Guardiola’s team may now devote their attention to domestic problems.
Manchester City have all but confirmed their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals as they flew out of Portugal on Tuesday night after thrashing Sporting CP 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
Guardiola has yet to win the Champions League since leaving Barcelona, and his lack of success at both Bayern Munich and now Manchester City is frequently used as a criticism of his managerial career. But the Catalan can already start to look ahead to the last eight of this year’s competition.
Only seven minutes had elapsed when Riyad Mahrez tapped in from close range after Kevin De Bruyne had seized on a saved Phil Foden shot to set him up.
The lead was doubled 10 minutes later, this time by Bernardo Silva, who did so in spectacular fashion. With an unstoppable volley off the crossbar, the Portuguese took the game to the opposition.
Just after the half-hour mark, Mahrez turned provider for Foden, who assisted in City’s third goal. Mahrez made his way through the middle on the right and found Foden with a cross that the Englishman calmly tapped in after setting himself up in the box.
Bernardo Silva scored his fourth goal of the game just before halftime, this time converting after Raheem Sterling found him with a beautiful cutback pass. Five minutes into the second half, he had the ball in the back of the net again, but VAR judged he was offside, depriving him of his hat-trick.
Not one to let his guard down, he turned provider for Sterling’s fifth goal, which was possibly the best of the night, to keep the momentum going. Having received the ball from Silva, Sterling unleashed a thunderous drive that found its way into the far corner of the goal.
Sporting were given a free pass despite the fact that City remained banging on their door, hoping for more. The second leg of the tournament will take place on March 9 in Manchester.