City put four past Basel to close on last eight
Manchester City have one foot in the quarter-finals after a resounding 4-0 win against Basel in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
Runaway Premier League leaders, City – “the best team in the world at the moment” according to their opponents – took just 23 minutes to take control of this tie. İlkay Gündoğan put them ahead with a glancing header, Bernardo Silva added a controlled second and Sergio Agüero a precise third from outside the penalty area. All that in a ten-minute period of devastation.
Gündoğan bent in his second and City’s fourth early in the second half, leaving the visitors content to preserve an advantage which leaves their Swiss opponents with a mountainous task in Manchester on 7 March.
Key player: İlkay Gündoğan (Man. City)
The German international’s ability to pick a pass is well-documented, but in this game he also demonstrated an attacking edge. His determination to get to the ball for the opener was matched by the cool-headedness he displayed in biding his time before dispatching the shot for his second. He contributed when his side did not have the ball too, in what was a textbook modern-day midfielder’s performance.
Reporter talking points
Simon Hart, Man. City: City underlined their status as serious contenders with another show of immense attacking power. They dominated the ball as they normally do and scored some fine goals too – notably the two from Gündoğan. Their tireless pursuit of perfection means they have now scored four times in three different away matches in this season’s competition. To cap another brilliant night for Pep Guardiola, captain Vincent Kompany completed 90 minutes on his first European outing for two seasons.
Ian Holyman, Basel: Having defeated Manchester United in the group stage, there was hope before kick-off that Basel could stun City too. The hosts were outplayed on this occasion, however. The ‘if-onlys’ provoked by some early missed chances are far outweighed by the visitors being untouchable going forward. Raphael Wicky’s side might be forced into damage limitation in a fortnight’s time.
- City enjoyed 69% possession and completed 754 passes to Basel’s 335
- Agüero has scored in all four UEFA Champions League away games this season
- The Argentinian has 14 goals in 11 games this calendar year
- Kevin De Bruyne has four assists in this season’s competition