10-man Manchester City swept aside Atalanta as Raheem Sterling tormented the Italian outfit by bagging a hat-trick and an assist in the 5-1 win to open up a five-point lead in Group C.
City started strongly looking to fasten their grip at the summit of Group C after Dinamo Zagreb and Shaktar Donetsk played out to a 2-2 draw in an earlier game. Pep Guardiola's men dominated early possession but struggled to break down Atalanta with the Italian side looking to hit on the counter.
One of the counter-attacks paid dividends in the 28th minute when Fernandinho brought down Josip Iličić inside the box with the referee straight away pointing to the penalty spot without needing VAR's intervention. Ruslan Malinovsky held his nerve to send Ederson the wrong way and hand Atalanta the lead.
City only needed six minutes to restore parity after Sergio Aguero got to the end of Raheem Sterling's brilliant cross as the ball rippled the back of the net after going through the legs of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.
Atalanta were crumbling and conceded the second in the 38th minute when Andrea Masiello hacked down Sterling inside the 18-yard area. Aguero stepped up to take the penalty and completed the turn around for City despite Gollini guessing the right direction.
City continued from where they left from in the second half and put some daylight between them and Atalanta in the 58th minute when Foden unselfishly laid off the ball to Sterling after some brilliant work from Kevin De Bruyne as the former Liverpool winger hammered home his first of the game.
Sterling who has had an outstanding season so far was again on the scoresheet six minutes later when Gundogan picked him out as he got in behind Castagne. He then ducked inside and sent Gollini the wrong way to get his brace.
The 24-year-old was not be denied his hat-trick in the 69th minute when Riyadh Mahrez' cross beat the Atalanta defense as it fell for Sterling who tapped home from close range to secure his 11th-minute hat-trick.
8 - Raheem Sterling is the 8th English player to score a #UCL hat-trick, after Michael Owen, Andrew Cole, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Mike Newell, Alan Shearer and Danny Welbeck. Only Brazil (12) and France (9) have had more different hat-trick scorers in the competition. Treble.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 22, 2019
Foden red card
Foden who had only received his second career yellow card eight minutes earlier was send off for a second bookable offense after tagging behind Malinovskyi as the referee did not hesitate to hand him his marching orders.
Manchester City next face Aston Villa on Saturday 26th October while Atalanta play Udinese a day later.
Man City XI: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Rodri, Mendy, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Foden, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Subs: Bravo, Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Silva, Joao Cancelo, Otamendi
Atalanta XI: Gollini, Toloi, Djimsiti, Masiello, Castagne, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens, Malinovsky, Gomez, Ilicic
Subs: Muriel, Guilherme Arana, Hateboer, Ibanez, Sportiello, Pasalic, Barrow
Match Statistics: Manchester City vs Atalanta