Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal to open his account for the season and help Manchester City earn a hard-fought 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, while Sergio Aguero missed a penalty.
The star midfielder has been a creative force during City’s terrific start to the campaign and he showed his eye for goal has not left him when he rattled the ball into the top-right corner of the net early in the second half following a tricky first 45 minutes for his side.
Shakhtar arrived at the Etihad Stadium unbeaten in nine competitive games and their contingent of Brazilian players made life difficult for City, with Taison, Marlos and Bernard depriving the hosts of the possession they have become accustomed to enjoying this season.
City tightened their grip on the game in the latter stages and Aguero missed the chance to equal Eric Brook’s record of 177 goals for the club when he had a penalty saved by Andriy Pyatov in the 72nd minute, but substitute Raheem Sterling made it 2-0 when he applied a neat finish to a sweeping attacking move.
The result extended City’s winning streak to seven games in all competitions and they are unbeaten in 10 Champions League home fixtures, this latest triumph moving them three points clear at the top of Group F.
Shakhtar resisted City’s early pressure and showed their quality going forward when Brazilian playmaker Taison played in compatriot Fred for a one-on-one with Ederson after 10 minutes, but the striker lost his footing and the chance went begging.
Belgium international De Bruyne threaded two exquisitely weighted passes in behind Shakhtar’s defence midway through the first half, but first Aguero and then Gabriel Jesus were caught offside as they gave chase.
De Bruyne then missed a great chance when Jesus played him in as he made a diagonal run into the box, but the Belgian snatched at his shot and dragged it wide of the near post.
Shakhtar countered and found plenty of space in the final third, allowing Marlos to curl a shot from the edge of the box that Ederson saved at full stretch, diving to his right.
Marlos turned provider five minutes before the break when he curled a free-kick onto the head of Facundo Ferreyra, who aimed a shot narrowly wide before Sane flashed a shot across the face of goal at the other end.
The second half was just three minutes old when a sloppy pass by Marlos allowed De Bruyne to launch the ball forward to David Silva, who reached the edge of the box before squaring it back to De Bruyne, who unleashed an emphatic shot that flew into the net before Pyatov could get across his goal.
Aguero was given the chance to score his landmark goal when Silva chipped a wonderful pass into the box for him to volley, but Pyatov was equal to the shot, parrying it to safety, and Silva had a claim for a penalty waved away after 65 minutes when Ivan Ordets dispossessed him with a heavy challenge.
Kyle Walker released De Bruyne down the right flank three minutes later and his cross presented Sterling with what looked like a straightforward finish, but the England winger put the ball wide as he slid in at close range.
Ordets collided with Leroy Sane after 70 minutes and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, but Aguero’s penalty lacked power and accuracy, leaving Pyatov to palm the ball away from danger.
Fabian Delph, who had an outstanding game at left-back for City, fired an audacious shot just wide before Sterling had a late spot-kick claim turned down, but he got his name on the score-sheet when he side-footed Bernardo Silva’s cross high into the net to seal the victory in the 90th minute.
Key Opta facts:
– Manchester City have won their opening two Champions League group games in a season for the first time.
– No Ukrainian club has ever won an away game in the Champions League against English opposition (W0 D2 L13).
– City are unbeaten in their last 10 Champions League home games (W7 D3 L0), their longest run without a defeat on home soil in the competition.
– Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 12 games for Manchester City in all competitions (three goals, nine assists).