City sweeps aside Shakhtar 3-0 in Champions League
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Manchester City took a step closer to qualifying from its Champions League group Tuesday, taking the top spot with a dominant 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Last season the Ukrainian team ended a 29-game unbeaten run for City, but it never came close to another win this time. David Silva and Aymeric Laporte’s goals had Pep Guardiola’s team 2-0 up by halftime, before Bernardo Silva ended Shakhtar’s hopes of a comeback in the 71st.
“Now we can control our destiny in terms of the result, but what I’m pleased (with) the most is the way we played,” Guardiola said. “Winning away, it’s so important, and now we will enjoy tonight and the next days this victory.”
City has won six of the seven games it’s played since losing 2-1 to Lyon in its opening Champions League outing. Thanks to Lyon’s 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim in Tuesday’s other game, City is top of Group F at the halfway mark, one point ahead of Lyon and four ahead of Shakhtar and Hoffenheim.
City was in full control of the game from the start as Riyad Mahrez twice came close to scoring and David Silva hit the post. The Spanish attacking midfielder put the visitors 1-0 up in the 30th minute when Gabriel Jesus’ shot took a deflection and looped into the air before landing perfectly for David Silva to hit past Andriy Pyatov.
“His level and the performance the last month is incredible,” Guardiola said of David Silva, who has scored two goals and assisted two more in his last four games for City. “Everything he does he’s doing perfect, so it was another incredible performance from David.”
Five minutes after David Silva’s opener it was 2-0 as Laporte scored his first Champions League goal. The French defender was left with an easy header at a corner as two Shakhtar players rushed to close down John Stones.
Shakhtar, which never really got going with its usual counterattacking style, tried to play higher up the pitch in the second half but rarely troubled the City defense. David Silva had a shot blocked by Shakhtar’s Ismaily, before Mahrez again narrowly missed the target.
Shakhtar didn’t register a shot on goal until the 51st when City goalkeeper Ederson saved an effort from Ismaily.
Bernardo Silva was on the field for less than two minutes before finishing off a City counterattack with a shot from outside the area which went in off the post.
Shakhtar came closest to scoring with the final kick of the game, but Junior Moraes’ close-range shot took a deflection off a teammate’s leg and Ederson gathered up the ball.