Soccer

Man City cruises past Shakhtar in Champions League

AP

Manchester City became the only English club to win its opening Champions League game, beating Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 on Wednesday.

After Chelsea and Liverpool lost and Tottenham drew, City cruised past its Ukrainian opponent. Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan combined for the first two goals, with Mahrez scoring the opener from a rebound after Gundogan hit the post in the 24th minute.

For the second, the roles were reversed. Mahrez cut inside to pass for Gundogan, who shot past Andriy Pyatov at the near post. Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0 on the break in the 76th.

City’s hastily assembled center-back pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and former Shakhtar player Fernandinho — covering for the injured John Stones — held up well. Although Fernandinho, who is normally a midfielder, was perhaps lucky not to give away a penalty with a late tackle.

It is the third season in a row that City has played Shakhtar in the Champions League group stage. This time the Ukrainian team lacked the attacking firepower of the squad which won 2-1 to end a lengthy City unbeaten run in 2017.

Junior Moraes had Shakhtar’s best chance of the game in the 34th but shot straight at City goalkeeper Ederson when in behind the defense. In the second half, he missed the target with Ederson out of position.

After Dinamo Zagreb surprised Italian debutant Atalanta 4-0 in the other game, City’s chances of qualifying top of Group C only increased.

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