Manchester City ran rampant at the Etihad on Wednesday evening, hitting Shakhtar Donetsk for six, and all but booking their place in the Champions League knockout stages in the process.
It took the home side just 12 minutes to break the deadlock, Riyad Mahrez getting to the by line far too easily and whipping a low cross in to David Silva who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
City were awarded possibly the worst penalty of all time ten minutes later. Raheem Sterling was released down the inside left channel and as he went to shoot, the Englishman kicked the turf and went over. Referee Viktor Kassai felt Sterling had been tripped, though no Shakhtar player was even close to making contact, and Gabriel Jesus duly tucked away the spot kick to double City’s lead.
Although it came in dubious fashion, few would argue that City weren’t full value for their two goal lead going into half time.
City made it 3-0 just two minutes after the break, and this time there could be no doubting the validity of the goal. Sterling picked up the ball 50 yards from goal, brushed off two challenges and drove towards goal, with no defenders forthcoming, the Englishman curled an emphatic finish into the far corner.
The home side were awarded a much clearer penalty in the 70th minute when David Silva was cleared out from behind, and Jesus would double his tally for the evening by burying the penalty into the roof of the net and make it 4-0.
Mahrez would get in on the action after 83 minutes, Shakhtar’s players appeared to have given up tracking back to defend and as a result were left with just two defenders to guard against three City attackers. Gundogan lofted the ball over to the far post, and after taking a touch, Mahrez smashed the ball under Pyatov for City’s fifth.
Jesus would put the icing on the cake to complete his hat trick with a well taken lob over the helpless Pyatov just before full time to seal a historic win for City.
Key Talking Point
With a crucial match against local rivals Manchester United coming up this Sunday, City will have wanted to send out a message of intent to their neighbours. They definitely did that.
Defensively they remain imperious and were rarely troubled, and even without the likes of Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane going forward, they had no trouble breaching the Shakhtar defence.
Starting XI: Ederson (6); Walker (6), Stones (7), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (6); Fernandinho (6), D.Silva (7), B.Silva (7); Mahrez (7), Jesus (6), Sterling (8*).
Substitutes: Danilo (N/A), Gundogan (6), Delph (N/A).
STAR MAN – Raheem Sterling
It’s this sort of performance from Sterling that gives England fans unrealistic expectations. Matviyenko was given a torrid time all evening by Sterling whose runs in behind were a constant headache to Shakhtar’s back line.
He richly deserved his goal – which was superbly taken, and there can be no doubting that he’s in a fantastic run of form. The Englishman is brimming with confidence – Manchester United should be worried.
WORST PLAYER – Oleksandr Zinchenko
Nobody had a bad game for City in reality, but Zinchenko was guilty of giving the ball away multiple times against Shakhtar.
The home side weren’t playing the strongest of opposition, but against better sides, Zinchenko will be taken advantage of. The gulf in quality between himself and Benjamin Mendy was there for all to see.
Key Talking Point
With very little to lose, some would’ve expected Shakhtar to come to the Etihad and try to put City on the back foot at some point. After all, City had lost their previous three home Champions League fixtures.
But from minute one, the Ukrainians didn’t appear keen on threatening Ederson in the City goal. Taison appeared to be their only dynamic player going forward, and even he was limited. A negative display to say the least.
Starting XI: Pyatov (5); Matviyenko (4), Krivtsov (6), Rakitskiy (5), Ismaily (4); Stepanenko (5), Barberan (5); Taison (6*), Kovalenko (5), Bolbat (5); Moraes (5).
Substitutes: Kayode (N/A), Patrick (N/A), Nem (N/A).
STAR MAN – Taison
The only man wearing Shakhtar colours that was looking to attack City, the Brazilian drove at the home side’s back line on a few occasions.
Although his lone forays into City territory were ultimately in vain, he seemed to be the only player capable of hurting Guardiola’s side.
WORST PLAYER – Mykola Matviyenko
This was not pretty from the Ukrainian right back, he was ill equipped to defend against Raheem Sterling, who had the beating of the defender all night.
The full back will want to forget this performance as soon as possible, though Sterling may feature heavily in his nightmares this evening.
Manchester City now face a Premier League clash against their near and dear rivals Manchester United, and Shakhtar play Vorskla on Sunday.