Shakhtar 0 Man City 3: Jesus, Mahrez and Gundogan get Pep’s men back-on-track after weekend humiliation… and defence claim much-needed clean sheet – The Sun

MANCHESTER CITY are going to be without John Stones and Aymeric Laporte for the foreseeable future.

That leaves Nico Otamendi as their only fit senior central defender in the meantime.

But Pep Guardiola says he loves this kind of challenge and the signs here were that he wasn't kidding.

His team brushed off the problem in impressive fashion here against their familiar foes.

Veteran midfielder Fernandinho, 34, stepped into the heart of the defence with a minimum of fuss.

And the Brazilian – up against his old club – looked as though he has been playing there all his life.

Meanwhile his team-mates further up brushed off their shock defeat at Norwich to get back on track.

Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan teamed up for two first half goals which ensured City got their latest European campaign off to a flier.

And late on Gabriel Jesus got on the scoresheet as City won at a canter in what – in theory at least – is their hardest game of the group.

For a third successive season, City were paired with the Ukrainian champions – who currently play their home games in Kharkiv.

Last year they made light work of them – winning 3-0 here before scoring six at the Etihad a couple of weeks later.

But this has been a difficult few weeks for Pep Guardiola's men – with all the talk pre match about how they will cope with the loss of Stones and Laporte.

With Vincent Kompany also out of the door, the City boss is facing a huge test over the next few weeks.

But ever since he arrived in England over three years ago, Guardiola has insisted Fernandinho would make a good centre back.

IF there was a bit of trepidation among the City squad, it didn't show.

Inside the first minute, Kevin de Bruyne floated over free-kick, Rodri got his header all wrong and put it wide.

Gundogan failed to make the most of some good approach play by Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker.

But the German was heavily involved as the visitors did take the lead halfway through the first half.

He took a clever pass from Jesus and curled a left-footed shot which smacked the post and bounced out to Mahrez who scored with ease.

Record signing Rodri was nutmegged as Taison breezed past him before playing through Junior Moraes.


Group A

Club Brugge 0 – 0 Galatasaray

Paris Saint Germain 3 – 0 Real Madrid

Group B

Olympiakos 2 – 2 Tottenham

Bayern Munich 3 – 0 Red Star Belgrade

Group C

Dinamo Zagreb 4 – 0 Atalanta

Shakhtar Donetsk 0 – 3 Man City

Group D

Atletico Madrid 2 – 2 Juventus

Bayer Leverkusen 1 – 2 Lokomotiv Moscow

The Brazil born forward was clean through but – under pressure from Fernandinho – his shot was parried by Ederson.

And that proved to be a key moment as soon afterwards City doubled their lead with a goal typical of them.

Rodri's pass out wide was superbly collected by Mahrez who rolled it perfectly into the path of Gundogan.

The German did not have to break his stride and scooped it over Pyatov.

It could have got better still for the visitors as Jesus produced an incredible pass to send De Bruyne clear but he slid his shot the wrong side of the post.

And just before the interval Sterling curled an effort inches over the bar as the visitors looked to put the tie beyond doubt.

City are beginning their ninth campaign in this competition and have only reached the last four once.

Yet this had been an impressive start to their latest attempt to get to Europe's top table.

And there was no sign of any hangover from the horror show at Norwich on Saturday when Guardiola 's team were surprisingly beaten.

A rare misjudgement from Ederson early in the second half saw Junior Moraes beat him to a ball on the edge of the box – but the forwrad could not get the power or direction on his shot.

It looked like a breakdown in communication between Fernandinho and his keeper – the two Brazilians are going to have plenty of chance to iron things out in the coming weeks though.

At the other end, Gundogan once again got in through the middle only to see Andriy Pyatov deny him.

Alan Patrick then inexplicably presented the ball straight to Sterling who shot against the outside of the post – although to be fair the angle was tight.

The visiting fans would not have to wait long though as another lightning attack saw De Bruyne send Jesus clear with a perfectly weighted pass.

The Brazilian – who scored a hat-trick against Shakhtar last season – flicked his shot past the keeper to put the game beyond doubt.

Guardiola punched the air and headed for the dug-out with a big smile – knowing the job was done.

This season is going to be a test for him – but he is clearly going to enjoy this latest challenge.

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