Sporting Lisbon vs Manchester City. UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round.
Estadio Jose AlvaladeAttendance48,129.
Match report as Man City all-but confirm their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Lisbon; Bernardo Silva scored twice while Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling were also on target
Wednesday 16 February 2022 09:09, UK
Manchester City underlined their status as Champions League favourites with a ruthless 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Lisbon to effectively book their place in the quarter-finals.
City, runners-up last season, blew Sporting away with a rampant first-half display at the Jose Alvalade Stadium as they became the first side in the competition's history to lead by four goals at the halfway point of a Champions League knockout game.
The rout began when Riyad Mahrez turned home a Kevin De Bruyne cut-back (7), with VAR overturning the initial decision to rule the goal out for offside following a lengthy check.
Bernardo Silva, one of four players in the City team to have previously played for Sporting's bitter rivals Benfica, then doubled their lead with a stunning half-volleyed finish which crashed into the net off the underside of the bar following a corner (17).
The hosts, in the last 16 of the Champions League for only the second time in their history, could not get to grips with City's speed and movement and the punishment continued when poor defending allowed Phil Foden to fire home from Mahrez's low cross (32).
Sporting: Adan (5), Esgaio (5), Coates (5), Inacio (5), Porro (5), Reis (4), Palhinha (5), Matheus (5), Goncalves (5), Sarabia (6), Paulinho (5)
Subs:Tabata (6), Ugarte (6), Neto (6), Slimani (6)
Man City: Ederson (7), Stones (8), Dias (7), Laporte (7), Cancelo (7), Rodrigo (7), De Bruyne (8), Bernardo (9), Mahrez (8), Foden (8), Sterling (9)
Subs: Gundogan (6), Zinchenko (6), Fernandinho (6), Ake (6), Delap (6)
Man of the match: Bernardo Silva
Silva then scored his second as Sporting left him unmarked to fire past beleaguered goalkeeper Antonio Adan with the help of a deflection after a Sterling lay-off (44).
Silva was denied a hat-trick by VAR just a few minutes after half-time when he nodded home De Bruyne's diagonal cross from close-range, only for replays to show he was in an offside position.
There was no let-up from City, however, with Sterling adding a stunning fifth not long afterwards when he cut inside and curled a brilliant effort into the top corner from outside the box (58).
Only then did Pep Guardiola take the opportunity to rest some of his players, with Foden, John Stones and Rodri making way for Ilkay Gundogan, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho. There were also late cameos from Nathan Ake and Liam Delap.
By that point, the contest had been reduced to a training exercise, with Sporting unable to even muster a shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes as the visitors continued to seek openings.
And so Manchester City's quest for Champions League glory continues. On this evidence they will take some stopping.
"Today we were so clinical," Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola told BT Sport. "Every time we arrive in the first 20 minutes, we score.
"We saw in the first five, six or seven minutes how dangerous they were. The difference between the sides is not 5-0. But up front we were so clinical.
"They attack with a lot of players and we punished them on the counter-attacks."
He added: "The players they know me. They know that we can do better. There were a few players who still didn't read well what we have to do in terms of build-up. We can do better.
"It is just a game and a fantastic result. We need one more game to be in the quarter-finals. We will now focus on the Premier League."
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
It had been billed as a potentially tricky tie for Manchester City. Sporting had shown their quality by pipping Borussia Dortmund to last-16 qualification in the group stage. They had only lost once at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in the previous five months.
But Pep Guardiola's side could hardly have made it look easier. As they rattled in the goals in the first half, the beleaguered hosts could only watch in despair. The gulf in quality was vast.
Raheem Sterling's stunning strike made it the joint-biggest win by any side in the history of the Champions League knockout stages and further underlined why City are considered favourites to lift the trophy.
They fell painfully short last season, their 1-0 loss to Chelsea in Porto ensuring their first Champions League final appearance ended in heartbreak. But there has been little evidence of a hangover this season. In fact, they look more determined than ever.
City scored 18 goals in the group stage, including four in two games against Paris Saint-Germain, both of which they won, and with Sterling's fifth against Sporting, they reached 200 in the competition. They are the 14th side to hit the milestone but none have done it in fewer games (97).
The statistics show how City have established themselves in the competition but is this the year they finally go on and claim the prize they covet most? Recent evidence suggests they are entitled to feel optimistic about their chances. The City machine chugs on.
Manchester City host Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday from 5pm, with kick-off at 5.30pm.
The second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Sporting takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, March 9.