Raheem Sterling proves he is among elite with a 10 in Man City's stroll against Atalanta

Matt Jones - Editor 01:08 23/10/2019
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Manchester City strolled to a third Champions League group stage win in a row with a 5-1 mauling of Atalanta.

The hosts started slowly though and a bright start from the Serie A side was rewarded when Josip Ilicic fell under Fernandinho’s challenge and Ruslan Malinovskyi confidently converted from the spot.

They weren’t behind for long though and Sergio Aguero flicked in Raheem Sterling’s cross before coolly despatching his own penalty after Sterling had been clipped by Andrea Masiello.

The home side took control after the break and Sterling got the goal his work had deserved when he smashed home after brilliant work from Kevin De Bruyne. In fact he got two more – a hat-trick in just 11 minutes as he continued to press home his credentials to be considered one of football’s most elite players. He then started and finished the move to make it 4-1 before flicking in Mahrez’s cross.

Here is how we rated the City players:

Ederson 6: Came for and fumbled early cross, had no chance for the penalty. Otherwise a pretty comfortable night for the custodian, who was sharp and alert.

Kyle Walker 5: Poor start as Atalanta initially impressed, but eventually got to grips with marauding Gomez. Got forward and supported the attack.

Fernandinho 6: Clumsily felled Ilicic to offer the visitors the chance to take the lead, it was a clear penalty. Recovered and was typically robust, leading team with four interceptions.

Rodrigo 5: Night ended prematurely when he pulled up in pursuit of Gomez. Still led City with three tackles.

Benjamin Mendy 6: Booked for crude early tackle after poor control. Made up for it with a fantastic clearance to deny Castagne and generally settled well.

Kevin De Bruyne 8: Floated about the field with carefree ease, initially frustrated as team-mates failed to spot his runs. Pulled string thereafter with four key passes and his ingenuity created Sterling’s first.

Ilkay Gundogan 7: His diligence and calmness on the ball at the base of midfield allowed De Bruyne and Foden to flourish. Ball to release Sterling for his second was sumptuous.

Phil Foden 4: Grew into the game, excellent work set up Aguero but he skied over. Had as many key passes (4) as De Bruyne, but evening soured by needless second booking for a tug.

Riyad Mahrez 7: On the periphery in the first half but neat skill and a delightful ball set De Bruyne away to set up the third. Unerring accuracy on his cross set Sterling up for hat-trick.

Sergio Aguero 7: After City settled he came alive, forcing a fine save from Gollini and then blazing over. Great run to toe in Sterling’s cross. Arrowed in his second from the spot.

Raheem Sterling 10: Telepathic understanding of where his team-mates are grows, cross for Aguero was inch-perfect. Exploded in second half – having set up Aguero’s penalty – with an 11-minute hat-trick. Three goals, two assists. He is elite.

SUBS:

John Stones 6: Stepped in after Rodrigo was forced off. Two interceptions as he went about his work with minimum of fuss.

Nicolas Otamendi 6: Replaced De Bruyne with job done, odd he and Stones started on the bench.

Joao Cancelo N/A: Barely a touch in his 20 minutes, just three in fact.

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