Former ballboy Micah Hamilton and fellow youngster Oscar Bobb struck as a much-changed Manchester City ended the Champions League group stage with a 3-2 win at Red Star Belgrade.

Kalvin Phillips also joined the two 20-year-olds on the scoresheet with a late penalty after manager Pep Guardiola rotated his squad for the Group G dead rubber at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Manchester-born academy product Hamilton marked his debut with a superb strike in the 19th minute before Norwegian Bobb, filling in for compatriot Erling Haaland up front, added the second after 62 minutes.

Hwang In-beom pulled one back but Phillips gave City breathing space with his first goal for the club after a foul on Hamilton before Aleksandar Katai headed a late home consolation.

The result meant holders City, who had already secured top spot, finished the group phase with a maximum haul of 18 points while winless Red Star ended bottom.

With City facing Crystal Palace before travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup next week, Guardiola not only gave chances to Hamilton and Bobb but brought in fringe players such as Stefan Ortega and Phillips.

In all he made nine changes and, initially, intensity was lacking as Red Star carved out the first opportunity with Osman Bukari’s shot being blocked by John Stones.

Yet City still controlled most of the possession and Hamilton took full advantage of their first serious attack.

Jack Grealish picked out Matheus Nunes and the Portuguese prodded on for Hamilton, cutting inside from the right, to take up the attack.

Hamilton raced into the area and beat Red Star captain Aleksandar Dragovic on the outside before lashing a shot into the top corner from a tight angle.

The hosts responded with Kosta Nedeljkovic turning inside the box and curling narrowly over but City threatened again as Bobb had an effort blocked.

Hamilton almost created another goal for Bobb when he fired in a dangerous low ball from the right but the latter could not make contact at the far post. Phillips, making a rare start, then shot wide.

Hamilton went close again early in the second half when he curled a low effort just wide but City needed Ortega to keep them level.

The German first produced a good reaction save to keep out a Cherif Ndiaye volley at close range and then pushed away a firm strike from distance from Guelor Kanga.

Bobb then took centre stage as he doubled City’s lead just after the hour. He picked up possession from Rico Lewis and opted against the return pass, instead wrong-footing the defenders with a weaving run and sliding a low finish inside the far post.

Red Star rallied and, after Jovan Mijatovic hit the post, Hwang beat Ortega with a low strike to reduce the deficit after linking up with Bukari.

Yet Phillips made no mistake from the spot five minutes from time after Hamilton was brought down by Nasser Djiga and that proved decisive as Katai headed a second Red Star goal in stoppage time.

Julian Alvarez is revelling in his partnership with Erling Haaland in Manchester City’s attack.

The Argentinian World Cup winner continued his strong start to the season with two goals as the holders began their Champions League title defence with a comfortable 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

An injury for Kevin De Bruyne has seen Alvarez handed a run of games in support of prolific centre forward Haaland and it is a role he is relishing.

“I am very happy with the goals, to help the team,” the 23-year-old said. “We are doing well, we are winning – which is the most important thing – and playing good games.

“I am trying to adapt and I continue growing in this position, where I am moving freely, to give the team another option and add to the attack.”

Alavarez was the dominant figure in City’s forward line as they threatened to overwhelm Red Star in their opening Group G game at the Etihad Stadium.

Yet despite creating a plethora of chances – with Haaland hitting the bar and goalkeeper Omri Glazer making several saves – City fell behind to an Osman Bukari strike just before half-time.

Alvarez began the fightback with a fine dinked finish after the restart and then put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead when his free-kick was inadvertently punched into the goal by Glazer.

Rodri wrapped up a thoroughly deserved victory with a typically composed finish 17 minutes from time but, again, City could have had several more. Haaland went the closest when he hit the goal frame for a second time.

“We played a good game,” said Alvarez. “It was important to start with a win and three points at home in this difficult competition. We are very happy.

“We had many chances we could not convert but Pep told us to keep doing what we were doing and the goals would come.

“It was the same in the previous game where we were losing and came back, so it was fine. We always try to stay calm, play well in the second half and win.”

Alvarez was not a regular starter last season, despite his starring role in his country’s World Cup triumph, but Guardiola believes he can do an important job in easing the goalscoring burden on Haaland.

Guardiola said: “It’s the same player as last season but being a World Cup winner doesn’t mean you have to play all the time.

“Last season we had Kevin and (Ilkay) Gundogan in that position. Kevin was in top form and Gundo was incredible.

“In that moment sometimes it was difficult to find spaces but I never had a doubt.

“Now Gundo has gone and Kevin unfortunately is injured. We need players to be close to Erling, don’t put all the responsibilities just on the shoulders of Erling to score all the goals.

“That’s why when Phil (Foden) has played there, when Julian plays there, we have the feeling that we create a lot of chances.”

Pep Guardiola felt his team were given a useful test after coming from behind to begin their Champions League defence with a 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade.

The holders were stunned when the Serbian champions claimed a shock lead on the stroke of half-time through Osman Bukari in Tuesday’s Group G clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Yet as they did in the Premier League at West Ham last weekend, they hit back to win after the break, this time with two goals from Julian Alvarez and one from Rodri.

City manager Guardiola said: “At the end, going in at half-time 1-0, after what we’ve done that’s nice – after winning the treble we need to be the type of champions who prove to ourselves that we are able to make a comeback.

“In this situation it’s nice to prove it. In both games we played incredible and immediately at the start of the second half.

“We have things to improve in general but that’s really, really good.”

Guardiola was particularly impressed with the performance of his goalscorers.

Alvarez has benefited from a run in the side this season while Rodri, match-winner in last season’s final, continues to excel.

Guardiola said of Alvarez: “His movement was so quick and he’s so young. What a signing the club have done.

“He has everything – fighting, goals, assists. Incredible. And he’s a lovely guy. Playing behind Erling (Haaland) he is an incredible threat.”

Rodri has developed into one of the best midfielders in the game during his time at City and Guardiola is in no doubt he is now at the top.

He said: “Yes, he’s the best – but hopefully he can be better. He has a good mentality and good things to improve.

“But we were lucky again that the club has signed these type of players.”

The downside for City was the loss of Bernardo Silva shortly before half-time with an unspecified injury.

Guardiola said: “I didn’t speak with the doctors but apparently for the next games he will not be able to play.”

The Portuguese joins an injury list that includes Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, John Stones and Mateo Kovacic.

Guardiola said: “When we have five important players – really, really important players – injured, to sustain that for a long time will be difficult. But it is what it is.

“We cannot have the salaries and budgets for transfers to have 55 players. It would be chaos for the clubs and they would be bankrupt. Sometimes it happens.”

Red Star coach Barak Bachar admitted City were the better side.

He said: “We tried, we fought, but we conceded an early goal in the second half. They should have scored more.

“They are a great team, they have exceptional players. After we conceded it was difficult to maintain the pace, because we never play at this pace in our league. We learned a lot from this match.”

Julian Alvarez shone as Manchester City came from behind to begin their Champions League defence with a comfortable 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade.

The treble winners were stunned when the Serbian champions claimed a shock lead against the run of play through Osman Bukari just before half-time in Tuesday’s Group G clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Alvarez levelled quickly after the break and was then responsible for City taking the lead as his free-kick was punched into goal by the otherwise excellent Red Star goalkeeper Omri Glazer.

Rodri, matchwinner against Inter Milan in last season’s final, then wrapped up a thoroughly deserved victory with a typically composed finish 17 minutes from time.

Prior to taking the lead, City had completely dominated the game, with Glazer producing a series of fine saves to thwart the hosts and Erling Haaland hitting the crossbar.

The hosts finally started to take their chances in the second period but could have scored plenty more with Kyle Walker having an effort disallowed, Haaland again hitting the woodwork and Alvarez finding the side-netting.

Red Star boast plenty of European pedigree as winners of the competition in 1991 but, facing the continent’s present pre-eminent force, they were completely outplayed.

City had their first chance after nine minutes when Phil Foden had an effort deflected over and Rodri then jinked into the area before testing Glazer.

It was the start of a busy half for the Israeli keeper, who also denied Alvarez twice and kept out a point-blank header from Foden.

He could do little about City’s best chance of the opening period as Haaland met a floated Foden cross with a firm header but the bar came to his aid.

Haaland had another good chance to put City ahead but turned over from in front of goal.

City were made to rue their wasted chances as Red Star, who had looked to counter-attack when possible, grabbed a shock lead on the stroke of half-time.

The hosts were punished for playing a high line as Bukari was played through by Mirko Ivanic and slotted coolly past Ederson.

It initially looked like an offside flag might spare City but the goal was awarded following a VAR review.

City, who brought on Jeremy Doku for Bernardo Silva in the closing moments of the first half, quickly regrouped and equalised two minutes after the interval.

Alvarez finished superbly after being played in by Haaland, cleverly dinking over Glazer.

Walker thought he had put City ahead moments later only to be ruled offside.

City claimed the lead just before the hour as Alvarez curled a free-kick from the left into the box. Glazer came out to punch but failed to make clean contact and the ball flew in after skimming the back his hand.

Haaland went close again when he headed against a post before Alvarez lashed just wide.

City finally gave the scoreline a more realistic look when Rodri claimed their third.

The Spaniard turned Vladimir Lucic outside the area after good work by Foden and strode forward to pass the ball into the far bottom corner.

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