MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City secured qualification for the Champions League knockout rounds despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk. With the point, Pep Guardiola’s side are guaranteed top spot in Group C thanks, in part, to Atalanta’s victory over Dinamo Zagreb. Ilkay Gundogan gave City the lead in the second half before Shakhtar substitute Manor Soloman equalised four minutes after coming on.
City are through and have secured top spot with a game to spare. They didn’t have the usual zip about them but as far as the Champions League group stage is concerned, it’s job done. It’s the seventh year in a row City have qualified for the knockout rounds and while their aim these days is to win the competition, it’s an achievement that should not be overlooked.
Why wasn’t Phil Foden playing? City’s squad is becoming more and more stretched but Foden has not started a game for nearly a month. Guardiola says repeatedly the 19-year-old is ready to play, so why didn’t he, given this looked like a perfect opportunity for the midfielder to get some valuable minutes? There is talk around the club that David Silva will not be replaced when he leaves in the summer and Foden will be asked to fill the void but that seems fanciful when you consider he has made just three starts this season.
Manager rating (out of 10)
6 — Guardiola made five changes from the team that beat Chelsea as he heads into what he calls the “toughest part of the season”. His team did enough but that was about it and he will want to see a return to their devastating best sooner rather than later. Foden’s introduction was cheered loudly by the home fans and there are signs of frustration that the teenager is not playing more often.
Player Ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Ederson, 6 — Made an awful mistake when he rushed out of his area to clear a long ball but instead only succeeded in kicking thin air and presenting Tete with a golden chance.
DF Joao Cancelo, 5 — The Portuguese full-back didn’t offer much going forward and wasted some good positions when he was given the chance to cross.
DF Angelino, 5 — Had his hands full with the pacy Tete down the left. Didn’t get much help when Shakhtar broke quickly in the build up to Solomon’s equaliser.
DF Fernandinho, 7 — Wonderful recovery run to scamper back towards goal and block Tete’s shot after Ederson had raced out but missed his clearance.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 — Right place at the right time to put the ball into an empty net and give City the lead after good work from Gabriel Jesus.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 — Looked the most likely to create something during a lacklustre first half with his delivery from the right. Substituted midway through the second half.
FW Bernardo Silva, 5 — Back in the team after suspension, but like most of City’s forwards, he struggled to make any real impact.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 — Recalled with Sergio Aguero sidelined through injury. The Brazilian had been very quiet before picking up De Bruyne’s pass and weaving through Shakhtar’s defence to set up Gundogan.
MF David Silva (for De Bruyne, 69) — Had an effort cleared off the line.
MF Phil Foden (for Rodri, 76) — N/A.