BRUGES, Belgium :Riyad Mahrez scored twice as Manchester City produced a dominant away performance to put their Champions League campaign back on track with a 5-1 thrashing of hosts Club Brugge on Tuesday.
A goal from Joao Cancelo and a Mahrez penalty put the English champions 2-0 ahead at halftime at the Jan Breydel Stadium with Kyle Walker, teenage substitute Cole Palmer and Mahrez again adding three more after the break.
Hans Vanaken scored Brugge’s consolation goal with nine minutes remaining.
City’s comfortable victory came after they lost at Paris St Germain in their last Group A game and sees them advance to six points, two more than their Belgian hosts.
"It was one of the best performances we have done in Europe, definitely," said Man City manager Pep Guardiola.
"We could have scored more goals, we had many chances. All of us are delighted with the performance we have done."
Their breakthrough seemed almost inevitable, but it took a sublime pass over the top of the home defence from Phil Foden on the half-hour mark to set up Cancelo, who expertly trapped the ball with his chest before finishing from close range.
Mahrez was brought down by Stanley Nsoki’s clumsy challenge two minutes before halftime, with the winger getting up off the turf to take the kick himself and double the lead.
Kevin De Bruyne, on his return to his home country, combined with Mahrez to set up Walker for the third in the 53rd minute in what was a well-worked team goal, highlighting their quick passing and strong running onto the ball.
Raheem Sterling and Palmer came on at the same time as substitutes in the 64th minute and three minutes later the 19-year-old had his first European goal. Sterling hit a cross-field ball for Palmer, who steadied himself before finishing with his left foot.
Brugge’s first chance came some 12 minutes from fulltime when Charles De Ketelaere’s header forced a sharp save out of Man City goalkeeper Ederson and soon after Vanaken finished off a square ball that caught out the City defence.
But Mahrez capped off a champagne night for City as he beat the offside trap to finish off Fernandinho’s long pass for the fifth goal in the 84th minute.
"We lost to a much better opponent," said Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
The two clubs meet in Manchester on Nov. 3 in their next group game.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)