Manchester City v Red Star Belgrade: A Report of Two Group Sessions

Manchester City

Manchester City’s dominance in the 2023/24 Champions League group stage was undeniable. However, their victories against Red Star Belgrade offered a fascinating contrast in narratives. Here, we revisit both encounters, highlighting the unique storylines that unfolded.

September Rivalry: A Movie Night with the Academy Award Winners

Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium witnessed a night of youthful exuberance in September’s clash against Red Star Belgrade. While star striker Erling Haaland’s absence left a void upfront, it paved the way for academy graduates to steal the show.

Micah Hamilton, making his senior debut for the Cityzens, rose to the momentous occasion with aplomb. The youngster didn’t shy away from the spotlight, etching his name on the scoresheet with the opening goal. His fellow academy product, Oscar Bobb, wasn’t to be outdone, adding his own strike soon after to further solidify City’s lead.

Match 1: Etihad Stadium, Manchester – September 19, 2023

Pre-Match Buzz: City entered the match as heavy favorites, having dominated domestically and boasting a star-studded squad. Red Star, on the other hand, were underdogs, aiming to cause an upset. However, City were missing their star striker Erling Haaland due to injury.

First Half Surprise: The away side shocked the Etihad crowd in the 17th minute. A defensive lapse by City allowed Red Star to break through, and a clinical finish put them 1-0 ahead. City struggled to break down a well-organized Red Star defense throughout the first half.

Second Half Onslaught: Pep Guardiola demanded a response from his team at halftime. City emerged with renewed purpose in the second half, dominating possession and creating numerous chances. The pressure finally paid off in the 68th minute when a well-worked move resulted in a goal.

The tension was thick at the stadium as City relentlessly attacked in search of the lead. The game remained deadlocked until a dramatic moment in the 83rd minute. A penalty decision swung the match in City’s favor. The cool-headed player stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted the ball home, putting City 2-1 ahead.

The remaining minutes were a nail-biting affair as City defended resolutely to preserve their lead. They persevered under pressure to secure a crucial three points in a close encounter.

Key Points:

City missed Haaland’s goal-scoring presence in the first half.

Red Star’s defensive strategy proved effective for a period.

City’s second-half dominance and strong mentality secured the win.

Match 2: Rajko Mitic Stadium, Belgrade – December 13, 2023

Pre-Match Context: With City already qualified for the knockout stages, Guardiola opted to rotate his squad heavily, giving opportunities to fringe players. This presented a chance for Red Star to claim a famous victory at home.

Youthful Exuberance: City fielded a young and energetic starting eleven, featuring several academy graduates. The team played with a refreshing attacking style, creating numerous early chances.

Debut Delight: The 19th minute witnessed a historic moment for City. Youngster Micah Hamilton, making his senior debut, scored a brilliant goal to put City 1-0 up. The celebration was particularly emotional for Hamilton, who had risen through the City academy ranks.

Red Star Responds: Despite conceding early, Red Star continued to fight. Their persistence paid off in the 62nd minute when a surging run and composed finish levelled the score at 1-1.

City Digs Deep: City refused to be outdone, showcasing their fighting spirit. Oscar Bobb, another youngster making his mark, weaved his magic through the Red Star defense before slotting home a wonderful goal to restore City’s lead.

Key Points:

City’s young players took their chance, impressing with their attacking intent.

Micah Hamilton’s debut goal and Oscar Bobb’s strike were major highlights.

City’s experience and composure secured victory despite a late scare.

Legacy of the Encounters:

Manchester City’s recent doubleheader against Red Star Belgrade offered a glimpse into the multifaceted strengths that make them a force to be reckoned with in the Champions League.

The first leg served as a testament to their resilience. City faced early adversity, overcoming a setback to secure a crucial victory. This win underlined their ability to dig deep and grind out results, a vital skill in the high-pressure environment of the Champions League.

The return fixture showcased another dimension of City’s dominance: their sheer squad depth. With the chance to rotate players, youngsters within the team seized the opportunity, stepping up on the big stage and delivering impressive performances. This display of talent bodes well for City’s future and adds another layer of threat to their Champions League campaign.

By securing a perfect record in the group stage, winning all six matches, City have sent a clear message to their rivals: they are a team to be feared. Their unwavering determination, combined with a wealth of talent throughout the squad, positions them as serious contenders for the Champions League title.


Who were the standout players?

First Match: Debutant Micah Hamilton opened the scoring for City, while Phil Foden sealed the win late on.

Second Match: Manchester City youngsters Oscar Bobb and Kalvin Phillips impressed with their goals.

Did Haaland play? (Spoiler alert: No!)

Erling Haaland, Manchester City’s star striker, was unavailable for both matches. Despite his absence, City managed to secure convincing victories.

How significant were these matches?

These games were part of the Champions League group stage. Manchester City’s perfect record (winning all six games) secured them the top spot in their group.

Where can I find highlights of the matches?

There are many options! You can search for “Manchester City vs Red Star Belgrade highlights” on YouTube or check the official channels of Manchester City and UEFA for match recaps.

Did anything interesting happen during the games?

Both games showcased exciting attacking football. The first match saw City come back from an early deficit, while the second provided some nervous moments as Red Star fought back before City emerged victorious


Will these teams meet again soon?

It’s unlikely they’ll face each other in the Champions League this season since both teams progressed to the knockout stages. However, they could potentially meet in a future European competition or a friendly match.

Where can I find more information about these teams?

The official websites of Manchester City and Red Star Belgrade [OFFICIEL CRVENA ZVEZDA Strana Zvanični sajt Sportskog Društva Crvena Zvezda]  are great resources.

What’s next for Manchester City and Red Star Belgrade?

The Champions League knockout rounds are currently underway. You can follow these exciting tournaments to see how both teams fare!

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