Manchester City thrashed Sporting Clube de Portugal 5-0 at the Estádio José Alvalade, the Premier League leaders embarrassing the Lions in Lisbon.
Early goals to Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva established a 2-0 lead, Phil Foden getting in on the act and Silva scoring his second as City ended the contest and the tie before half time.
Sporting couldn’t get near Pep Guardiola’s well drilled side in the second half, Raheem Sterling firing a long distance shot into the top corner to extend City's lead.
Rúben Amorim and his side can have no complaints, the gap between the Portuguese champions and the elite teams in Europe obvious and painfully clear for all to see.
Indeed, the brilliantly effective football displayed by Manchester City showed why they are one of the favourites to win the Champions League and why the Citizens will attract football bettors all over the world looking to find the best online betting site.
Dominance established early
It didn’t take long for Manchester City to display their class, exert their authority and take the lead in Lisbon.
João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva combined to present a chance for Phil Foden, his shot saved by Adán, Kevin De Bruyne picking up the rebound and presenting Riyad Mahrez with an unmissable opportunity.
Sporting came back into the contest with Pedro Porro enjoying plenty of space down the right wing, but the optimism was short lived as Man City extended their lead in the 17th minute.
A corner towards the far post was headed high into the air, Bernardo Silva running onto the ball and smashing an unstoppable half volley off the underside of the bar.
A poor back pass from Rodri presented Pote with half a chance to break clear, but his lack of confidence was evident as he allowed Aymeric Laporte to retreat and make the challenge.
No let up
Riyad Mahrez was continually terrorizing Ricardo Esgaio, and it was from that avenue that Pep Guardiola’s side made it 3-0. Mahrez’s low cross evaded Matheus Reis and Sebastián Coates, Phil Foden on hand to fire past a helpless Adán.
There was going to be no let up from the visitors who made it 4-0 on the stroke of half time. Raheem Sterling got behind Sporting’s defence and found Silva who saw his shot take a deflection and find the back of the net.
City had time for one more attempt before the break, Kevin De Bruyne firing over the bar from the edge of the 18-yard-box.
Second half stroll
It was always going to be difficult to recapture the excitement of the first half and so it proved. Silva thought he had hit his hat-trick after heading home De Bruyne’s cross, but his celebratations were shortlived as he was ruled offside by the VAR.
Manuel Ugarte replaced an ineffective Pote in the 51st minute as Rúben Amorim focused on damage limitation.
Sterling went close to getting on the end of a cross from Mahrez, but he took matters into his own hands and got his name on the score sheet minutes later. Collecting a short pass from Silva, Sterling made space outside the 18-yard-box before firing a fierce shot into the top corner.
Kevin De Bruyne went closest to netting a sixth goal, his free kick taking a deflection which forced Adán to tip the ball over the bar. It was all academic by that stage with City content to cruise to the finish line.
City a joy to watch
Pep Guiardiola’s side were a joy to watch in Lisbon. Man City’s movement, understanding and execution are all first class with players having an almost telepathic understanding of where they need to be and what spaces they need to occupy.
City frequently create overloads, particularly in wide areas where they target vulnerable defenders like sharks smell blood in the water. There was simply no mercy afforded to Sporting, particularly Matheus Reis and Ricardo Esgaio.
Sporting 0-5 Manchester City. City just too good. This is marvellous to experience though. Sporting fans give their team, who have given them so much joy over the past 18 months, the most rousing of sendoffs. These young players will learn from this, painful lesson, as it is. pic.twitter.com/kqFKjV1zWi— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) February 15, 2022
Reality check for Amorim
For all of Sporting’s recent resurgence and domestic success under Rúben Amorim, this was a harsh lesson and a painful reminder that his side remain a significant distance from the elite teams in Europe.
He wouldn’t have wanted to start Ricardo Esgaio in a game of this magnitude, and it was obvious from looking at the team sheet that it was going to be a long evening for the left wing-back.
Sporting’s Champions League aspirations are over, but Amorim and many of players can benefit from this defeat in the months and years to come.
Real supporters show up
Many Sporting 'supporters' had left the stadium long before the final whistle. The ones that stayed showed their class however, standing and cheering in solidarity despite their club being comprehensively outplayed.
It was a touching moment and showed how supporters should act and stand behind their team, even in disappointing defeats to superior opposition.
Final thoughts from the Estádio José Alvalade. Pretty clear conclusions from this one as City outclass the Lions. pic.twitter.com/zhv32CF6L7— Matthew Marshall (@noobzcorp) February 15, 2022