Manchester City found their Champions League mojo as David Silva and Bernardo Silva both scored in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in Kharkiv on Tuesday, with manager Pep Guardiola hailing an “outstanding” performance.
Guardiola’s men have now won back-to-back matches in Europe after a shock opening loss to Lyon, and lead the French side by one point at the top of Group F after their thrilling 3-3 draw at Hoffenheim.
“In Europe, 0-3 – we were outstanding. We created a lot of chances,” the Spaniard told BT Sport. “It was an amazing result.”
The English champions could potentially secure a last-16 spot if they beat Shakhtar in the return match at the Etihad in a fortnight’s time as they bid for a maiden Champions League triumph.
“If we are able to win the next game Shakhtar will be out,” added Guardiola. “After our defeat in Lyon we were under pressure. I’m very pleased with our performance.
“We are together three seasons and we know each other much better. It’s normal when you have three years together you are better than the first year.”
David Silva put City ahead on the half-hour mark, before Aymeric Laporte doubled the advantage and Bernardo Silva scored just two minutes after coming off the bench.
Guardiola was able to give Kevin De Bruyne his first start of the season after the midfielder returned as a substitute against Burnley on Saturday following a two-month layoff with a knee injury.
City, the bookmakers’ favourites for the European crown this term, started far better than in the two previous games which had seen them beaten 2-1 at home by Lyon and need a late David Silva winner to edge out Hoffenheim.
Riyad Mahrez fired wide midway through the opening half, before David Silva saw a header bounce away off the post.
But the Spanish winger made no mistake just seconds later, as he reacted quickest after Gabriel Jesus’ shot was blocked and fired a magnificent volley low into the bottom corner.
DE BRUYNE THE CREATOR
The visitors did not need to wait long to pull further clear, and De Bruyne was the creator.
The Belgian’s vicious 35th-minute corner was cleverly headed home by a totally unmarked Laporte, who did well to focus on the ball as John Stones leapt in front of him.
City continued to dominate after halftime, with David Silva seeing an effort cleared off the line and both Mahrez and Nicolas Otamendi shooting off target.
But the third goal arrived with 19 minutes to play as Bernardo Silva waltzed through the middle of the Shakhtar defence and drilled the ball in off the inside of the post.
Visiting goalkeeper Ederson Moraes kept out a late effort from Junior Moraes to preserve his clean sheet, as City claimed successive Champions League victories for the first time since winning their first five group-stage games last season.
“We are playing better every game,” said David Silva, who has now scored four goals this season. “We need to improve a little bit more. If we play like this we will get more points.” (Supersport)