Manchester City dominated Marseille in the return of UEFA Champions League action to the Stade Orange Velodrome, running out 3-0 winners in a comfortable performance that leaves them top of Group C. Marseille's prospects in the group now seem very dim after losing both their opening two games.
The match kicked off in odd fashion as Manchester City took a knee in a fight against racism, but Marseille's personnel stood together with their heads bowed as France mourns the gruesome murder of Samuel Paty.
There was nothing odd about Manchester City's opening goal, though. Kevin de Bruyne took advantage of Valentin Rongier's misplaced pass and slid a lovely disguised cross for Ferran Torres to score the opener in the 18th minute.
Marseille were an improved outfit after the break but came undone in the 76th minute when Ilkay Gundogan struck the ball into the bottom corner after a cross from the left eventually made its way to him in the box.
With the game effectively over, Manchester City turned on the style. Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne combined well to set up Raheem Sterling, who scored with a routine tap-in to make it 3-0 in the 81st minute.
On that note, here are the five major talking points from an intriguing game at the Stade Velodrome.
#5 Ferran Torres increasingly looks like a bargain for Manchester City
Manchester City reportedly parted with €23 million for Ferran Torres' services in Valencia's fire sale this summer. Considering that he's only 20 years old and has been signed on a five-year contract, that sum looks increasingly more of a bargain as time goes on.
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus' absences due to injuries left Pep Guardiola regretting about not bringing in a striker, but Ferran Torres' performance in a central role offered plenty of positives. The Spaniard pressed intensely and ran the channels incredibly well. With a beautifully-placed finish, he was also perfectly positioned to profit from Kevin de Bruyne's pass.
Torres is a genuine option for Pep Guardiola centrally, and it's a option that could not have come at a better time for the City manager.
#4 Dimitri Payet's absence was baffling
In a fixture schedule that is as tightly packed as the 2020-21 season's, having a player who's had a week worth of rest is a luxury. Dimitri Payet's suspension from Ligue 1 action ought to have resulted in a start for the maverick Frenchman, but Andre Villas Boas opted against using him.
When Marseille struggled to get out of City's press in the first half, Payet could surely have helped with his close control. By the time he eventually did come on in the 78th minute, the game was pretty much out of reach.
Pre-match comments from the Marseille manager seemed to indicate that Payet's poor form was the reason for him missing out. But a player who has experience of defeating Manchester City before could have made a difference.