Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City: New-look defence holds firm for Guardiola's men

Fernandinho made a successful transition from midfield to defence as injury-hit Manchester City beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in Ukraine.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan ran the show from midfield and surged forward at every opportunity, getting himself on the scoresheet thanks to Riyad Mahrez's assist.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City made light of its defensive crisis as Fernandinho filled in adeptly at centre-back and captained the Premier League champion to a 3-0 victory over his former club Shakhtar Donetsk.

Hampered by the absences of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte due to injury, City boss Pep Guardiola named Fernandinho alongside Nicolas Otamendi at the heart of his defence and was able to celebrate a clean sheet despite the odd shaky moment.

Riyad Mahrez scored his first goal of the season to settle City's nerves after 24 minutes and his interplay with Ilkay Gundogan produced the visitor's best moments at the Metalist Stadium.

Gundogan, ably assisted by Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne, ran the show from midfield and surged forward at every opportunity, getting himself on the scoresheet thanks to Mahrez's assist seven minutes before half-time.

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Guardiola warned of the danger Shakhtar posed on the counter-attack in his pre-match comments and Luis Castro's men did manage to set Moraes free on a number of occasions, but the Brazil-born striker failed to carry his impressive domestic form onto Europe's biggest stage.

City rounded off a highly satisfying Group C opener when Gabriel Jesus rolled a third goal home 14 minutes from time to secure a repeat result of last season's clash between these teams on this ground.

City pressed Shakhtar from the outset and Rodri should have done better when De Bruyne's cross hit the back of his head.

Marlos sent a thundering drive flashing past Ederson's net as Shakhtar countered, but City's pressure paid off when Gundogan curled a shot onto the post and it bounced into the path of Mahrez, who guided it into the empty net from close range.

Moraes had a gilt-edged chance to equalise from the corner of the six-yard box but his shot hit Ederson in the chest and City punished his wastefulness.

Rodri's cross-field ball found Mahrez and the Algeria international played in Gundogan, who fired a first-time shot just inside the post with deadly accuracy.

Moraes made a poor attempt to chip Ederson when the City keeper got caught outside his box early in the second half but Raheem Sterling missed an even better chance at the other end, hitting the outside of the post after Sergey Krivtsov gifted him possession 12 yards out.

Jesus made no such mistake when De Bruyne capitalised on sloppy Shakhtar passing and released the Brazilian, who rolled a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net and made certain of his side's winning start in the Champions League.

 

What does it mean? City reign in Ukraine

After becoming the first English team to beat Shakhtar away from home when it triumphed here by the same scoreline last season, City earned a repeat result without a number of key players.

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Gunning for a regular place

Ilkay Gundogan has only started three of City's five domestic games this season but when he is on this kind of form he looks undroppable.

The 28-year-old covered a huge amount of ground, gathered loose balls and ensured Guardiola's men turned defence into devastating attacks with remarkable efficiency.

Shakhtar needs more from Moraes

Shakhtar went into this game knowing chances would be few and far between, but Moraes had more than enough opportunities to get on the scoresheet and squandered them all.

Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta: Orsic treble makes for sorry Champions League debut for Serie A side

Atalanta endured a miserable first game in the Champions League as it lost 4-0 to a Mislav Orsic-inspired Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.

Orsic struck a fine hat-trick after Marin Leovac's opener to bring a stylish end to a run of 11 consecutive defeats in the competition for the Croatian champion.

Dani Olmo's brilliant run led to Leovac's opener, the full-back converting Petar Stojanovic's cross from the right from barely six yards out.

Atalanta's susceptibility at the back was punished again 31 minutes in, Orsic side-footing home a fine finish from the edge of the box after more good work from Olmo and Leovac.

Dinamo fans were in raptures before the break, Stojanovic providing another telling cross that was diverted back across goal by Arijan Ademi, giving Orsic the simple task of nodding the ball into the net.

There was something of an Atalanta response after the interval, with Mario Pasalic volleying wide from a good position, but the miss was about the best Gian Piero Gasperini's side could muster.

Orsic compounded its misery and made it a night to remember for Dinamo, slotting in his third goal in confident fashion after Kevin Theophile-Catherine's hopeful ball caught out the entire Atalanta back line.

Duvan Zapata at last had a couple of openings but Dominik Livakovic produced a brilliant one-handed save to deny the striker before he prodded wide when played clean through.

Key Opta Facts

- Shakhtar has conceded 15 goals in its five meetings with Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League; the most it has conceded against an opponent in the competition.
- City has kept clean sheets in four of its five Champions League matches against Shakhtar, double the amount than it has versus any other side.
- Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, only Real Madrid (84) and Bayern Munich (72) have scored more Champions League goals than Guardiola's City (71).
- Shakhtar has failed to keep a clean sheet in any of its last 17 UEFA Champions League matches (36 goals conceded).
- Since the start of the 2017-18 Champions League campaign, only James Milner (10) has recorded more assists in the competition than De Bruyne (9).
- Mahrez has had a hand in seven goals in seven Champions League appearances for Man City (2 goals, 5 assists).

What's next?

After its shock loss to Norwich, City will hope to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when it entertains Watford on Saturday, while Shakhtar looks to extend its seven-game domestic winning streak at Desna.

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