Competition/Round: 2018/19 UEFA Champions League Season – Matchday 3
Date/Time: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City – Tuesday, 23 October 2018, 20:00 (UK & Nigeria); 15:00 EST, 12:00 PST (USA); 00:00 IST (India)
Venue: OSK Metalist Stadion, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Assistants: Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez, Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar
Fourth Official: Teodoro Sobrino Magán
Live Stream: Fubo TV (USA)
Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK)
The UEFA Champions League is back underway. Group F will see Shakhtar Donetsk host Manchester City on Matchday 3.
Shakhtar Donetsk have won ten of their opening 12 matches in the Ukrainian Premier Liha this season. The Miners have scored 31 goals whilst conceding six, and they are currently undefeated at home.
Their Champions League form, on the other hand, has been poor. The Ukrainian side has only earned two points from a possible six in Group F. Whilst they had to chase the game against TSG Hoffenheim on Matchday 1, the Ukrainians controlled the game in Lyon on Matchday 2. Within the first hour, the Miners lead Olympique Lyonnaise 0-2. A lapse in focus, however, saw the Frenchmen come back into the game and the match ended 2-2. Should Shakhtar hope to progress to the competition’s knockout stages they will need to earn a result against Manchester City.
Like Shakhtar, Manchester City are dominating their domestic league. The Blues are undefeated after their opening nine games in the English Premier League. Moreover, like their hosts, the visitors boast a high goal differential, having scored 26 whilst conceding three. Finally, City are undefeated on the road.
These two sides met in the Champions League last season, and thus should be familiar with one another. Not much has changed in either side’s starting eleven since their previous matchups in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League season.
Shakhtar Donetsk are without Taison, who sustained a knee injury earlier this month.
Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo, İlkay Gündoğan, Eliaquim Mangala and Danilo remain injured.
Pyatov; Matviyenko, Kryvtsov, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Barberan; Marlos, Patrick, Nem; Moraes
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho; Sterling, D. Silva, De Bruyne, Sané; Agüero
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Shakhtar Donetsk will need to earn a result if they have any hopes of progressing to the UEFA Champions League’s knockout stages, let alone the UEFA Europa League. Should they fail to earn a result, they could potentially see themselves drop to the bottom of the group. Moreover, Matchday 4 will see them travel to Manchester in what would surely be a second must-win scenario. Given the form of their opposition, obtaining two victories in as many matches will be difficult. Yet anything as possible. After all, the Miners ended City’s 29 match unbeaten run in 2017.
Manchester City have also struggled in the UEFA Champions League this season, where they lost at home to Olympique Lyonnais. Moreover, City needed a late winner in the match against TSG Hoffenheim to earn their first victory in the group. In other words, City have struggled to replicate their domestic form at the international level.
Given the stakes, it is predicted both sides will seek a victory. Both teams need to be defensively composed, but ultimately these teams need to score if they are to keep pace with their opponents in Group F.
Their recent UEFA Champions League performances suggest this match will be close. City’s experience and prowess, however, will be the difference.
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-2 Manchester City