Manchester City’s expensively-assembled team was humbled by Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday, losing 2-1 at the start of its quest to win European football’s biggest prize for the first time.
Banned from the touchline and unable to communicate with the bench, City manager Pep Guardiola watched from the stands as the Premier League champions were easily picked apart by the French visitors at the start of the group stage.
Errors by midfielder Fernandinho led to both Lyon goals, typifying how sloppy City was against a team that finished third in the French league last season and was even held to a draw at the weekend by 10-man Caen.
When a pass by the Brazilian midfielder was intercepted around the halfway line, Lyon charged forward. Nabil Fekir sent in a cross from the left that evaded Fabian Delph’s swinging legs, allowing Maxwel Cornet to slot it home in the 26th minute. Delph held his head in his hands as the consequences of his mistake became clear.
City’s troubles deepened when Fernandinho was caught in possession again. Memphis Depay set Fekir on a run and the forward doubled Lyon’s lead in the 43rd.
City pulled one back in the 67th when Bernardo Silva scored from substitute Leroy Sane’s cutback. But the attacking threat was too patchy from a City side that won the Premier League with a record 100 points only four months ago.
But City fans still have a fraught relationship with the competition the club sees as its main target after a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership.
The Champions League anthem was again booed by the crowd — reflecting to ongoing bitterness over UEFA sanctioning the club for breaching spending rules — and there were swathes of empty seats in the Etihad Stadium.