Sporting Lisbon 0 Man City 5: Pep Guardiola’s Champions League favorites make a statement win, with Silva shining in his return to Portugal.
The away goals rule may have been abolished by UEFA, but Manchester City are not about to stop scoring them.
The contentious law has been suspended for the remainder of the season, and Pep Guardiola’s team have waived it off in style by making history.
They became the first away club in the knockout stages of the Champions League to lead by four goals at halftime.
Bernardo Silva made himself at home in his hometown by scoring twice in yet another enthralling display.
His first one, in particular, was the ideal opportunity for the former Benfica player to retaliate against the home fans’ taunting.
Raheem Sterling struck a stunning second-half goal to move into 10th place on City’s all-time goalscoring record.
Meanwhile, Phil Foden scored his 40th club goal on his 150th appearance for his boyhood club, despite the fact that he is only 21 years old.
It was a night like that for the lovely City.
Guardiola had a bad experience at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in August 2020, when his club was unexpectedly eliminated from the competition by Lyon.
That was one of his biggest losses during his six years in charge, but he’ll never forget his team’s incredible performance.
Sporting had won seven of their previous eight European home matches on the night.
Despite being crushed by Ajax here, they went on to win in front of their home fans against Besiktas and Borussia Dortmund.
They qualified for the last 16 for only the second time, after conceding 13 goals over two legs to Bayern Munich the previous time.
They will be concerned that their total will be surpassed when they travel to the Etihad in three weeks for a dead rubber second leg.
Guardiola said that his four of ex-Benfica players – Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo, and Ederson – were involved in the pre-match team discussion before the game.
And it was evident that it put the visitors in the correct frame of mind because they were ahead after only a few minutes.
Bernardo fed Foden, whose shot was superbly stopped by the goalkeeper. Kevin De Bruyne got the rebound and pulled back for Riyad Mahrez to tap in – but the flag was raised right away.
KdB was declared fractionally onside after a VAR check that appeared to take forever, and City had the perfect start.
What a run the Algerian is on, with goals in eight of his previous nine club matches.
And he’s scored 10 goals in his last 11 outings in this tournament.
Sterling chipped back for makeshift right back John Stones, and City could have extended their lead even further.
The header from the England defender clipped former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates and went agonizingly wide.
The travelling City fans did not have to wait long, as the home defense failed to clear a corner from Mahrez.
It fell wonderfully for Bernardo, but his angled half-volley off the underside of the bar was as sweet as you’ll ever see.
Somehow, the boo-boys were silenced — some even applauded. That was the case.
With an errant pass to Pedro Goncalves, Rodri almost gifted the home side a route back into the tie, but Aymeric Laporte came back to save him.
The home side appeared to be a threat moving forward, but City were able to exploit them on the break, and the third goal came on the half-hour mark.
Mahrez twisted and turned his way down the right flank before slipping a cross beyond the helpless Coates.
It dropped nicely for Foden, who scored a straightforward goal to cap off his historic game.
There was still time for one more before the break, when Cancelo sent Sterling down the left flank.
Bernardo’s shot deflected off Goncalo Inacio and beat Antonio Adan after he crossed for him.
It must have been particularly painful for Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores, to watch her son’s previous club from the stands.
Even she would have had to admit that City’s play was of high quality.
Bernardo believed he had completed an unique hat-trick less than five minutes after the restart when his header from De Bruyne’s cross crept past Adan.
However, a VAR check this time went against City, with the former Monaco man just offside.
The visitors, on the other hand, were unfazed.
Sterling turned the ball onto his right foot just before the hour and curled a beauty into the top corner from the edge of the area.
It was close to Bernardo’s first goal of the night, and it moved him into the top ten of City’s all-time goal scorers with 127.
He also has 24 goals in this competition – Wayne Rooney is now the only Englishman to have scored more.