Manchester City’s defence of their Champions League title is up and running – and Julian Alvarez is off the mark in the competition.

Pep Guardiola’s side took on Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium in their first group stage match, and ran out 3-1 winners.

Manchester City v FK Crvena zvezda: Group G - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It was a frustrating first-half for City, who had 22 shots at goal without scoring.

Red Star scored against the run of play right before half-time, with Osman Bukari converting past Ederson after springing the offside trap.

City hit back straight away in the second-half though, with Alvarez scoring a lovely little goal to start the comeback.

He found space between the lines and fed Erling Haaland.

Instinctively, Alvarez continued his run and the Norwegian slipped his strike partner in for a fine finish – and it really impressed Ally McCoist on commentary for TNT Sports…

Ally McCoist blown away by Julian Alvarez opening goal for Man City against Red Star

It was a wonderful goal from Alvarez.

It was extremely quick thinking to take it around the goalkeeper and then just roll the ball in before the defenders could get to the line.

The pass from Haaland was actually a little heavy.

So the Argentinian did really well to score

Watching it back on the replay, McCoist said on commentary: “I can’t wait to see this again. He just takes a touch and then immediately takes another one to take it around the goalkeeper. There, there, brilliant. He’s got to hit it now. It’s magic, it really is! Perfect. It’s a brilliant finish, make no mistake about it. The speed of the feet from his first touch to his second touch…

Manchester City v FK Crvena zvezda: Group G - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

“He’s going at quite a rate of knots once he gets by Haaland. But the beauty of the goal is the speed and movement of his feet between the first touch, and eventual touch to get the goal. Magic.”

Alvarez then scored with a free-kick, that may potentially go down as a goalkeeper own goal. Rodri then added a third with a beautiful passed finish.

Alvarez has been fantastic in these opening weeks of the season.

In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne he has seriously stepped up, and it is understandable Pep Guardiola recently suggested that he has now become undroppable.

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