Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | ePaper
Man City routs Schalke 7-0, into Champions League quarters
AP, England :
Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates after scoring his side's sixth goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg, soccer match between Manchester City and Schalke 04 at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England on Tuesday.
A record-tying victory in the last 16 and a quarterfinal lineup lacking at least three of Europe's top teams suggests this just might be Manchester City's year in the Champions League.
No matter how much Pep Guardiola protests to the contrary.
With a 7-0 thrashing of Schalke on Tuesday that completed a 10-2 aggregate victory, City eased into the last eight of European soccer's most prestigious competition for the third time in four seasons and confirmed its status as one of the favorites - whatever Guardiola might be saying in public.
Even if history is not on their side - Guardiola recently called City a "teenage" side that is "still not ready to fight for the latter stages" - the form of his players certainly is.
Make that 61 goals in 18 games in 2019, with only eight conceded. Perhaps more extraordinarily, it was the seventh time that City has scored six or more goals in a game this season.
"This club, the best success in the history (in the Champions League) is a semifinal, compared to Real Madrid with 13 (titles). Or Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, who have how many? Six, seven, eight?" Guardiola said. "It is why when the people say, 'You have to win, you have to win,' when you are out in the quarterfinals it is a disaster. It is not fair."
But City and Guardiola, the man brought in at huge expense so the Abu Dhabi-backed club can finally conquer Europe, are running out of excuses.
City has arguably its deepest and most talented squad ever. Paris Saint-Germain and titleholder Real Madrid are already out. One of Bayern Munich and Liverpool will be eliminated. Barcelona still has it all to do against Lyon on Wednesday, with the teams locked at 0-0 after the first leg.
There is no denying it has opened up for City.