Match Report

Rampant City hit five to seize control of Champions League last 16 tie

PARTY TIME: All smiles!
Champions League
Champions League
Tue 15 Feb
Riyad Mahrez 
Bernardo Silva 
(17', 44'),  
Phil Foden 
Raheem Sterling 
View highlights
Manchester City seized control of our Champions League last 16 tie with a ruthless display in the first leg against Sporting in Lisbon..

Bernardo Silva scored twice, with Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden netting one apiece in a rampant first half performance, before Raheem Sterling added a fifth as we became the first team in the competition’s history to win five consecutive away games in the knockout stages.

The in-form Mahrez got City off to a dream start when he tapped Kevin De Bruyne’s cutback into an empty net in the seventh minute.

The goal was awarded after a lengthy wait as VAR checked to see if the Belgian was offside in the build-up, but there was no delaying City, who quickly doubled the lead in sensational fashion as Bernardo reacted quickest to a loose ball from a corner to rifle a venomous half-volley in off the underside of the crossbar.

Foden netted the third shortly after the half hour mark, stealing between two defenders to convert Mahrez's low cross at the near post.

This was City at our clinical best and Bernardo put the result on the night beyond doubt a minute before the break.

Sterling was released down the left, but had the presence of mind to check back and tee up the advancing midfielder, whose first-time finish took a heavy deflection off Goncalo Inacio.

Bernardo thought he’d completed his hat-trick when he headed in De Bruyne’s ball at the far post immediately after the restart, only for VAR to show the 27-year-old had edged just offside as the cross came in.

It did little to halt City’s momentum and, with Sporting failing to register a shot on target, Ederson was largely a spectator as Guardiola’s men continued to pour forward in the second period.

Our efforts were rewarded in fine fashion as Sterling cut inside off the left wing and curled a stunning 20-yard effort into the top corner to move into the top 10 on City’s all-time highest goalscorers’ list and seal the Club's biggest away win in the Champions League proper.

City deliver attacking masterclass

Guardiola declared at his pre-match press conference that City’s convincing win over Norwich at the weekend was proof that his side take every single game seriously.

His side were dominant at Carrow Road and here, they were utterly devastating to turn what had the potential to be a tricky affair into an unbelievably one-sided contest.

Guardiola cut a frustrated figure early in the first half, as, despite the fast start, the precise passing for which City are famed was a little off target.

It meant Sporting looked a threat on the counter in the opening exchanges and, though they moved the ball well in wide areas, their final ball lacked the quality to create any meaningful chances.

It was a stark contrast to the opposite end of the pitch, where City were delivering a masterclass attacking football, seemingly undoing Sporting at will.

A flowing move created the opener, with Bernardo teeing Foden for a cutback that Antonio Adan did superbly well to claw away from the bottom corner, only for De Bruyne to show superb speed of thought to guide the ball back to Mahrez.

The Algerian was at his tricky best to beat two men and squeeze a cross between a further two defenders for Foden to guide home City’s third and then, there were the two genuine goal of the season contenders.

The first was a reminder of Bernardo’s brilliance and City’s ability to conjure goals from nothing, whilst Sterling’s wonderful effort was equally eye-catching to put him joint second on the list of leading English goalscorers in the Champions League alongside Paul Scholes.

They were goals to savour in a performance to remember as Guardiola's side marked the beginning of the knockout stages with a statement win.

Pep Guardiola

"No [not a perfect performance]. Some players underperformed and we lost easy balls but we were so clinical. We saw in the first five or six minutes how good [Sporting] are. The difference between the two teams is not 5-0 but we were so clinical. We punished them.

"It's just a game with a fantastic result. We have one more game to be in the quarter-finals and this is what you want. The players know me and the way we work that we can do better. I'm incredibly happy, please don't misunderstand me, but we can do better."

Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva

Bernardo is one of four former Benfica players in City's ranks, all of whom were booed in the opening stages at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.

It had little impact on the Portuguese midfielder, who delivered a first class performance on his return to Lisbon with two goals and one assist. 

And, the first of those efforts was a strike of the highest quality, as Bernardo evidenced his exceptional technique to thunder a sweetly struck half-volley past the helpless Adan in the Sporting goal. 

A champagne moment in what's proving to be a memorable campaign for the playmaker.

Stat zone

  • City are the first team in Champions League history to lead an away game in the knockout stages by four goals at half-time. 
  • Mahrez has scored 10 goals in his last 11 appearances in the Champions League and has been directly involved in eight goals in his last seven games in the knockout rounds (5 goals, 3 assists).
  • We are the 14th team to score 200 goals in the Champions League and have done so in 97 games, fewer than any of the other 13 teams to reach that milestone.

What it means

City return to Manchester with a commanding lead ahead of the second leg on Wednesday 9 March. 

This win stretches our unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions and means we have lost just once in our last 21 outings.

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CITY: Ederson, Stones (Zinchenko 61’), Dias (C), Laporte (Ake 85’), Cancelo, Rodrigo (Fernandinho 73’), De Bruyne, Bernardo (Delap 85’), Mahrez, Foden (Gundogan 61’), Sterling.

SUBS: Carson, Slicker, Kayky, Mbete, McAtee, Lavia.

SPORTING: Adan, Esgalo, Coates (C), Inacio, Porro (Neto 83’), Palhinha, Nunes, Rets, Sarabia (Tabata 75’), Paulinho (Slimani 75’), Goncalves (Ugarte 51’).

SUBS: Paulo, Virginia, Feddal, Santos, Vinagre, Edwards, Braganca, Esteves.

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