Sergio Aguero’s missed penalty cost him the chance to become Manchester City’s joint-top scorer of all time. It didn’t cost City victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, though
Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling scored either side of Aguero’s saved penalty as City won 2-0 on Tuesday to secure back-to-back victories to open group play for the first time in seven straight seasons in Europe’s top club competition.
“Sooner or later, it was going to happen,” Pep Guardiola said. The City coach said the same about Aguero breaking Eric Brook’s 79-year scoring record for the club. The Argentina striker remains rooted on 176 goals — one behind Brook — after seeing his penalty tipped aside by goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov in the 72nd minute, following Ivan Ordets’ trip on Leroy Sane.
By then, City was 1-0 ahead through De Bruyne, who has been central to the team’s great start to the Premier League and in Europe this season but had yet to score in seven matches. The Belgium midfielder ended that barren run in the 48th minute by collecting David Silva’s short pass across the face of the penalty area and curling a shot into the top corner.
Sterling came on as a substitute and clinched victory in the 90th minute, crashing a finish in off the crossbar after Bernardo Silva had broken the offside trap down the right and squared the ball across the area.
Shakhtar, which opened group play with a 2-1 win over Napoli, posed City problems in the first half at Etihad Stadium with its quintet of technically gifted Brazilians. But it was overwhelmed after halftime by a side that has scored 22 goals in its last five games.
“I think Manchester City hasn’t met a team this year that created them so many problems,” Shakhtar coach Paulo Fonseca said. “It’s difficult to come here and show such courage that my players did today.”
City attacked in waves in the second half and, by the end, could easily have matched the five goals the team scored at Feyenoord two weeks ago. Sterling missed a virtual open goal soon after Aguero’s failure from the penalty spot. Sane, again City’s liveliest attacker, tried to walk the ball into the net late on instead of shooting first time, leading to a bizarre reaction from Guardiola that saw the coach fall backward onto the ground and hold his head in his hands.
In the build-up to the game, Guardiola had talked up Shakhtar as one of the competition’s biggest threats. “We made an extraordinary performance, especially in the second half,” he said. “Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 10 or 15 years is always in the Champions League. It is a top team, that is why I am so satisfied. We beat one of the best teams in the way they play.”
Aguero’s next chance to equaling or breaking City’s scoring record comes at Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.