City’s un­beaten run comes to an end in the Ukraine

The Irish Times - - Sports Thursday -

Manch­ester City slumped to their first de­feat of the sea­son with a 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk last night.

First-half goals from Brazil­ian pair Bernard and Ismaily stunned Pep Guardi­ola’s side on a freezing night in Kharkiv, with Ser­gio Aguero’s in­jury-time penalty too late to af­fect the out­come.

The re­sult mat­tered lit­tle for City, with top place in the group already as­sured, but the tame end to their daz­zling 20-game win­ning streak was hardly the ideal prepa­ra­tion for this week­end’s Manch­ester derby.

For Shakhtar the win prompted ju­bi­lant cel­e­bra­tions, with a place in the last 16 now se­cured.

It was with Sun­day’s clash with Manch­ester United in mind that City boss Pep Guardi­ola made seven changes. Among the play­ers to come in were 17-year-old Phil Fo­den, for a full de­but, and 20-year-old de­fender Tosin Adarabioyo, who lined up on the right of a three-man back line with Eli­aquim Man­gala and Fer­nand­inho.

Shakhtar’s motivation was ob­vi­ous and in Brazil­ians Taison and Bernard they boasted plenty of at­tack­ing drive. Bernard cre­ated the first se­ri­ous op­por­tu­nity after break­ing down the right. Fer­nand­inho spared City by block­ing Facundo Ferreyra’s shot.

Eder­son then saved from Marlos but there was no deny­ing

Bernard after 26 min­utes as he curled a bril­liant shot over the City goal­keeper from just in­side the box.

City’s plight im­me­di­ately got worse as they con­ceded a sec­ond just six min­utes later, again after be­ing cut open all too eas­ily. Eder­son, play­ing his usual sweeper-keeper role, paid the price for com­ing out of his area as Ismaily nicked the ball past him after latch­ing onto a long ball from Taison.

City be­gan to show some pos­i­tive signs as Leroy Sane made a good run down the right and Fo­den played Gabriel Je­sus in on goal but An­driy Py­a­tov de­nied him a shoot­ing chance.But Shakhtar con­tin­ued to make most of the run­ning, with Fred go­ing close and Taison shoot­ing nar­rowly over be­fore and after the break.

City never looked like get­ting back into the game al­though Guardi­ola sent on Aguero in the hope of liven­ing up his side and Je­sus did clip the out­side of the post be­fore win­ning a last-gasp penalty.

Aguero stepped up to tuck home the spot-kick but time was al­most up and there could be no late fight­back.

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