Men's Team

Nunes makes first City start in Red Star clash

Nunes makes first City start in Red Star clash
Matheus Nunes will make his first Manchester City start in our Champions League Group G opener with Red Star Belgrade.

The Portuguese midfielder made his City debut from the bench during Saturday's Premier League victory over West Ham but Pep Guardiola has named him in his starting XI tonight.

City v Red Star | Matchday Centre

Nunes' introduction is one of three changes from Saturday's trip to the London Stadium, with Nathan Ake and Sergio Gomez also called up.

Manuel Akanji, Josko Gvardiol and Jeremy Doku make way for those three in tonight's meeting with the Serbian champions.

The match is City's first in the Champions League since lifting the iconic trophy in June and winning the UEFA Super Cup just last month.

It's also our first ever meeting with a Serbian side.


CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C), Dias, Ake, Gomez, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Nunes, Foden, Alvarez, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Doku, Gvardiol, Akanji, Bobb, Lewis

RED STAR XI: Glazer, Mijailovic, Djiga, Dragovic, Rodic, Hwang, Stamenic, Ivanic, Bukari, Mitrovic, Ndiaye

Subs: Popovic, Vasiljevic, Degenek, Spajic, Kanga, Katai, Olayinka, Krasso, Milunovic, Kangwa, Lucic, Kabic


Ederson will be protected by a defence of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Sergio Gomez.

Rodrigo will take up his usual central midfield role and will be joined in that area by Matheus Nunes.

Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden will be tasked with moving into the wide areas while Julian Alvarez will be the closest to central striker Erling Haaland.

Nunes' role

Nunes garnered a reputation at Wolves as a player capable of carrying the ball through crowded spaces and progressing his side up the pitch.

That's similar to what Mateo Kovacic had successfully done in his first few City appearances before the recent international break.

With the Croatian unavailable through injury tonight, Nunes is likely to be alongside Rodrigo and tasked with similar in this game.

Match stats

● Manchester City have never previously faced Red Star in European competition – indeed, this is the first time we will face any side from Serbia.

● Red Star have won just one of their 11 away games against English sides in all competitions (D4 L6), beating Liverpool 2-1 in the 1973-74 European Cup.

● This is the first time Red Star have faced the reigning European champions in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. However, they have faced the eventual winners of the competition in their previous two Champions League campaigns (Liverpool in 2018-19, Bayern Munich in 2019-20).

● Holders Manchester City remained unbeaten in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League campaign (W8 D5). Only once in the last 28 seasons have the competition holders lost our opening group stage match, with Liverpool going down 2-0 at Napoli in 2019-20.

● This is Manchester City's 13th consecutive season in the UEFA Champions League. Having been eliminated at the group stages in each of our first two appearances, we've reached the knockout rounds in each of the last 10 campaigns.

● Red Star have lost all six of their away games in the UEFA Champions League to date, conceding 22 goals and only scoring twice in return. Two of those defeats came in England, losing 4-0 to Liverpool in 2018-19 and 5-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in 2019-20.

● Manchester City are unbeaten in our last 13 games in the UEFA Champions League (W8 D5), all of which came last season en route to lifting the trophy. Only once in his managerial career has Pep Guardiola had a longer unbeaten run in the competition, going 16 without defeat in charge of Barcelona between March 2011 and April 2012.

● Red Star haven’t scored in any of their last four games in this competition (in 2019-20) – their longest ever run without a goal in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.

Erling Haaland scored 12 goals in the UEFA Champions League last season, more than any other player. However, the Man City striker has failed to score in his last three appearances, his longest run without a goal in the competition.

● City’s Jack Grealish created the most chances while under pressure of any player in the UEFA Champions League last season (28), while his total of 35 chances created was the most by an English player in a single edition of the tournament on record (since 2003-04).