Manchester City hit Shakhtar for six
Raheem Sterling went from the farcical to the sublime in helping Manchester City to a 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk and the brink of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage yesterday.
The England winger provided the main talking point in another convincing victory for City when he stubbed his toe in the turf as he attempted a shot in the 24th minute and toppled over. Referee Viktor Kassai awarded a penalty despite there being no contact with a defender — much to the amazement of Shakhtar’s players, some of whom even laughed at the decision — and Gabriel Jesus converted the spot kick for 2-0 and the first of his three goals on the night.
“We don’t like to score a goal in that situation,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “It was really clear.”
Sterling showed much more poise in scoring City’s third goal, by picking up the ball 40 metres out, powering through two wouldbe tacklers and curling a fierce shot into the top corner from the edge of the area in the 48th. It was the run and finish of a man in form, with Sterling having scored twice in the Premier League this past weekend as well.
Jesus made it 4-0 in the 72nd, again from the penalty spot after David Silva was tripped by Taras Stepanenko, before Riyad Mahrez and Jesus — with a goal that completed his hat-trick — wrapped up the scoring. Silva had put City 1-0 ahead with a close-range finish in the 13th.
City stayed in first place in Group F, but moved three points ahead of Lyon after the French club drew 2-2 against Hoffenheim. The English champions need one more point from their last two games to be certain of a top-two finish. After City’s latest attacking masterclass, it was the penalty decision — given by a referee who has officiated in a Champions League final and in World Cups — that will best be remembered. It led to Sterling trending worldwide on social media. Results: CSKA Moscow 1 Roma 2; Valencia 3 Young Boys 1; Bayern Munich 2 AEK Athens 0; Benfica 1 Ajax 1; Lyon 2 Hoffenheim 2; Manchester City 6 Shakhtar Donetsk 0; Plzen 0 Real Madrid 5; Juventus 1 Man United 2.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus shows the match ball to fans after scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League Group F match against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad stadium yesterday. City won 6-0.