Manchester City came from behind to defeat Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade, with Julian Alvarez scoring two second-half goals as Pep Guardiola’s team opened their Champions League championship defence.
Red Star, European Cup winners in 1991, threatened a memorable victory when Osman Bukari put them ahead towards the conclusion of the first half.
But City equalized in less than 90 seconds after the restart, as Alvarez sprinted onto Erling Haaland’s return pass, deceived Red Star keeper Omri Glazer, and squeezed the ball home from a tight angle while still sprinting at full speed.
Glazer ruined an otherwise outstanding performance 13 minutes later when he attempted to punch Alvarez’s free-kick away from danger but only got a light touch on the ball, which did not deflect it away from the far corner.
Rodri’s most recent European goal was the game-winning strike against Inter Milan in June. By advancing unopposed into the Red Star box and guiding a crisp shot into the bottom corner, the Spain midfielder ensured City took a successful first step towards this season’s final at Wembley.
The hosts deserved to win; by the final whistle, they had 77% possession and had 37 shots to Red Star’s three.