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Palmer nets as slick visitors win big

Teenage midfielder Cole Palmer scored his first Champions League goal as Manchester City produced a slick performance to secure a 5-1 win over Club Brugge in Belgium.

Full-backs Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker both found themselves on the scoresheet, the former scoring the first on the half-hour mark with a composed finish from Phil Foden’s pass.

Riyad Mahrez calmly tucked a penalty away before half-time and, soon after the restart, Walker got in on the action, drilling into the bottom-left corner after Kevin De Bruyne – playing in his home country – set him up.

Palmer struck within three minutes of coming off the bench, taking a neat touch before rifling a left-footed effort past Simon Mignolet from just inside the area.

While captain Hans Vanaken grabbed a late consolation for Brugge, a controlled outing for City was capped by Mahrez scoring his second of the night.

City started with plenty of intent, seeing two goals ruled out before full-back Cancelo opened the scoring with a centre-forward’s finish, taking Foden’s ball over the top on his chest and prodding through the legs of Mignolet.

There were ugly scenes as the Portugal international celebrated by the corner flag, with projectiles thrown towards him and his City team-mates by Club Brugge fans.

Stanley N’Soki tripped Mahrez just inside the box and the Algeria winger dusted himself off to take the spot-kick, which he slotted coolly into the bottom-left corner, sending Mignolet the wrong way to give the visitors a deserved 2-0 lead shortly before the break.

The third came eight minutes into the second half as City’s other full-back, Walker, made a smart run into the box and lashed a low effort across goal to finish off a neat team move.

Vanaken found the bottom-right corner to deny Ederson a clean sheet with nine minutes of normal time remaining, but Mahrez responded with City’s fifth just three minutes later, racing in behind and steering the ball into the top-right corner to round off the scoring, with Fernandinho getting the assist.

City suffered a blow in their quest to finish top when they lost 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain on matchday two. However, last season’s Champions League finalists clicked into gear tonight and looked very impressive, despite losing their clean sheet towards the end.

This is the 19th time a Pep Guardiola side has scored five or more goals in a Champions League match, more than twice as many times as any other managers’ sides have done so (Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, eight).

Mahrez’s composed penalty and late strike mean that the winger now has five goals in just three Champions League appearances against Club Brugge – his best record against a single opponent in the competition.

It is also a continuation of the Algerian’s excellent form in the Champions League, taking him to seven goals in his last seven appearances in the tournament.

Palmer has become only the third teenager to score in the Champions League for Manchester City after Foden and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Aged 19 years and 166 days, Palmer is the 10th youngest Englishman to score in the competition.