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Man City youngsters shine in 3-2 win at Red Star

BELGRADE (AP) – A sixth straight victory. Some valuable game time in the legs of fringe players. First Champions League goals for two of the club’s most talented young attackers.

Manchester City’s final match of the group stage went pretty well for the defending champions.

A heavily rotated City team won 3-2 at Red Star Belgrade thanks to goals by Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb – a couple of 20-year-olds and potential stars of the future – as well as a late penalty from Kalvin Phillips.

Red Star’s Uros Spajic fights for the ball with Manchester City’s Oscar Bobb. PHOTO: AFP

Pep Guardiola’s team will head into the knockout stage on the back of a 100 per cent record in group play as it looks to retain a title City won for the first time in June. City became the second English team to claim maximum points in the group stage, after Liverpool in 2020-21.

Richards, a Manchester-born winger who joined City at the age of seven and has progressed through the club’s youth set-up, jinked one way then another before firing a rising shot into the roof of the net to put the visitors 1-0 up in the 19th minute.

Six years ago, he was operating as a ball boy at City’s Etihad Stadium and was pictured getting instructions from Guardiola to help speed up play.

Bobb, a Norway international playing in the team while his more illustrious compatriot Erling Haaland recovers from a foot injury, made it 2-0 in the 62nd when he weaved into the penalty area and placed a low shot into the far corner. Hwang In-beom pulled a goal back for Red Star, who started the match in last place and guaranteed to finish there.

Manchester City’s Micah Hamilton during the UEFA Champions League football match at the Red Star stadium in Belgrade, Serbia. PHOTO: AFP

City regained its two-goal cushion after Hamilton was pulled back by Red Star defender Nasser Djiga as the winger dribbled between two defenders and toward goal. Phillips, handed a rare start by Guardiola, converted the penalty in the 85th. There was still time for Aleksandar Katai to head home at a corner in the first minute of stoppage time.