Man City suffer first defeat of the season at Shakhtar
Champions League Group F, Metalist - Shakhtar Donestk 2 (Bernard 26', Ismaily 32') Manchester City 1 (Aguero 90+2'')
Manchester City slipped to a first defeat of the season after they were beaten 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in their final Champions League group match.
With top spot in Group F already assured, a much-changed City side were no match for a Shakhtar team whose qualification for the last 16 wasn't finalised, with first-half goals from Brazilians Bernard and Ismaily putting the Ukrainians in command. Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time penalty proved to be a mere consolation, as City experienced defeat for the first time in 29 games - not ideal preparation for the Manchester derby this weekend.
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores their second goal from the penalty spotReuters
City’s second string were on the ropes in the first half, with Shakhtar playing some sublime football, and the Premier League leaders were somewhat fortunate to come into the interval just two goals behind.
Firstly, Bernard curled a beautiful strike over Ederson to give the hosts a 26th minute lead, before another Brazilian, Ismaily took advantage of some poor goalkeeping from the City stopper to make it two six minutes later. That is now just one clean sheet in 14 Champions League away ties for City, and was the first time they'd gone 2-0 down in 34 games in all competitions.
After the break, City upped the ante, and created some chances of their own, with Gabriel Jesus coming closest to getting his side back in it, but he could only hit the post from close range. After Jesus had been felled in the box, Aguero stepped up to make it interesting in late on, but there was no time for another.
If City were going to lose one match this season, they’d have picked this, but halting of their winning momentum will certainly please those noisy neighbours ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford.
Will playing Phil Foden out of position have helped his development? There is much excitement about Foden’s potential around the Etihad campus. The best player at the Under-17 World Cup excelled in England’s triumph in India in the middle of midfield, orchestrating things with his array of ball-playing ability. His long-awaited City debut came at Shakhtar as a left wing-back. He showed glimpse of what he could do, but out wide, he looked a little lost at times. In a game of such meaningless significance, if Foden was to be given his chance, should it not have been in his preferred position?
Manchester City's Phil Foden in action with Shakhtar Donetsk's MarlosReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Taison. In front of the Brazil manager, Taison ran the show, and City couldn’t cope with his direct attacking play. His game looked to be over early on as he appeared to pull up with an injury, but he soldiered on, and mustered double the shots of anyone on the pitch. Imagine if he was fully fit?
Shakhtar Donetsk's TaisonReuters
Shakhtar: Pyatov 7; Butko 6, Ordets 6, Rakitskiy 7, Ismaily 7; Stepanenko 6, Fred 6; Marlos 8, Taison 8, Bernard 8; Ferreyra 6... Subs: Khocholava N/A, Azevedo 6, Kovalchenko 6.
26’ - GOOOOOOAAAALLL! Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 Manchester City. Bernard curls a beautiful strike past Ederson to break the deadlock. Great play from Marlos again to carry the attack to City, he lays it off for Bernard, who takes his time, waits for his moment, pulls the ball onto his right foot, before curling a sublime effort over Ederson and into the net. City now have to score twice to deny Shakhtar their knockout dream. .
32’ - GOOOOOAAAAALLL!!! Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Manchester City. Ismaily, another Brazilian makes it two! City are all over the place. City carved open by yet more fine football from the hosts. Super pass over the top from Marlos plays Ismaily in, out comes Ederson, but he does nothing, leaving Ismaily the simple task of nicking the ball around him before slotting into the empty net for his first Champions League goal.
Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian defender Ismaily (C) shoots and scores past Manchester City's Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson (1st-L) during the UEFA Champions League group F football match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester City, on December 6, 2017, at tGetty Images
43’ - SAVE! Foden with a superb ball in behind the defence for Jesus through on goal, but unlike the Brazilian, he dwells on it and goalkeeper Pyatov just about gets a touch on it with his feet to make the block.
79’ - POST! Brilliant play from Diaz as he beats his man, gets to the byline, feeds Jesus, who stabs for goal from a tight angle a yard out, but the ball comes out off the post.
90+1’ - PENALTY TO CITY! Jesus hits the deck in the box under challenge from Butko. Chance for City to get back in this.
90+2’ - GOOOOAAAALLLLL Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Manchester City. Aguero steps up an sweeps the ball into the top corner. Game on!
Despite their defeat this evening, Manchester City finished the group stage with 15 points (W5 D0 L1) – only Spurs this season (16), Manchester United in 2007/08 (16) and Arsenal in 2005/06 (16) have collected more in a single campaign among English clubs in the current format.
Shakhtar Donetsk have now reached the knockout stages in four of their last seven Champions League campaigns.
This was Pep Guardiola’s 100th Champions League game as a manager; while at 46 years of age, he is the youngest to reach a century of games in competition history.