Winger Micah Hamilton Scores Dream Debut Goal for Manchester City

Winger Micah Hamilton scored on his debut for Manchester City, helping his team defeat Red Star Belgrade and advance to the Champions League Round of 16 with a 100% win record.

Hamilton, aged 20, has been with the club since the age of nine and gave City the lead after 19 minutes in a tense atmosphere in Serbia.

Matheus Nunes provided him with a pass along the right wing, and Hamilton, who has represented England at the U-16 level, entered the penalty area, shifted the ball to create space, and unleashed a powerful shot into the roof of the net.

On an extraordinary night for City’s academy, 20-year-old Oscar Bobb also scored his first goal for the club with a confusing run in front of the opposition defense before directing the ball into the net in the 63rd minute.

Hwang In-beom reduced the deficit for Red Star when he got past Kalvin Phillips and shot low past Stefan Ortega.

However, Phillips rectified his mistake by converting a penalty after the impressive Hamilton was fouled.

Aleksandar Katai headed in a late second for Red Star, but European champions City couldn’t be stopped, following in the footsteps of Real Madrid to reach the Round of 16 with six wins from six group matches.

Pep Guardiola’s team becomes only the second English team to achieve this, following Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the 2021-22 season.

The draw for the Round of 16 will take place at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, at 11:00 GMT on Monday, December 18.

City will face one of the teams that have progressed as group runners-up, with one of their potential opponents being Inter Milan – the team they defeated in last season’s final.

From Ball Boy to Champions League Goal Scorer
City coach Guardiola was delighted with Hamilton’s performance and said, “What a goal and what a game.

“I’m so happy for him. He’s training often with us, and we saw his skills one against one. He scored a fantastic goal and made a penalty.”

During the match, footage from September 2017 emerged on social media showing Guardiola talking to a then 13-year-old Hamilton, who was a ball boy during City’s 5-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Hamilton said it felt “surreal” to now be scoring for the club and was excited about his future.

“The manager has given us the opportunity in training and in the game. Playing with the best players, you always improve,” said Hamilton.

“He put me on the right wing, something different for me. I saw it as a challenge, and I took it, and I enjoyed every moment.

“It’s definitely just the start, and [I want] to kick on from here.”

Youngsters Seize the Opportunity to Shine
Having won their opening five group matches, City was already guaranteed to finish top of Group G, allowing Guardiola the luxury of making changes in their penultimate match before flying to Saudi Arabia to play in the Club World Cup.

Only Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish remained from the XI that started the 2-1 win over Luton, with goalkeeper Ederson rested and top scorer Erling Haaland still unavailable due to a foot injury.

Hamilton’s inclusion was the main headline, while attacking midfielder Bobb made his first start in the Champions League.

English midfielder Phillips was named in the starting XI for only the second time this season, having played in City’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle in the third round of the Carabao Cup in September.

Last week, Guardiola apologized to Phillips for not giving him more playing time, while also praising his professionalism despite struggling to regularly feature following his £45 million move from Leeds in July 2022.

Phillips responded with a hard-working, efficient performance in the heart of City’s midfield that saw him score their third from the penalty spot, although he received a yellow card in the second half and failed to track Hwang’s run for Red Star’s first goal.

But Guardiola’s main source of pride would have been the performances of his younger players, with 18-year-old defensive midfielder Mahamadou Susoho also making his debut as a second-half substitute.

Hamilton nearly got his second goal but curled a shot just wide and also nearly set up Bobb, but the Norwegian, at full stretch, could not get on the end of a teasing low cross across the face of goal.

Bobb was not to be denied as he took on a number of defenders before a sublime finish to double City’s lead.

Red Star, European champions in 1991, lost 3-1 in September’s reverse fixture in Manchester and were already guaranteed to finish bottom of the group.z z z z z z z z z z z

Back-up City goalkeeper Ortega made two excellent saves in quick succession to deny Peter Olayinka and Guelor Kanga but conceded twice in the last 14 minutes – either side of Phillips’ penalty.

Guardiola felt the performance was another sign of how strong the club’s youth set-up is.

“Congratulations to all at the academy for the last years,” added Guardiola. “How many players came up, how many players we sold who are playing already in the Premier League and Championship, and more?

“It is not easy to give opportunities at this level. It is really good to see them play.

“I’m very pleased for the result, for the performance in general, the effort from everyone, how the seniors helped the young lads.”