Paulo Fonseca’s Shakhtar Donetsk became the first team to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in any Competition this season in the last of the Champions League Group F ties last night.
The hosts took the lead early in the first-half with Bernard getting on the scoresheet and Ismaily doubling the advantage just six minutes later, City, in danger of losing their 19-game winning streak, went in desperate search of salvation.
But, they could only muster up a late Sergio Aguero constellation goal at The Metalist Stadium sending shockwaves through the World of Football, as the unbeaten had finally become the beaten in the most unlikely of places.
The Miners’ historic victory secured second spot in Group F ahead of Napoli, who were defeated by bottom-placed Feyenoord yesterday evening, by six points, while The Citizens top the Group by just three points leaving both sides to eagerly await the outcome of Monday’s Round of 16 Draw.
From the start in a freezing Ukraine, Shakhtar Boss Paulo Fonseca decided on just two alterations from his side’s 2-0 home Ukrainian Premier League triumph over NK Veres Rivne on Saturday.
One of them came in defence as right-back Ivan Petryak departed in favour of Bohdan Butko and in attacking midfield, Skipper Taison replaced Ukrainian International Viktor Kovalenko.
Meanwhile, visiting Manager Pep Guardiola made wholesale changes to his starting Xl in the wake of the narrow Premier League win over West Ham United at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening, six on them to be precise.
Coming into the team was youngster Oluwatosin Adarabioyo, Skipper Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, IIkay Gundogan, England U17 World Champion Phil Foden and prolific striker Gabriel Jesus, they took the places of Kyle Walker, goal-scorer against The Hammers Nicolas Otamendi, star man Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and joint-top City top scorers for the season Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.
On an atmospheric evening in the City of Donetsk, The Moles would dictate most of the early play as Guardiola’s men looked a changed side over 2,000 miles away from home comforts.
After sustained early pressure, the home side their deserved reward on the 26-minute mark and what a moment it would be for Bernardo with his third UCL goal of the campaign.
Picking the ball up on the left side, the Brazilian International drove at the City defence and unleashed a stupendous curling effort that curled into the far top corner of a stunned Ederson between the sticks to raise the roof on The Metalist.
It would take Shakhtar all of a minute to have the visitors defending for their lives once more as a stray Eliaquim Mangala pass gifted it to Taison who found Bernard on the break, his shot being smartly saved by Ederson.
But, the Brazil star would soon be picking the ball out of his own net once more after another moment of pure genius.
Marlos, formerly of Sao Paulo, was able to pick out Ismaily with a simply brilliant ball over the top of a make-shift Blue Moon defence leaving the tacker to round the keeper and finish into an empty.
The away side’s hopes of finishing The Group Stages as the 100% side were now slipping fast and they needed something and almost got it when Foden slipped Sterling in with Andriy Pyatov able to gather.
At the other end, the team in orange and black looked the most likely to claim the game’s next goal as Taison fired just over from the edge of the box, meaning there was no further score before the break.
Blue Moon signalled their intent pretty early in the second period after Leroy Sane forced Pyatov to keep out his volley just seconds into it, however, The Citizens were lacking their usual creative nature.
And the next clear-cut chance had to wait till the closing stages as starlet substitute Brahim Diaz did well to puck out Jesus from the left side if the box, his effort striking the post.
It just wasn’t to be City’s night, their only moment if positivity coming in added-time when Jesus was brought down by Butko in the wake of a goalmouth scramble, Referee Benoit Bastien pointing straight to the spot.
All-time top scorer for The Sky Blues Aguero duly converted the spot-kick but it was far from enough to prevent his side’s first defeat at the 29th time of asking.
Attention will now switch back to Domestic League action for both parties as The Miners face off with Zorya Luhansk at home in Ukraine’s Top-Flight on Sunday evening.
Whereas, Guardiola’s elite class will be looking to break a PL record for most wins on the bounce, 14 when bitter rivals Manchester United will be the opposition at Old Trafford in four days’ time for a top of the table clash.