Manchester City’s Reheem Sterling was in top form on Tuesday night as City came from behind to crush Atalanta 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
The England winger scored a superb hat-trick and also had a hand in the other two goals as City ran riot and make it three wins from three in the Champions League.
Phil Foden was handed his first start since September as Guardiola made four changes to his side, with the makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri given another test.
The visitors stunned the Etihad crowd when Ruslan Malinovskyi slotted home from the spot after Fernandinho fouled Josip Ilicic in the area.
Sergio Aguero had two golden chances to break the deadlock within the space of 30 seconds. He struck an effort from 20 yards only for Pierluigi Gollini to make a stunning save and fired over from the resulting corner.
Then came a timely response from City. Sterling was the architect, picking out Aguero with a super cross and he poked the ball between the legs of Gollini to equalise.
Aguero turned the game on its head with his second in four minutes. Sterling burst through the middle and Masiello’s clumsy challenge caught the winger. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and up stepped Aguero, who finshed with aplomb.
In the second half, City showed their utter class and Sterling was front and centre of everything they were creating. The 25-year-old gave the hosts some breathing space on 58 minutes after a lovely team move, finishing into the roof of the net from Foden’s pass.
City were rampant and pulling apart the Serie A all over the pitch – and Sterling soon had his second just six minutes later. Ilkay Gundogan cut open the defence with a through ball and he calmly sent Gollini the wrong way.
There was still time for more, though, when Riyad Mahrez’s cross found Sterling at the far post and he stabbed home to complete his hat-trick.
Foden saw red late on for a second yellow card, a sour end to a good performance, but City were never in danger of losing their lead as they romped to victory.
Source: Evening Standard