BBC : Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City: Guardiola's men go top of Champions League group

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Aymeric Laporte heads Manchester City's second goal against Shakhtar Donetsk
Aymeric Laporte is the second player from France to score a Champions League goal for Manchester City after Samir Nasri

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side played the best football of his time in charge as they swept aside Shakhtar Donetsk to go top of Champions League Group F.

The English champions dominated from start to finish, with captain David Silva and defender Aymeric Laporte scoring in the first half before substitute Bernardo Silva sealed the points in Ukraine.

Guardiola, appointed in July 2016, described the performance as "outstanding" and "incredible" as Shakhtar were beaten at home by an English side in Europe for the first time.

"Our first half was the best we have played in the last three seasons, since I've been here," said the Spaniard. "We were outstanding - we created a lot of chances."

Former Spain midfielder Silva volleyed City into the lead soon after his flick had come back off a post.

French defender Laporte headed the second after a corner by Kevin de Bruyne, who was making his first start of the season following a knee injury, before substitute Bernardo Silva made it 3-0 with a shot that went in off the post.

City had 14 shots in the first half alone in Kharkiv, Riyad Mahrez seeing an effort cleared off the line by Yaroslav Rakitskiy when the game was goalless.

Raheem Sterling also hit the bar in the dying moments.

Manchester City's players celebrate scoring against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League
Manchester City have won back-to-back Champions League away games since losing at Liverpool in the quarter-finals last season

City turn on the style in Ukraine

City's surprise 2-1 opening home defeat by Lyon on 19 September seems an awfully long time ago.

Having bounced back with a 2-1 win in Germany against Hoffenheim, the prospect of a long journey to face experienced European opponents was a potentially daunting one.

Yet the 600 travelling fans who made the 4,000-mile round trip were rewarded with a stellar performance and a result that took their team one point clear of Lyon, who had started the day top of the group but were held at Hoffenheim.

"We have recovered well from Lyon and now it's in our hands," added Guardiola.

"We can control our destiny now. It was so important to get this result and we will enjoy tonight and the next few days with this victory."

City had 24 shots in total and at one stage had managed an incredible 98% possession.

On the eve of this game, Guardiola said his side were "not ready" to win the Champions League. Shakhtar are not genuine European heavyweights but City fans who witnessed this delicious performance might disagree with the Spaniard.

The hosts were forced to spend much of the game camped inside their own area as Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and David Silva peppered Shakhtar's goal with shots.

The only surprise was that it took half an hour to break the deadlock, Silva following up his late winner against Hoffenheim with an emphatic finish to set his team on their way.

Laporte was unmarked when he made it 2-0 while Shakhtar's defence parted to allow Bernardo Silva to score just 89 seconds after replacing De Bruyne.

De Bruyne impresses on return

On a night full of positives for City, De Bruyne marked his return to the starting line-up with an impressive performance.

The Belgium midfielder has endured a frustrating campaign through injury but he made up for lost time with an energetic display.

Kevin de Bruyne made his first start for Manchester City since 13 May

De Bruyne set the tone for a lively performance by forcing Andriy Pyatov into an early save following a short corner, before providing the assist for Laporte's goal.

With City coasting, Guardiola replaced De Bruyne with Bernardo Silva with around 20 minutes remaining - the Portuguese responding by scoring for the third successive game for club and country.

Man of the match - Raheem Sterling

There were some excellent individual City performances at the Metalist Stadium. David Silva and Riyad Mahrez were impressive at one end of the pitch while John Stones was solid at the other. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling did everything but score as he teased and tormented the Shakhtar defence from start to finish.

'City were better - much better' - what they said

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca: "We have to admit that City were better - much better. They won in good style. Our players tried to play well and keep the ball but it was not enough to stop a team like City.

"We couldn't do much against City's quality in this game. They played superbly in the first half. We had more possession after the break but it wasn't enough to threaten such a team."

City conquer Kharkiv - the stats

  • Manchester City are the first English side to win away at Shakhtar Donetsk in European competition.
  • Shahktar have kept just one clean sheet in 18 games in the Champions League.
  • Only Sergio Aguero (33) has been directly involved in more Champions League goals for City than David Silva (15 - seven goals and eight assists).
  • This was the first Champions League game City have won without Aguero in the starting XI since October 2017 (2-1 v Napoli).

What next?

Manchester City face two Premier League games - including a trip to Wembley to face Tottenham next Monday (20:00 GMT) - as well as a Carabao Cup tie before they host Shakhtar in the Champions League (20:00 GMT) on 7 November.

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