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Seven-goal City humiliate Schalke

Pin Sergio Aguero scored twice as City thrashed Schalke. AFP
Sergio Aguero scored twice as City thrashed Schalke. AFP

Seven-goal City humiliate Schalke

A sublime performance from Manchester City sent Schalke crashing out of the Champions League.

Two goals from Sergio Aguero, along with strikes from Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus, saw Pep Guardiola's men march into the Champions League quarter-finals with ease. Leading the tie 3-2 after their away leg, City were always favourites to progress, but nobody could have expected the sheer scale of the demolition job they carried out on a sorry Schalke side.

The tone was set right from the off, with Sterling seeing a powerful drive well saved by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann after only 60 seconds. The English winger was involved again ten minutes later, jinking down the right wing before cutting back for Aguero, who inexplicably missed an effectively open goal. After a relatively quiet period, the game sprung to life again with City's opener, which came courtesy of a penalty.

Schalke centre-back Jeffrey Bruma crashed into the back of David Silva as the pair strained to get on the end of an Ilkay Gundogan cross, and French referee Clement Turpin pointed straight to the spot. Aguero made no mistake in setting Schalke's humiliation in motion, chipping a cheeky penalty straight down the middle.

Barely four minutes had passed before the Argentine was on the scoresheet again, latching on to another Sterling cut-back. There was no miss this time, and his poked effort squirmed through Fahrmann's grasp. Critics of VAR will not have been happy at the lengthy delay that followed, with the video referee causing a lengthy delay after the goal while officials checked Sterling hadn't been offside. Despite the winger appearing to be slightly ahead of the defence when receiving the ball, a goal was given anyway, which will only add fuel to the fire of VAR criticism.

Sane added a third just before the break, making a run into the inside-left channel which was spotted by David Silva, who delivered an inch-perfect through ball to put the German clear through on goal. The finish was unerring, and was the winger's second goal against his former club in as many matches. 

If anything, City were even more dominant in the second period. On 55 minutes Sane found Sterling with a fine cross, and the 24 year-old fired a first time shot into the roof of the net. Another pause took place while the referee checked VAR for a possible Sterling offside, but after two minutes' deliberation a goal was correctly given.

Guardiola, seeing that his side were now out of sight, took off veterans Aguero and Silva, both of whom had enjoyed fine matches, and brought on Jesus and Foden. Shortly afterwards Bernardo Silva added a fifth, guiding a Sane cut-back into the bottom-right corner of the net.

Aymeric Laporte was then replaced by Fabian Delph, meaning City had used all three of their substitutions with 20 minutes left to play - a clear demonstration of Guardiola's confidence over the scoreline.

Foden got on the scoresheet on 78 minutes, rounding Fahrmann to make it six, before Jesus rubbed further salt into Schalke's wounds with a beautiful curling effort from the edge of the area. Referee Turpin saw no reason to add any injury time, and so on exactly 90 minutes the match was ended and the visitors were spared any further blushes.

City become the third English team to reach this year's Champions League quarter-finals; it remains to be seen if Liverpool can make it four tomorrow against Bayern Munich. 

Charles Whitehead

Charles Whitehead

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