Another day, another victory for Manchester City after they demolished Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie last night. By the half time whistle we’d already seen four goals fly in with Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden putting the champions in full control of the game.
Then, after Raheem Sterling added a fifth, they cruise through to full time and sent a real statement to the rest of the big hitters.
Manchester City tore a hole through Sporting Lisbon with five goals that quite easily could’ve led to more than that. They were, are and will continue to be, one of the most efficient forces in world football. They didn’t quite manage to win the competition last season after falling short in the final but based on everything they’re doing, and everything Pep Guardiola is saying, they are going to be more focused than ever between now and May to rectify their mistakes.
Sporting’s league focus?
Sporting are still in the mix in the race to win the title over in Portugal but with Porto looking strong, and also still having a Europa League tie ahead of them, this could be a blessing in disguise. They’ll be able to focus most of their attention on the Primeira Liga and while they would’ve liked to have given City more of a challenge, they’ll know that this swings the door open for them to put their priorities elsewhere.
Second leg formality
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea that away goals add to the intrigue of European football, the fact that they’re no longer in play wasn’t going to make a shred of difference in this tie. In exactly one month, Sporting will travel to Manchester for the return fixture, and they’ll do so knowing that they’re heading home. City, meanwhile, can afford to put out a fringe team, strengthening their confidence even further.
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