the Portuguese man playing with purpose, showcasing his quality from midfield.
Mateo Kovacic – 7
A second successive start for Kovacic, who displayed his comfortability on the ball. A key feature for a midfielder in a Pep Guardiola side.
Micah Hamilton – 8.5 (MOTM)
It was a night Hamilton will never forget, scoring his first City goal on his debut for the club. The youngster showed glimpses of brilliance alongside his goal including earning a penalty for City’s third goal. The 20-year-old didn’t throw away his shot!
Oscar Bobb – 8.5
Bobb is certainly establishing himself in the side now, with the Norwegian scoring a brilliant goal, making a name for himself in Belgrade.
Jack Grealish – 6
Kicked left right and centre, being seemingly targeted by the defence of the home side. Substituted at half-time after picking up several knocks.
Phil Foden – 7.5
Replaced Jack Grealish at half time. Looked lively upon his arrival, keeping the ball well after entering the fray.
Mahamadou Susoho – 7
Replaced Mateo Kovacic after 75 minutes to make his Manchester City debut.
Bernardo Silva – N/A
Nathan Ake – N/A
Match Coverage3 days agoBournemouth vs Manchester City (Premier League): Match Preview, Team News, Head to Head, How To Watch
Match Coverage3 days agoMateo Kovacic starts, Kevin De Bruyne misses out again – Predicted XI: Bournemouth vs Manchester City (Premier League)
News2 days agoManchester City travelling squad for Bournemouth clash revealed with two major absences
Transfers2 days agoManchester City star attracting interest from former club after disastrous loan start and Pep Guardiola fallout