07 Dec, 00:50
It has taken 29 games and seven-and-a-half months, but Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City finally tasted defeat on a freezing night in Ukraine.
City’s imperious run at home and abroad came to an abrupt halt here in the Metalist Stadium at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk and a Brazilian contingent who ripped them to shreds in the first half. A first defeat since losing the FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal on April 23 was not a total surprise in what was essentially a dead rubber for City.
Guardiola rested players to avoid unnecessary injuries ahead of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Sunday against a very capable Shakhtar side still fighting for their Champions League lives.
But the manner of it will concern the City boss who will not have enjoyed seeing his team so comprehensively outplayed. So too will the fact that it follows three unconvincing Premier League wins over Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham.
Guardiola stood solemnly on the touchline, his breath visible in the cold night air as he screamed instructions, but to little avail.
City were two down by half-time and well on the way to a rare defeat after winning 21 of their 22 games this season.