Manchester City underlined why they are favourites for a maiden Champions League title as they put on another dominant display to sweep aside Borussia Monchengladbach for a 19th successive win.
Pep Guardiola’s team were far too good for their meek last-16 opposition in Budapest, and perhaps should have added to the first-leg lead given to them by Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus.
A lack of cutting edge could be the only criticism levelled at City in a match they controlled completely.
Silva headed in a wonderful cross from Joao Cancelo to open the scoring, before the same two players combined to lay on the second for Jesus.
Gladbach, appearing at this stage of the competition for the first time in 43 years, had no answer and would need something close to a sporting miracle to turn the tie around when the sides meet in Manchester on 16 March.
Is this City’s year?
Holders Bayern Munich may well have something to say about City being favourites for this year’s competition – but their fellow German side were rendered voiceless in Hungary.
Gladbach, no doubt handicapped by not being allowed to play at home because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, barely laid a glove on Guardiola’s side. They struggled to get out of their own penalty area at times, never mind into City’s, as the visitors pressed mercilessly.
Only Bayern (18) scored more goals in this season’s Champions League group stage than Gladbach (16) but such was City’s monopoly of possession that goalkeeper Ederson made his sole save in stoppage time.
It is a pattern that is becoming the norm. Never mind conceding, City have only faced nine shots on their goal in four away games in Europe this season. Keep that up and even Bayern will struggle to knock them out.
The runaway Premier League leaders are playing football with such composure, quality and control that they are frequently serving up mismatches and that continued on the continental stage as they wrapped up a 12th away win in a row – a record for an English top-flight club.
Their first-half dominance was rewarded when Cancelo, playing more in central midfield than in his nominal role of left-back, clipped a fine cross from deep which Silva headed down and in.
Jesus should have made it two after the break but took too long to shoot when free in the area, but did then prod home when Silva headed back another fine Cancelo ball.
Kevin de Bruyne was left on the bench throughout and record goalscorer Sergio Aguero was introduced as a late substitute after missing 14 games – and 14 wins – to give City another boost.
They are yet to reach a Champions League final. Is this their year?
More to follow.
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- 18LainerSubstituted forLazaroat 63′minutes
- 23HofmannSubstituted forWolfat 87′minutes
- 13StindlSubstituted forEmboloat 74′minutes
- 14PleaSubstituted forThuramat 63′minutes
- 3Rúben Dias
- 7SterlingSubstituted forMahrezat 69′minutes
- 20Bernardo Silva
- 47FodenSubstituted forTorresat 80′minutes
- 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forAgüeroat 80′minutes
- 17De Bruyne
- Artur Manuel Soares Dias
Match ends, Borussia Mönchengladbach 0, Manchester City 2.
Second Half ends, Borussia Mönchengladbach 0, Manchester City 2.
Attempt saved. Hannes Wolf (Borussia Mönchengladbach) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Ferran Torres (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kyle Walker.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Mönchengladbach).
Substitution, Borussia Mönchengladbach. Hannes Wolf replaces Jonas Hofmann because of an injury.
Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ferran Torres.
João Cancelo (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach).
Substitution, Manchester City. Ferran Torres replaces Phil Foden.
Substitution, Manchester City. Sergio Agüero replaces Gabriel Jesus.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach).
Attempt missed. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan with a headed pass.
Attempt blocked. Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Florian Neuhaus.
Substitution, Borussia Mönchengladbach. Breel Embolo replaces Lars Stindl.
Foul by João Cancelo (Manchester City).
Lars Stindl (Borussia Mönchengladbach) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Riyad Mahrez replaces Raheem Sterling.