Atalanta had taken the lead in Manchester, but a Sergio Aguero brace and Raheem Sterling hat-trick saw City dominate 5-1.
This was the glamour tie for the Orobici in their first ever Champions League campaign, a trip to face Pep Guardiola’s trophy contenders and reigning Premier League title holders, so 2,800 fans made the journey from Bergamo. With zero points from two games, Gian Piero Gasperini missed Duvan Zapata, Simon Kjaer and Jose Luis Palomino, but opted to start Josip Ilicic as a False 9. Manchester City were without Oleksandre Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, but had Kyle Walker available again. Despite John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi also returning from injury, Guardiola kept Rodri and Fernandinho as makeshift centre-backs, starting 19-year-old Phil Foden.
Ilicic’s first touch let him down on a promising through ball, then Timothy Castagne nodded over from a Robin Gosens cross.
However, Manchester City started to move up the gears after 20 minutes, first Raheem Sterling pulling back just behind Sergio Aguero in the six-yard box, then the Argentine’s strike forcing a fingertip save round the far post from Pierluigi Gollini. Aguero tried again for a third time in five minutes, blasting over from a promising position on Foden’s pass.
However, Atalanta took the shock lead from the penalty spot with Malinovskyi when Fernandinho tripped Ilicic just inside the penalty area. It was the first goal City have conceded in Europe this season.
Manchester City equalised with Aguero inevitably the man behind it, peeling off his marker to volley in a Sterling floated ball over the top.
The Argentine turned it around completely, as Andrea Masiello clumsily brought down Sterling on the counter and Aguero converted the resulting penalty.
Moments later, Manchester City lost Rodri to a hamstring injury, replaced by John Stones. Gollini was again alert on Kyle Walker’s strike from the edge of the box to keep the scoreline down.
Gasperini made a double change at the break, replacing Masiello and Gomez with Luis Muriel and Mario Pasalic, moving Marten de Roon into central defence.
Ilicic’s first touch let him down again on a promising move and Gollini palmed a Kevin de Bruyne snapshot round the upright.
Manchester City made it 3-1 with a well-worked move. De Bruyne burst down the left, Foden laid off the roll across for Sterling to blast into the roof of the net from six yards.
Ilicic stung Ederson’s gloves twice in one move, but Sterling made it 4-1 when he ran into acres of space down the left, cut back past Rafael Toloi and drilled in.
Remo Freuler thought he’d made it 4-2, but was flagged offside when scoring after a first attempt bounced off the upright.
Instead, Sterling completed his hat-trick, as Gollini parried from Aguero, but the England international sprung the offside trap on Riyad Mahrez’s cross to tap in a very similar goal to Aguero’s equaliser.
Ederson had to palm a Pasalic header out of the far bottom corner from a set play, but Sterling completed his hat-trick with a classic counter after Hans Hateboer slipped to let him clear on goal.
There was some bad news for Manchester City, as 19-year-old Foden received a second yellow card for a shirt-tug.
Man City 5-1 Atalanta
Malinovskyi pen 28 (A), Aguero 33, pen 39 (M), Sterling 58, 64, 69 (M)
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Rodri (Stones 41), Mendy (Cancelo 71); De Bruyne, Foden, Gundogan; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Djimsiti, Masiello (Pasalic 46); Castagne, Freuler, De Roon, Gosens; Gomez (Muriel 46), Malinovskyi; Ilicic (Hateboer 72)
Ref: Grinfeld (ISR)
Sent off: Foden 82 (M)
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