After Erling Haaland limped off with a twisted ankle, it was down to a different Manchester City forward to be a match-winner and it came in the form of Jeremy Doku, whose progress in his first months at the club has even surprised Pep Guardiola.
Focus will inevitably be on Haaland after his injury scare and he may miss the midweek Champions League tie against Young Boys but there is hope it is not serious. Without him, City scored three times in the second half and Doku announced himself to home fans with a goal and four assists.
Most players at City take a year to adapt to Guardiola’s demands and methods, yet Doku has seamlessly slipped into the ways of the Treble winners. His running on the left flank is unpredictable for full-backs, taking them in either direction with an eye for the quickest route to goal.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve been a little surprised,” said Guardiola. “He created something for the crowd. When he takes the ball everyone gets excited – me too.”
“In his first game he was too shy, but then he has started to show his incredible skills. He has surprised all of us how he reads every action, what he has to do and his quality close to the box. It is difficult to find a player today with the ability to dribble in small spaces.
“He’s one of the fastest players across five metres. It’s incredible how he can change the rhythm in distance. He is able to take good decisions and I’m impressed with that.”
After a goalless first half hour, Doku created the opener for himself with a drive towards goal. Passes were exchanged with Rodri before he side-footed into the bottom corner. The £55.4 million summer signing from Rennes then teased Chris Mepham with step-overs before laying on Bernardo Silva’s finish.