It definitely wasn’t easy for Manchester City, but the Blues found a way to get a crucial 2-0 win at the Etihad against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. The Blues had a poor first half, then created and wasted a lot of chances in the second half, but still found two goals through Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling to get all three points in a very nervous match.
As expected before the match, the Blues had a lot of trouble with Shakhtar. The Ukrainian side came into the Etihad looking to attack from the first whistle, and they were able to do it through the wings. Marlos on the right along with Bernard and Ismaily on the left were wreaking havoc on the City defense, and if it wasn’t for Fernandinho’s timely tackles and two amazing saves by Éderson, City would have conceded.
When they had the ball, the Blues were very poor with their passing and movement and had trouble with the pressing from Shakhtar. The only real chance came towards the end of the half when Gabriel Jesus put Kevin De Bruyne through on goal, but the Belgian tried to beat Andriy Pyatov and fired the ball wide.
At halftime, City were not at their best and needed a much better overall performance to get the win in the second half.
Pep Guardiola must have said something pretty good at halftime, because City were transformed after the interval, showing more intensity, passing the ball better and finding a goal just two minutes into the final period thanks to a superb strike by Kevin De Bruyne.
The goal made the Blues more confident and they began to dominate possession and force Shakhtar to defend deep inside their half, and the chances started to come. First it was Sergio Agüero who missed a one-on-one with the keeper after a pass from David Silva, and then Raheem Sterling missed a sitter in front of goal following a great cross from De Bruyne.
A one-goal lead against a dangerous team is not really comfortable, and City got a golden chance to make it 2-0 when Ordets fouled Leroy Sané inside the box, but Agüero took a bad penalty that Pyatov easily pushed away. We were in for a nervous 20 minutes at the Etihad, but Pep Guardiola had a very smart instruction for his team: KEEP THE F*KING BALL.
City simply kept possession for the final few minutes and safely kept Shakhtar away from them, and there was still time for Raheem Sterling to double City’s lead on a counter-attack thanks to a great assist from Bernardo Silva. Game over, thankfully.
This definitely wasn’t City’s best performance, but they were good enough in the second half to score the goals and created loads of chances. If it wasn’t for the crazy misses, this would have been another 5-0 win. But if it wasn’t for Éderson in the first half, this could have been a loss too.
Man City: Éderson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva (Gundogan); Jesus (Sterling), Agüero (Bernardo), Sané
Goals: De Bruyne (48’), Sterling (90’)
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos (Dentinho), Taison, Bernard (Petryak); Ferreyra