Manchester City had to come from behind to defeat Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in the opening game of their UEFA Champions League championship defense.

The Citizens arrived to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday (September 19) as heavy favorites to defeat the Serbians. They are undefeated in the Premier League and have had a fantastic start to the season, winning five of their first five games.

Manchester City controlled the opening stanza and could have grabbed the lead if it hadn’t been for outstanding goalkeeping from Israeli goalie Omri Glazer. In the 14th minute, he did well to save a ferocious shot from Rodri as Pep Guardiola’s side looked for an early lead.

Glazer was called into action once again in the 29th minute, as Nathan Ake headed Julian Alvarez’s dangerous corner towards goal. The Red Star goalkeeper made a great save to deny the Dutchman.

Erling Haaland got close in the 34th minute but failed to score in the weekend’s 3-1 victory against West Ham United. From 10 yards away, the Norwegian superstar sailed over the crossbar.

Manchester City’s lack of a lead was getting almost comical. Seven minutes later, Phil Foden was the next player to blow a golden opportunity. He got a free header, but he aimed it right at Glazer.

Those missed opportunities caught up with the defending European champions in the 45th minute. Red Star winger Osman Bukari shocked the Etihad to quiet just before halftime, putting the visitors ahead 1-0.

The Ghanian attacker latched on to Mirko Ivanic’s exquisite through pass to give Barak Bakhar’s team an improbable lead. The offside flag was raised, and the Serbian team had to wait a lengthy time until VAR concluded Bukari had beaten the offside trap.

Red Star’s chances of pulling off a massive shock were swiftly dashed by Alvarez’s superb equalizer barely two minutes into the second half. Haaland spotted the 2022 FIFA World Cup champion, who sprinted by Glazer before tapping home from a close angle.

In the 52nd minute, Kyle Walker had the ball in the goal but was called offside. It didn’t matter, since Glazer had a moment of forgetfulness, ruining all his hard work. In the 60th minute, Alvarez’s free kick found the back of the net after the Israeli goalie flapped at it.

Rodri then ensured that Manchester City would begin their European championship defense with a win. In the 73rd minute, the Spaniard calmly steered the ball in from just inside the area to secure a 3-1 victory.

City deserved to win, but Bukari’s early goal gave them pause. One supporter gushed over Alvarez:

“If we’re being completely honest, Julian Alvarez deserves the Ballon d’Or over Haaland.”

Glazer’s mistake elicited a humorous response from Paddy Power:

“Yet another disastrous moment for a Glazer in Manchester.”

Here is how Twitter responded to Manchester City’s comeback victory against Red Star:

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