City in seventh heaven after goal rush embarrasses sorry Schalke
Manchester City 7 Schalke 0 (Man City win 10-2 on aggregate)
No team has scored more goals in the Champions League this season, and few will march into the quarter-finals with quite so much certainty as Manchester City who disposed of Schalke by the kind of aggregate score that felt like an embarrassment for the visitors by the end.
Ten goals over the two games, seven on the night and 26 in eight games for Pep Guardiola's side who reduced their German visitors to a frazzled husk by the end of the game.
The men from Schalke in high-viz green were dreadful, caught in the glare, one had to suspect, of the reputation of their opposition as well as the memory of City's last-minute ten-man win in Gelsenkirchen two weeks earlier.
This might not have had the drama of their cross-town rivals' miracle in Paris but it did have the looming certainty of a team very much tuned up for this competition. Former Schalke players Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan did much of the damage.
City reach the last eight in Europe's top club competition for only the third time in their history but never before with quite so much confidence. The goals flooded in after a slow opening, and Schalke cracked badly as six City players shared the goals around them. The first two from Sergio Aguero and another for Sane before half-time did not prompt any great change of direction from Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco and his beleaguered players lost their way completely. Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and then the substitutes Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus scored the four after half-time against a team that barely knew which way was up by the end.
There was a role for the video assistant referee too, the Frenchman Nicolas Rainville, who presided over a clear evening in Manchester in which he took his time considering the decisions of the on-field officials.
There were a couple of waits in the first half while he watched the replays and the rest of the attendees had to twiddle their thumbs. Rainville overruled his colleagues significantly once, judging that Sterling's fine volley on 56 minutes had been onside.
It was over in the blink of an eye within seven first-half minutes when City finally reached the speed of play that Pep Guardiola had in mind when he cajoled and berated his players towards the end of an uneventful opening half an hour.
As for Schalke, they were neither parking the bus nor trying to drive it at full speed through their illustrious visitors' midfield. Their fans had noisily occupied many of Manchester's pubs and open spaces during the day but the team itself seemed only to creep into the Etihad Stadium. There was no clear idea of what they were supposed to be doing - strange given that the tie was hardly out of reach - and once City found their mojo it was over.
In the end the strings were pulled by Gundogan who played a role in all three of the first-half goals.
It was his ball clipped over after half an hour for Bernardo Silva to run on to when the Portuguese playmaker felt an arm from Jeffrey Bruma thrust across his chest. The French referee Clement Turpin was slave to the video assistant referee all night, waiting for his own decisions - and those of his assistants - to be laboriously checked. The penalty was given and Aguero let 'keeper Ralf Fahrmann fling himself to his left before brushing a panenka to the net. (© Daily Telegraph, London)