Manchester City finally found its groove after halftime and picked up a straightforward 3-1 win over Porto to start its 2020-21 UEFA Champions League campaign, but a long-term injury puts a dark cloud in the blue sky.
Fernandinho left the match with an injury in the 90th minute and Pep Guardiola says it’s a repeat injury that will cost the Brazilian up to six weeks on the sidelines.
The 35-year-old played 40 times for City last season, helping the club at center back following a long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte.
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Fernandinho will be less critical to plans this season but is still a cog in Guardiola’s machine.
That machine sputtered at the start of Wednesday’s win, a Ruben Dias error setting Luis Diaz up for Porto’s opening goal.
Dias was not pleased with himself.
“Someone needs to stop him and we need to regroup in a better way but football is about mistakes and learning from them,” Dias said, via the BBC. “The teams that learn better are the teams that grow better.”
But both Dias and his teammates rebounded as a returning Sergio Aguero tied the game before fancy goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres put the match to bed.
“I have to admit I don’t practice it a lot but there are certain distances I feel comfortable with a free kick. That was the perfect distance for me. I had a little discussion with Raheem and I was quite confident to take it. Thanks to him for allowing me to take it. Obviously I’m very happy I could score.”
Back to Guardiola, he liked how his team refound its footing quickly after conceding and he’s ready to take the campaign step-by-step.
“At set pieces they were strong,” Guardiola said. “By the second half we didn’t concede anything set pieces or counterattacks so we controlled the game. … Teams that set up with lots back you have to wait for your moment. We adjusted a little something at the end of the first half. We spoke about being patient, we had to be patient and at the right moment attack them, so we let them run.”
City visits West Ham in Premier League play on Saturday before heading to Marseille for a Tuesday match-up with the Ligue 1 outfit who fell to Olympiacos 1-0 on Wednesday.