Manchester City wasn’t at its best in a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in UEFA Champions League play at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday,
Ilkay Gundogan scored for the hosts, but Manor Solomon found the leveler late.
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City still claimed Group C thanks to Atalanta’s defeat of Dinamo Zagreb.
Three things we learned
1. Gabriel Jesus calms no-Aguero nerves: The Brazilian’s work on City’s opener was magnificent, and Jesus was good for most of the game. Taking a surgical through ball from Kevin De Bruyne, Jesus worked one man and held off another to lay-off for Gundogan. The German finished well for 1-0.
2. Center back Fernandinho part of what’s missing in midfield: Look, Rodri is going to be an excellent long-term replacement for Fernandinho and was very, very good on Tuesday. He’s also already an important part of the set-up, but Guardiola really needs to consider putting Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones together at center back in order to put his old faithful midfielder back into his prime role and give a not 100 percent fit Rodri some time to heal. It’s a double bonus situation.
3. Dodo (Remember the name): With all due respect to Shakhtar Donetsk, their newly-turned 21-year-old Brazilian is heading for a contender soon and he’s got a chance to become a regular for the loaded national team as well. An integral part of the Shakhtar goal with his dribble and assist, he had three dribbles, two tackles, and an aerial won.
Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus.
There were few early signs of worry for the favored hosts, but a wild miscue from an adventuring Ederson led Tete on goal. Fernandinho slid to get a piece of the goal-bound shot and ultimately the only punishment was an unsuccessful corner.
A similar chance occurred moments later, but this time Ederson slid to beat Tete and made contact with the ball.
All-in-all, though, City was in control though clearly not at its best.
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City’s breakthrough came as the clock hit 56, with Gabriel Jesus doing a boatload of physical labor to set up Gundogan after an incisive Kevin De Bruyne pass.
It was 1-1 within a quarter hour, as Dodo drove the right and slipped a pass through the 18 that was somehow able to reach Israeli forward Solomon for the tie.
David Silva had a shot cleared off the line within a minute of restart, and City will be smiling despite its inability to find a winner; The Premier League champions have a seeded spot for the knockout rounds.