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by James Nalton
Manchester City 6 Shakhtar Donetsk 0
SHAKHTAR Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca is backing Manchester City to go all the way in the Champions League, after his side were ruthlessly brushed aside by Pep Guardiola’s men on Wednesday night.
Gabriel Jesus bagged a hat-trick as City hit their opponents for six for the second game in a row, after their 6-1 win over Southampton on Sunday. The Brazil forward was flanked by the outstanding Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, who scored one each, with David Silva also joining the fun.
Shakhtar were the only team to beat City in the group stage last season, but they didn’t stand a chance here.
“I think they can go very far, they are a machine,” Fonseca said. “To score so many goals is not easy, City is an amazing team and I think they can win the Champions League.”
The opener came courtesy of Mahrez’s quick footwork down the right. He sent several Shakhtar players the wrong way and his resulting cross meant Silva couldn’t miss. The Spaniard could have stood still, let the ball hit him, and still scored.
Sterling had a slice of luck in the first half. Dribbling into the area the England forward kicked the ground as he lined up a shot, but the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Sterling didn’t appeal for it and even Guardiola could see from the touchline that it wasn’t a foul. Jesus didn’t care, stepping up and burying the spot kick
Fonseca didn’t use the decision as an excuse for his team’s performance, but he said what everyone else was thinking.
“It’s difficult to speak about the penalty after a result like this, but the penalty is ridiculous,” he said. “It wasn’t because of the penalty we lost the game, but the penalty was ridiculous.”
Guardiola agreed and believes the officials need help in this situation.
There was nothing lucky about Sterling’s goal, however. He received the ball from Oleksandr Zinchenko just inside the opposition half and beat several Shakhtar players before finishing excellently with a powerful curling effort.
When Taras Stepanenko fouled David Silva in the box, Jesus stepped up again to blast his penalty into the roof of the net, and Mahrez finished following a ball over the top from substitute Ilkay Gundogan to make it five.
The rout was completed, as was Jesus’s hat-trick, when he lifted the ball over Andriy Pyatov from Mahrez’s pass, all but sealing City’s progression to the knockout stages. They are six points ahead of third-placed Hoffenheim at the top of Group F with two games to play, and have a goal difference of plus-nine, compared to minus-one for the German side.
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