NEW HOME: Grealish scores on Etihad debut in 5-0 Norwich rout
Jack Grealish scored on his home debut for Manchester City as they got their season up and running with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Norwich at the Etihad Stadium.
The champions lost the Community Shield against Leicester and their Premier League opener at Tottenham without scoring, but they put the Canaries to the sword in the Manchester rain.
They got the perfect start as goalkeeper Tim Krul scored an unfortunate own goal inside the opening 10 minutes before Grealish started paying some of his £100million fee back with his first goal for the club in the 22nd minute on his Etihad debut.
Further strikes from Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez in the second half made it a rout as City proved they might be able to survive without trying to buy Harry Kane, albeit against a team fresh out of the Championship.
Pep Guardiola, who said that he would be happy with his squad even if they were not to add Spurs striker Kane, would have been especially pleased with the contribution of Gabriel Jesus, who made three of the City goals.
After opening games against Liverpool and now City, Norwich may consider their season to start in earnest against Leicester next week having endured a chastening return to the top tier.
The afternoon will have provided flashbacks to their last away game in the Premier League as – already relegated – they ended the 2019-20 season with another 5-0 thumping at the Etihad.
And they must have had that sinking feeling again as City needed just seven minutes to go ahead.
Ferran Torres’ clever ball over the top played Jesus in on the right and he fizzed in a cross that Grant Hanley tried to clear, but he could only send the ball into the body of goalkeeper Krul and into the net.
Krul was awarded with the own goal and City had opened their account for the season after drawing blanks in the Community Shield and at Spurs last week.
It did not take them long to get the ball into the net again as Torres fired home in the 15th minute after Jesus played him through, but VAR ruled it out after spotting a foul by Bernardo Silva in the build-up.
Seven minutes later it was 2-0 as Grealish marked his special day with a goal, although he did not know too much about it.
Jesus was again played in down the right and sent in another dangerous cross that made its way to the back post and bounced off the England international and into the net.
Despite total dominance, Guardiola’s men had to wait until midway through the second half to add to their tally.
Norwich failed to clear a corner and Laporte swept home a loose ball from close range.
It was quickly four as in the 71st minute Sterling also opened his account for the season, tapping in from close range after another perfect ball across the face of goal by the impressive Jesus.
The rout was complete in the final 10 minutes as Mahrez beat the offside trap from Ruben Dias’ long ball over the top and he coolly struck home.
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