Manchester City top group despite Shakhtar draw
Champions League Group C, Etihad Stadium – Manchester City 1 (Gundogan 56) Shakhtar Donetsk 1 (Solomon 69)
A dull 1-1 draw was enough to send Manchester City through to the last-16 as Group C winners in the Champions League. Shakhtar, who played well, are favourites to join them and lead a three-way tussle involving Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb.
City were sluggish throughout the game and it was Shakhtar who had the best chances of the first half, but Tete and Alan Patrick both missed when they ought to have scored.
After half-time, City improved slightly and Ilkay Gundogan put them ahead on 56 minutes following good work by Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus. But 14 minutes later Shakhtar were level, Tete getting in behind Angelino and presenting Manor Solomon, their Israeli substitute, with an opportunity he snaffled gratefully.
Very little happened during the remainder of the game, with a draw an adequate result for both sides. But City who fancy themselves potential champions, will need to do a lot better than this when the knockout stages begin.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal as Rodrigo jumps on top during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at EtihaGetty Images
Have City lost a step? I'm sure they'll still hand out some hidings, and were they to pull it off they'd not be the first good team to win the European Cup once past their best, but City don't look like what they once did: their passing is slower, their pressing is sporadic and the movement is less sharp. Pep Guardiola needs to find a way of rejuvenating his team, though of course it remains a very good one.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Junior Moraes (Shakhtar Donetsk): Tete and Alan Patrick played well too, but Moraes was a constant threat, coming short, running in behind and bringing others into play.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov 6, Dodo 6, Kryutsov 7, Matviyenko 7, Ismaily 6, Alan Patrick 7, Kovalenko 6, Stepanenko 6, Tete 7, Junior Moraes 7, Konoplyanka 5. Subs: Solomon 7, Antonio 6, Sikan 6.
15’ - OH MY DAYS! Ederson comes charging out of his goal to cut out a long ball for Tete ... and misses it! Tete carries the ball into the box but, when the time comes to act, who ignores the man alongside him then restricts his own shooting angle and hits a low one, which the sliding Fernandinho sticks behind for a corner. That was a tremendous oversight.
Tete, Ederson - Manchester City vs. Shaktar DonetskGetty Images
28’ - EEK! Another ball over Angelino's head finds Tete down the right. He slides back to Junior Moraes, who squares to the onrushing Alan Patrick - this is a great chance! - but he leans back and balloons high and wide.
56’ - GOAL! City 1-0 Shakhtar (Gundogan). De Bruyne picks it up at inside-right and curves a nice pass into the box for Jesus, who collects in his stride then drags outside of Kryutsov, before running out of angle and turning to lay back to Gundogan, who takes a touch and passes inside the near post.
69’ - GOAL! City 1-1 Shakhtar (Solomon). Excellent from Shakhtar, who pass through midfield with Kovalenko and Alan Patrick before Junior Moares again frees Tete down the right, who slides in Dodo screeching in overlap. He looks up, crosses, and picks out Solomon, who rams home.
72’ - CLOSE! Otamendi flips a ball over the top for Jesus, who turns at the by-line and feeds Silva; he shoots inside the near post, Stepanenko slides towards the line and scoops brilliantly away.
- Manchester City have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the sixth consecutive season