Manchester City Will Never Have a Better chance of Champions League Glory - they have Come of age in Europe

Ruthless City demolished Basel on Tuesday night to make the return leg a formality and they will fear nobody in the competition

This is why Manchester City have been installed as ­favourites to win the Champions League.

Pep Guardiola might not like to admit it, but with City in this kind of irresistible form, they will never have a better chance of ­landing a first ­European Cup.

Tougher tests and more dangerous ­opponents lie ahead in the tournament, but the ruthless ­manner in which City demolished Basel showed Guardiola’s team have come of age in Europe.

They have made the return leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 7 a formality, the margin of ­victory here allowing Blues boss Guardiola to rotate his squad and give key players vital rest ahead of the sterner ­challenges in the weeks and months ahead.

City’s players celebrate 
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola 

An unassailable 16-point lead at the summit of the Premier League means he can focus his attention on the ­Champions League, which has assumed such importance for City as they look to win it and take their place alongside Europe’s elite clubs.

Much will depend on who they draw in the quarter-­finals, but with Guardiola’s side in such ­formidable form, they will surely fear no-one. And, having finally beaten Barcelona last season, they have proved to themselves they can take on the very best in Europe and win.

City arrived at St Jakob-Park looking to avoid the fate that had befallen Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United twice in ­losing to Basel in the Champions League. But any notion of City going the same way as their flaky ­Premier League colleagues was swiftly and brutally crushed.

Gundogan heads City ahead 
The German speaks to Kompany
Skipper Vincent Kompany, who ahead of the game claimed City were finally ready to go all the way in the Champions League, was handed his first ­appearance in the competition since May 2016.

Kompany’s previous last ­appearance in the Champions League came in the semi-final, second-leg 1-0 defeat at Real ­Madrid, in which the City ­defender lasted 10 minutes ­before injury struck.

But here Guardiola favoured the experience of Kompany over the potential of £57million new signing Aymeric Laporte.

The first chance of the game was conjured by City, Bernardo Silva crossing for Ilkay ­Gundogan, whose goalbound header was tipped over the bar by Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik.

Predictably, City dominated possession from the start, ­pegging Basel back in their own half, with the hosts forced to adopt a policy of containment as the visitors tested them ­defensively.

Basel were denied what looked a legitimate penalty shout in the 11th minute when Dimitri ­Oberlin looked to have been ­deliberately body-checked by Nicolas Otamendi.

But referee Jonas Eriksson saw no transgression and Basel found themselves a goal down three minutes later, Gundogan getting ahead of Fabian Frei to head in a Kevin De Bruyne corner at the near post.

Bernardo Silva adds a second 
Silva celebrates his goal 

City doubled their lead four minutes later, Raheem Sterling’s cross glancing off the head of Leo Lacroix and falling to Silva, who chested the ball down ­before producing an exquisite volley beyond the ­despairing reach of Vaclik.

Basel were still reeling from that double blow when Sergio Aguero decided to get in on the act, seizing on a loose ball to plunder his 198th City career goal, and 29th of the season, with an unstoppable 25-yard shot low into the corner.

City went into the break 3-0 up, with their stat of 74 per cent possession in the first-half ­confirming their complete ­dominance. Basel threatened briefly five minutes after the ­restart, Mohamed Elyounoussi forcing a fine save at full-stretch from Ederson with a angled ­effort – but that was as difficult as it got for the visitors.

 
Ilkay Gundogan celebrates with Sergio Aguero 
Manchester City celebrate

Gundogan duly claimed his second of the night in the 53rd minute, collecting the ball from Aguero and sending Frei the wrong way to create enough space to curl a majestic shot past the hapless Vaclik.

The Basel keeper denied ­Germany star Gundogan his hat-trick with a close-range save in the 74th ­minute – one of the few things he got right on a wretched night.

Ederson had to be alert to stop an Oberlin free-kick but City saw out the game comfortably, taking ­another significant step towards the holy grail of ­Champions League glory.

You might be interested in

Comment (48)

  1. I simply want to tell you that I’m beginner to blogging and truly enjoyed this website. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You surely have awesome writings. Cheers for sharing with us your web-site.

  2. Good ¡V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

  3. The Zune concentrates upon becoming a Transportable Media Player. Not a net browser. Not a game machine. Maybe inside the future it’s going to do even better in those people areas, yet for now it is a extraordinary path in direction of set up and listen in direction of your audio and motion pictures, and is without the need of peer within just that respect. The iPod’s advantages are its world wide web checking out and purposes. If all those stable added powerful, maybe it is your great final decision.

  4. May I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody that truly understands what they are talking about on the web. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  5. What i don’t understood is actually how you are not actually much more neatly-appreciated than you might be right now. You’re so intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably in the case of this topic, produced me in my opinion consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be fascinated unless it¡¦s one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times take care of it up!

  6. I cling on to listening to the rumor speak about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

  7. I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  8. I happen to be commenting to make you know what a superb encounter my child found browsing your web site. She discovered a good number of things, which included how it is like to possess a very effective coaching character to have the mediocre ones with no trouble have an understanding of selected impossible things. You actually did more than visitors’ desires. Thanks for distributing such valuable, dependable, explanatory not to mention fun tips about that topic to Janet.

  9. Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your website in internet explorer, could check this¡K IE still is the marketplace leader and a big component to other folks will omit your magnificent writing because of this problem.

  10. Whats up very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally¡KI am happy to search out so many useful information here in the put up, we’d like develop extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  11. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site :).

  12. I do consider all the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They’re really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  13. Between me and my husband we’ve owned a lot more MP3 gamers around the years than I can rely, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, and many others. But, the last few decades I have solved down towards 1 line of gamers. Why? Because I was delighted in the direction of uncover how well-designed and entertaining to seek the services of the underappreciated (and broadly mocked) Zunes are.

  14. Wow! This can be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Fantastic. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  15. I¡¦m now not certain where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thank you for wonderful info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  16. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *