Manchester City came from behind and Julian Alvarez scored two second-half goals as Pep Guardiola’s men began the defence of their UEFA Champions League title with a win against Serbian champions, Red Star Belgrade.
European Cup winners themselves in 1991, Red Star threatened a famous win when Osman Bukari put them in front at the end of the first half.
But City took less than 90 seconds to level after the restart as Alvarez raced onto Erling Haaland’s return pass, rounded Red Star keeper Omri Glazer with a superb piece of deception and squeezed the ball home from a tight angle while still running at full speed.
Glazer spoiled an otherwise superb performance 13 minutes later when he went to punch Alvarez’s free-kick away from danger but instead got only the faintest touch on the ball which did not divert it away from the far corner.
Rodri’s last European goal was the historic effort that secured the trophy against Inter Milan in June and the Spain midfielder ensured City took a successful first step towards this season’s final at Wembley by scoring their third as he advanced unchecked into the Red Star box and guided a precise shot into the bottom corner.
The hosts deserved their win, by the final whistle as they had amassed 77% possession and had an incredible 37 shots to Red Star’s three.