Raheem Sterling went into Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday having produced a superb performance on his previous outing.
At the end of a week in which it is understood he verbally agreed a new deal with City, the forward netted two goals – taking his tally for the club to 50 – and was involved in the creation of three others in Sunday’s 6-1 Premier League thrashing of Southampton.
Here, we assesses how Sterling fared three days on as City thumped Shakhtar 6-0.
THAT PENALTY DECISION
After David Silva tapped in Riyad Mahrez’s delivery to put City 1-0 up, a bizarre moment then saw Sterling play a major role in the hosts doubling their advantage.
The England international latched on to Fernandinho’s pass, took the ball into the area and fell to the ground having kicked the turf as he tried to shoot, with nearby Shakhtar defender Mykola Matviyenko having not touched him.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai’s response, bringing about looks of disbelief on the faces of Shakhtar players, was to point to the spot, and Gabriel Jesus subsequently netted from 12 yards.
It was then thanks to some Sterling magic that City went 3-0 up as he converted his first shot of the match, in the 48th minute. The 23-year-old collected Oleksandr Zinchenko’s pass with his back to goal, turned and got away from a couple of Shakhtar players, advanced towards the edge of the box and sent a fine strike past keeper Andriy Pyatov.
He looked set to score again late on just before Jesus completed his hat-trick, touching the ball beyond Pyatov only to be thwarted by a great interception by Ismaily.
Sterling produced a number of nice touches in build-up play, with perhaps the best coming just after the half-hour mark when he played a delightful through-ball to Jesus who was unable to make the most of a great opportunity, seeing his shot blocked by Sergii Kryvtsov.
While he was not quite as lethal here as against Southampton and unquestionably had some luck when it came to the penalty, there is no doubt this was another very decent display from Sterling.
Jose Mourinho lauded his players after securing a stunning comeback victory that the Manchester United manager milked in front of the Juventus fans.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s magnificent volley had Juve on course for victory but it was the visitors who would land a stunning blow in a Champions League clash to cherish.
Juan Mata’s superb free-kick four minutes from time sent the visitors wild, but the best was yet to come as an Ashley Young free-kick was unwittingly bundled in at the back post by Juventus’ Alex Sandro to give United a last-gasp win.
The 2-1 victory is United’s latest memorable win in Turin and boosts their hopes of progressing from Group H to the knockout rounds.
“Probably when Manchester United had heroics here (in 2003), Manchester United was the best team,” Mourinho said.
“And they (Juventus) are a top team for many years now. They bought that player (Ronaldo), they want to win everything, they can win everything and we are a team where many of the players didn’t play big matches like this in the Champions League.
“So, it is a different situation but it is a fantastic victory for us – a victory that is not just about the points we lost at home, it is about the feeling of how well we played.
“And I think even if this game doesn’t end with a victory, I would have the same feeling that the team played really, really well from the first minute – I repeat – against a super team.”
Mourinho certainly lapped up the moment at the Allianz Stadium. A fortnight on from responding to inflammatory chants from the Juventus fans at Old Trafford by holding up three fingers, representing the treble he oversaw when manager at Inter Milan, he took to the pitch and cupped his ear at full-time.
Jose Mourinho has got the Juventus fans and players rattled at full time! 😬🤬— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 7, 2018
He's enjoyed that one A LOT! 🤫 pic.twitter.com/Gcmuyd3sDo
“Well, do you remember what they did to me? Well, the sign I made is actually not an offence,” Mourinho said.
“This is something more… I just wanted to hear them making comments again or not. Yes, before I said I would not do it but then I did (react).”
You can see why Mourinho got caught up in things on a night where he praised substitute Marouane Fellaini for making “the team alive again”.
The imposing midfielder made his presence felt as the winner went in, with victory injecting new life into their Champions League campaign and providing a great lift ahead of Sunday’s derby clash at Manchester City.
“I think we played this season against Chelsea and Juventus away, the two best teams that we faced this season, and we played very well in both,” Mourinho said. “Very well in both.
“In here, lucky to win in the last minute. Against Chelsea, unlucky not to win in last minute, but we played very, very well and this is what we want.
“We want to play well, we want to go to every stadium and it doesn’t matter the team and we play.
“Then, if they are better than us, they win. If they have more potential than us, they win. If we make mistakes and pay for the mistakes, we lose.
“But I want the feeling that it doesn’t matter where we go, we go to compete and I think this is a feeling that also the Manchester United supporters around the world want to have – switch on the television and it doesn’t matter where we play, they know we are going to compete.
“We will lose matches. Today we could lose, but that feeling of ‘we go to play, we go to try to win’.”
Juventus counterpart Massimiliano Allegri was naturally disappointed after falling to a late defeat on home turf.
“It’s a shame,” he said. “The team produced a good performance but were never able to put them to bed.
“There’s always a risk when you play against the top teams. We give away too many free-kicks in both wide and central areas.
“That said, we’re still top. We have two games left that we can use to ensure we win the group and go through to the last 16.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo believes Juventus should have beaten Manchester United “easily” on a night when the forward’s breathtaking volley counted for nothing.
After outclassing Jose Mourinho’s men at Old Trafford a fortnight ago in a win far more comfortable than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, the Serie A giants looked set to defeat them again.
Ronaldo’s exceptional volley against his former side left onlookers rubbing their eyes in disbelief – as did the late United comeback that would see the visitors seal a remarkable 2-1 win in Wednesday’s Champions League encounter.
“I have seen the replay in the dressing room,” he told Viasat. “I didn’t realise it was a fantastic goal, but I did good movement and I kick with the ball strong.
“I was happy for the goal but we are a little disappointed because we should have won the game easily, by three or four goals.
“Manchester, they didn’t do much, in my opinion. They created two chances, set pieces, I know the English teams they are always looking for the set pieces.
“But we will learn from our mistakes and we are still top of the group so we are good.”
Provided by Press Association Sport