Manchester City entered this week’s Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk needing three points. They also needed another assured performance before the big Manchester derby against United on Sunday. They got both of those all in one dominating win in the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester City Dominate Shakhtar at Home
When Manchester City set out at home against Shakhtar Donetsk they expected to dominate. They always want to control the game with their possession and tempo and. as expected, that is what we got from the opening whistle. But still, by the tenth minute, Shakhtar had the only shot on target, though right at Ederson.
Don’t let those lack of shots fool you, they had complete control. And with that control, the goals will come. By the 13th minute, Riyad Mahrez had the ball on his left foot in the box and faked all the Ukrainian defenders out of his way. He then put in a lovely cross on the ground across the face of goal that David Silva redirected into the back of the net.
Then came an absolute shocker by the referee. Raheem Sterling was in on goal and attempting to chip the keeper, but shockingly he kicked turf. After kicking the turf and his foot getting stuck, he fell over without any contact. But the referee decided to give a penalty. It was an absolutely shocking decision and a clear indicator of the need for VAR in the Champions League. Gabriel Jesus stepped up and slotted it home.
By the time the half-time whistle blew, City had still controlled everything. But the game had a very sour taste on the back of one of the worst refereeing decisions ever seen. It’s clearly not a dive by Raheem Sterling. It looks like he is lining up the chip and then kicks the turf. It happens, nobody kicks the floor and tries to dive in the position he was in.
When the second half got underway it was pretty easy to expect more of the same things that happened in the first, minus refereeing shockers. We got just that when the second-half scoring was opened by Sterling. He made an outstanding run through the lines, holding off defenders driving towards the box. As he got to the top he opened up his body an unleashed a wicked curler into the far corner; an outstanding goal by any measure.
After that goal, it felt like Manchester City eased back a little on the gas pedal. Their possession was more static and less invasive but even still they forced another penalty, this time the right decision by the referee. Gabriel Jesus scored it again, giving Manchester City a 4-0 lead. And after they eased off the pedal even further, they still found time for a fifth from Mahrez, followed by Gabriel Jesus completing his hat-trick.
To Shakhtar’s credit, they continued to fight all game. Their compact team tried and tried to break at pace but were constantly snuffed out by City’s defence. The centre-back combination of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte has turned into an outstanding partnership, easily one of the best partnerships in the Premier League, if not in world football.
A thorough performance by Pep Guardiola’s team. The three points are massive for Man City in their group. After an opening day loss to Lyon, City have rebounded with three straight wins in the group. Their three points, coupled with Lyon getting another three points against Hoffenheim, have City and Lyon neck and neck. City are on nine points and Lyon on eight, both likely to go through from this group.
City will need to get a result on their away trip to France in order to win the group, however. That will be a tough place to play but Manchester City should be able to accomplish their goal and win this group.