Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Manchester City 5.
Cardiff City 0-5 Manchester City: Visitors atone for Champions League defeat
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola described Riyad Mahrez as an "incredibly talented" player after he scored his first goals for the club to help them thrash Cardiff City.
Mahrez, who signed for £60m in the summer, tapped in his first goal - and Manchester City's fourth - after a patient, incisive team move, before whipping in his second late on.
"It's good to get the first goals," Guardiola said. "Of course it's important for him. He came here, he's an incredibly talented player. He deserves to play more minutes, like Phil Foden."
The 18-year-old Englishman played for around 25 minutes as a substitute. "It's a pleasure to watch Phil play football and of course Riyad as well," Guardiola continued. "But the season is too long and they have to be ready, prepared, because they are going to play a lot of minutes."
The stylish visitors were already out of sight by half-time, leading 3-0 thanks to Sergio Aguero's sweeping finish, a clever looping header from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan's delightful curling effort.
Cardiff simply could not live with an irresistible City side and, as they are still searching for their first win this season, the Bluebirds now find themselves second from bottom of the table.
- Relive Manchester City's win against Cardiff City
- Follow all of Saturday's Premier League action
- Cardiff's Peltier suffers long-term injury
Superb City bounce back
For Manchester City, this was an instant and convincing riposte following Wednesday's shock defeat at home to Lyon in the Champions League.
That loss was made to look like an aberration by this performance, even if it was against a newly promoted Cardiff side who look ill equipped to cope with the Premier League's leading teams.
City asserted their dominance from the first minute and, once Aguero had opened the scoring in his 300th appearance for the club after half an hour, this match became a procession.
Guardiola's players passed and moved with grace and speed, leaving their opponents bewildered.
Cardiff, a physically imposing side, will have been disappointed to allow one of the shortest players on the pitch, Bernardo Silva, to score the second with his head - but it was still a goal to marvel at, as the Portuguese arced his neck to generate the dip required to loop the ball backwards over goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
There was even more to admire in the third goal, as Gundogan neatly exchanged passes with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling before stroking the ball into the top corner.
Gundogan then turned provider for the fourth - and arguably the best - goal of the afternoon, with a sustained period of City possession freeing the Germany midfielder to square the ball for Mahrez to convert from close range.
The win has moved Manchester City up to second in the Premier League table.
Cardiff outclassed again
Tempers had flared when these two sides met here in the FA Cup in January, when Cardiff's Joe Bennett was sent off.
City thoroughly outclassed their opponents - then in the Championship - to win 2-0 on that occasion, and the gulf in quality appeared even greater this time.
Cardiff initially battled as enthusiastically as one would expect from a team managed by Neil Warnock. But as soon as they conceded the opening goal, a thrashing seemed inevitable.
While the Bluebirds may not have expected much from a fixture against the reigning champions, it will concern Warnock that his side have now conceded 12 goals in their past three games.
After matches against City, Chelsea and Arsenal, Cardiff will be relieved to welcome Burnley to south Wales next weekend.
Man of the match - Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
A 'long afternoon' - what they said
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock: "It was a long afternoon. I thought we started well. The first 30 minutes, we had shape and knew what we were doing but the goals killed us. I've not seen our heads go down like that.
"The first goal came from a corner which shouldn't happen, but the top teams - that's what they do. They find a weakness and one lapse and Aguero is in. The second goal I thought was a fluke. It came almost straight away and knocked the stuffing out of us really.
"It's a disappointment. Like I said before, it's not going to define our season but it will knock our chin on the floor a bit. The lads have got to get over the weekend and get on with next week."
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola [On his return from a touchline ban]: "I don't play. The managers, we are there to be there when they have little doubts, to support them.
"I don't know what's going to happen with that guys. It's the same group, they keep reacting, an exceptional group. They know how, when the situation is not good in terms of results, the closer I am to them.
"They deserve all my respect. They made me happy the last, more than one year, two seasons, and that's why - always I will be with them."
Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas on Match of the Day: "After the disappointment in mid-week it was important for City to get back to winning ways. It was that kind of afternoon for players like Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan and they seemed to enjoy themselves.
"Gundogan was special. He filled the void of not having David Silva in the side perfectly. He was willing to make things happen. Cardiff gave him too much space. It was his all round game - his deliveries into the box. It was a brilliant performance. He was the stand-out but Sterling was great and Riyad Mahrez got a couple of goals too."
City show their dominance - the stats
- Cardiff lost a home league game by a five-goal margin for the first time since April 1994 (2-7 v Cambridge in the third tier).
- Since Pep Guardiola took over before the 2016-17 season, Manchester City have scored 5+ goals in 10 Premier League fixtures.
- Sergio Aguero made his 300th appearance for Manchester City in all competitions, and scored his 205th goal for the club.
- Manchester City striker Aguero has now scored 13 and assisted two more in his last 13 Premier League games against newly promoted sides.
- Bernardo Silva scored and assisted in the same game for the first time ever for Manchester City in his 61 appearances for the club in all competitions.
- Silva's goal for Manchester City was his first headed goal for the club in any competition.
- Since the start of last season, Raheem Sterling has registered 12 Premier League assists, more than any other English player, and a tally only Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane can better overall (16 each).
- Riyad Mahrez scored his first goals for Manchester City and his first double in the Premier League since netting twice for Leicester against Everton in December 2015.
Cardiff City's next fixture sees them take on Burnley in the Premier League at home on Sunday, 30 September (16:00 BST).
Meanwhile, Manchester City travel to Oxford United in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, 25 September (19:45), before welcoming Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, 29 September (15:00).
- 2PeltierSubstituted forRichardsat 51'minutes
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 33HoilettSubstituted forMurphyat 75'minutes
- 8RallsBooked at 45mins
- 9WardSubstituted forZohoreat 63'minutes
- 20Bernardo Silva
- 25FernandinhoBooked at 60minsSubstituted forStonesat 74'minutes
- 8GündoganSubstituted forFodenat 69'minutes
- 10AgüeroSubstituted forMahrezat 61'minutes
- 33Gabriel Jesus
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Manchester City 5.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Harry Arter.
Goal! Cardiff City 0, Manchester City 5. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez with a headed pass.
Attempt saved. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bernardo Silva.
Offside, Cardiff City. Víctor Camarasa tries a through ball, but Bobby Reid is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Fabian Delph with a cross.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Neil Etheridge.
Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sean Morrison (Cardiff City).
Offside, Cardiff City. Kenneth Zohore tries a through ball, but Josh Murphy is caught offside.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Josh Murphy replaces David Junior Hoilett.
Substitution, Manchester City. John Stones replaces Fernandinho.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Joe Ralls.
Attempt blocked. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Foden.
Offside, Manchester City. Kyle Walker tries a through ball, but Raheem Sterling is caught offside.
Substitution, Manchester City. Phil Foden replaces Ilkay Gündogan.
Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City).
Goal! Cardiff City 0, Manchester City 4. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Kenneth Zohore replaces Danny Ward.
Substitution, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez replaces Sergio Agüero.
Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Leroy Sané (Manchester City) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan with a cross following a set piece situation.
Leroy Sané (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City).
Attempt missed. Leroy Sané (Manchester City) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left following a corner.
Attempt saved. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt blocked. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bernardo Silva with a cross.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Sean Morrison.
Attempt blocked. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
Attempt saved. Bobby Reid (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sean Morrison with a headed pass.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Danny Ward (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Jazz Richards replaces Lee Peltier because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.