Champions Manchester City started where they left off with an emphatic 3-0 victory over promoted Burnley at Turf Moor on a troubling night for the hosts off the field in which a spectator was apprehended for throwing an object at City’s Rico Lewis and another was arrested for trying to run on to the pitch.
Erling Haaland opened the scoring with his first kick of the game, poking in Rodri’s back-post header with a sweeping left-foot volley and doubled his and City’s tally before half-time with a rasping, curling shot that cannoned off the underside of the cross-bar.
Burnley were no pushovers in the first half and their man-to-man marking system thwarted City’s attempts to string long phases of passes together, winning the ball back with their pressing and creating opportunities to shoot for the lively front three of Lyle Foster and two debutants, Luca Koleosho and Zeki Amdouni.
But City, having been forced to adjust after barely 20 minutes when they lost their captain Kevin De Bruyne to a hamstring injury, a recurrence of the one that ruined his Champions League final according to his manager, Pep Guardiola, changed to a direct style in the second half and strolled to victory.
Rodri, as ever at the hub of everything City do in attack and defence, added a goal to his earlier assist by thumping a shot past James Trafford when Ameen Al-Dakhil’s glancing defensive header at a corner spun tantalisingly on to his right foot eight yards out.
The game, essentially won at half-time, was comfortably brought to a close with City in cruise control holding Burnley at arm’s length. Only Anass Zaroury’s late lunge on Kyle Walker threatened their composure but Var swiftly intervened to advise Craig Pawson to rescind his yellow card and replace it, deservedly, with red.