Thu, Mar 14, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Manchester City crush Schalke to head to quarters

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

Manchester City’s Phil Foden, right, leaps past Schalke 04’s Ralf Fahrmann to score in their UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg in Manchester, England, on Tuesday.

Photo: AP

Pep Guardiola on Tuesday said that Manchester City do not fear any team in the UEFA Champions League after they powered into the quarter-finals with a 7-0 rout of hapless Schalke 04.

City had snatched two late goals to win the first leg 3-2 and they made the most of that fightback with a ruthless demolition job at the Etihad Stadium to clinch a 10-2 last-16 aggregate victory.

Sergio Aguero’s penalty opened the scoring in the 35th minute and the Argentine forward netted again soon afterward before Leroy Sane, who also contributed three assists, struck against his former club.

Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus all scored after the interval to complete City’s biggest home win in the Champions League.

Guardiola’s side, who last month lifted the EFL Cup, remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple, sitting one point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League before this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea City.

“After the first goal we played at a good level. We were serious and we did the job,” Guardiola said.

“In the last 15 minutes of the first half and in the second half we were incredible,” he said, “We were playing quick, dynamic in the transitions and we scored goals.”

The emphatic victory was the joint biggest-ever Champions League knockout stage win, but is unlikely to linger long in the memory given Schalke’s total lack of resistance.

Twice a Champions League winner as Barcelona boss, Guardiola claimed this week that City are “teenagers” in the competition compared with the more established European powers.

They have never won the Champions League, with their best performance a semi-final appearance in 2016 under Guardiola’s predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini.

However, City are one of the favorites to claim the trophy after Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain crashed out and, on this evidence, Guardiola’s players are up for the challenge of showing that they are more mature than he believes.

“When I say we are a teenager team, it doesn’t mean we are not going to fight,” Guardiola said. “The ‘teenagers’ have passion and desire; they are not scared. We are going to try.”

“I won it twice, but I lost seven times. People say you have to win [the trophy], but in one game you can lose against these incredible top sides. We will see how far we will get,” he added.

Amid reports that he is in danger of being dismissed, Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco admitted that it was the worst result of his reign.

“I’m extremely disappointed. We fell apart. It was the worst we’ve had here since I was coach,” he said.

“Of course it hurts. It’s difficult when you lose 7-0 to stand here. The next couple of weeks are going to be difficult,” he added.

Guardiola’s men monopolized possession and their territorial dominance finally paid off 10 minutes before the break.

Ilkay Gundogan clipped a pass into the Schalke penalty area and Jeffrey Bruma bundled over Bernardo, with the spot-kick awarded after being checked by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Aguero stepped forward to nonchalantly chip the penalty down the middle as Ralf Fahrmann dived the wrong way.

That opened the floodgates, as Aguero quickly put the result beyond doubt three minutes later.

Sterling was the provider as he raced onto Gundogan’s pass and pulled the ball back to Aguero, who squeezed his shot past Fahrmann from a tight angle for his 27th goal of the season.

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