SERGIO AGUERO capped a grand old night for Manchester City by marking his return to action in the only way he knows.
Raheem Sterling later it a landmark night by scoring the club’s 1000th goal at their Etihad home late in the second half.
So it was fitting that the man who has scored more of them than anyone should get in on the celebrations with a goal.
Aguero had knee surgery in late June and has made only four appearances since – with the last one coming a fortnight ago.
But the veteran forward showed he has lost none of his predatory instincts as he tapped home a rebound within 10 minutes of coming off the bench.
City have played 444 times competitively here since leaving Maine Road in 2003 – and there have been few more low key than this.
Pep Guardiola’s men had already secured their place at the top of their group and had little riding on this one.
Ferran Torres’ opener was their 100th under the manager in this competition – and once again they go into Monday’s draw in good shape.
Five wins and a draw in the group show why they will once again be among the favourites – so could this be the year they finally make an impact?
A much-changed City team started brightly with Phil Foden playing a pass into Riyad Mahrez but Steve Mandanda saving well.
Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick from the right found the head of defender Aymeric Laporte but his effort was just too high.
At the other end, former West Ham man Dimitri Payet did put the ball in the net on the half hour – but he was denied by the linesman’s flag.
Deputy keeper Zack Steffen was called into action when Pape Gueye controlled and shot from a narrow angle but the US international was equal to it.
Guardiola had said that places were up for grabs for Saturday’s Manchester derby but not many would have caught his eye in an uneventful first half.
City began the second half with Sterling off the bench and straight away had more intent.
They took the lead within three minutes of the restart as Bernardo Silva fed Mahrez out of the right and he rolled a ball into the middle.
Torres got there first and rolled the ball under Steve Mandanda as he continued his excellent goal-scoring form in this competition.
That’s four in five European games now for the £20.8million summer signing who has enjoyed himself in this competition.
Midway through the second half, Aguero replaced Mahrez to begin his latest comeback.
And typically it did not take long for him to get in on the act as Mandanda could only parry an thumping header from Nathan Ake.
Aguero reacted quickest and rolled home the rebound for his second goal of the season – making his case to play some part against United at the weekend.
There was still time for Sterling to get in on the act as a cross shot from Torres was parried by Mandanda.
It cannoned into defender Alvaro Gonzalez and dropped perfectly for the England forward to tap over the line for the easiest goal he will score this season.