Man City Thrash Schalke 7-0 To Qualify
Manchester City thrashed Schalke in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie to confirm their passage to the quarter-finals.
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring from the spot and added a second three minutes later when Raheem Sterling’s backheel set him up from six yards.
Leroy Sane drilled in the third and picked up a hat-trick of assists after the break as City ran riot.
Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus also scored.
After slotting into the far corner in the first half, Sane set-up Sterling with a wonderful curling cross that the England forward smashed into the top corner.
Silva pounced on Sane’s cut-back to make it 5-0 before substitute Foden rounded the goalkeeper after he was played in by the German winger. Jesus made sure he had a slice of the pie with a late curling strike.
City, who came from behind in the first leg in Germany to win 3-2, were knocked out in the quarter-finals of last year’s competition by Liverpool and have never won the Champions League.
The draw for the last eight will take place on Friday at 11:00 GMT.
City coming of age in Europe?
Raheem Sterling has played 38 games in all competitions for Manchester City this season
Manager Pep Guardiola said before this match that City were only “teenagers in the competition” but they were ruthless in this tie and displayed the confidence of seasoned European veterans.
Schalke never looked like scoring and the tie was as good as over the moment Aguero nonchalantly chipped the ball down the middle from the penalty spot.
City were full of creativity and flair – traits epitomised by the fourth goal created by Sane, whose delightful, curling cross was smashed home by Sterling.
The only impediment to City’s progress was a number of time-consuming VAR reviews, which were met with boos from fans inside the Etihad.
Aguero’s second goal was reviewed for over two minutes but Sterling was comfortably onside when Ilkay Gundogan fed a lovely ball in down the right.
Sane had a goal ruled out after he rounded the goalkeeper only to be deemed offside by VAR, and Sterling’s thunderous fourth goal was also reviewed but the correct decision stood.
It was a performance that underlined why City are considered among the favourites to win the competition for the first time.
A number of elite clubs have already been knocked out – Paris St-Germain were outdone by an inspired Manchester United comeback and holders Real Madrid were stunned by Ajax at the Bernabeu.
With one of Bayern Munich and Liverpool certain to drop out on Wednesday evening, Guardiola will be growing ever more confident in the hunt for his third European title.
Will Gundogan sign up?
Ilkay Gundogan has featured in six of Man City’s eight Champions League games this season
Midfielder Gundogan said there was “no decision yet” on whether he will sign a new contract to extend his stay at City, but fans will be hoping he does after this performance.
He was outstanding from start to finish – spraying passes all over the pitch and splitting the defence with intelligent balls over the top.
Sane may have picked up three assists but Gundogan had a key hand in three goals himself.
It was his inch-perfect ball that led to the penalty being awarded as Bernardo Silva was bundled over by Jeffrey Bruma.
He played Sterling in down the right before the England forward’s backheel set up Aguero’s second goal, and his pass to Sane created the third.
City could have hit double figures on the night with the chances Gundogan created – an outside-of-the-foot pass to Sane was dragged wide and a one-two with Sterling was kept out by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann at the near post.
With Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne out injured, City will have no concerns over the depth of talent at their disposal with the likes of Gundogan able to come in and provide such quality.