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UEFA Champions League

Grealish's dream Champions League debut now a reality; can he threaten PSG in the next match?

On Wednesday evening at the Etihad Stadium, Jack Grealish's Champions League dream came true. The England international has waited a lifetime to play in Europe's top club competition, and any concerns he had were quickly dispelled with one stunning performance against RB Leipzig. The new City star made his mark on the continent's biggest stage with a deft jink inside onto his right foot followed by a superb curling strike into the top corner.

After City's 6-3 victory over their German opponents, he told BT Sport, "I enjoyed it."

"I've been waiting for quite some time. I've been looking forward to this game for the past few weeks. It's a fantastic evening."

Grealish had watched City storm to the Champions League final last season from home and knew he wanted to be a part of a similar trip as soon as the Premier League champions came calling.

He relished every moment of his first bite.

It was a night to remember for the ex-Aston Villa striker, from the time the Champions League song was sung - with the normal Etihad boos a little quieter than usual - to wheeling away in delight following his incredible individual goal.

Grealish would be reminded of the expectations placed on him if he was to continue to be trusted to perform on such a stage, even as he played his role in a nine-goal thriller.

Pep Guardiola could be seen on the touchline giving the most expensive English player of all time furious instructions moments after his strike put City 4-2 up.

Grealish would be wise to listen to any advice he can get from his new boss, as the Catalan expects more from his players than perhaps any other coach in the game. With tougher tests ahead.

It doesn't get much tougher than facing Paris Saint-Germain right now, with the French giants next on City's European schedule in just over two weeks.

"I went to check the other game's outcome [PSG's 1-1 draw with Club Brugge], and it just goes to show that anything can happen in the Champions League - that's why it's such a fantastic league," Grealish said. "It was very wonderful with the music and everything."

However, City did not pay £100 million ($139 million) for Grealish to listen to Champions League music. They feel he is the guy who can help them beat clubs of PSG's caliber on a regular basis and win the competition that the City hierarchy craves the most.

Even if it is unknown whether Kylian Mbappe's injury that took him out early in the second half in Belgium will keep him out on September 28, Mauricio Pochettino's side's lackluster start to the campaign makes them even more dangerous.

Even without the France star to complete their deadly trio, Lionel Messi and Neymar still pose a significant attacking threat, while Leipzig will likely put up much more tenacious defensive resistance than they did in their first continental outing since the sales of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate.

In truth, City defeated PSG in the semi-finals of last season's competition both at home and away, but with crowds back in stadiums and PSG significantly strengthened in all areas following a busy summer of signings, it should be a night that truly informs Grealish of what is expected of him at this level.

He possesses the charisma necessary to become a global superstar, and he has demonstrated that he also possesses the necessary qualities. He must now demonstrate that he possesses the bravery, confidence, and discipline necessary to produce at the greatest level.

If Sergio Ramos is fit for the game, he will form a formidable defensive partnership with Marquinhos, while youthful wing-backs Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi have been brought in at a high price to provide further energy and attacking threat to a team already brimming with creative potential.

As a result, Grealish's all-round game will be put to the test, which is why Guardiola took him aside on Wednesday, along with fellow winger Riyad Mahrez, to eagerly offer tactical guidance.

Guardiola remarked of Grealish's goal, "Hopefully it can be the first of many."

"I had the impression that he was getting better at many things every day. I'm confident that he will improve in the future, and his contribution was significant. It was good, and I'm looking forward to his game."

For the time being, Grealish can bask in the glory of a job well done on what has been a dream night for the 26-year-old. Despite the fact that his goal will be repeated incessantly in the months and years ahead. His City legacy in the Champions League has yet to be written.

Whether Grealish can help take down PSG next time out will go some way to determining whether it was money well spent this summer.

Content created and supplied by: Dwanemw (via Opera News )

BT Sport Champions League City England Etihad Stadium


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