Manchester City advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 5-0 aggregate victory over Sporting Lisbon after a goalless draw in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side had as good as confirmed their place in the last eight with their five-star showing in last month’s first leg, allowing them to conserve their energy back at the Etihad.
City did create chances, with Raheem Sterling spurning a one-on-one opportunity in the first half and Gabriel Jesus seeing a goal ruled out for offside by VAR soon after the break, but Sporting defended resolutely, returning to Portugal with their pride restored.
Pep Guardiola used the opportunity to rotate his side, making six changes from City’s 4-1 win over Manchester United, with teenager CJ Egan-Riley handed a Champions League debut at right-back.
James McAtee, another academy graduate, impressed after coming off the bench at half-time, while there was also a second-half cameo for back-up goalkeeper Scott Carson, who denied Sporting’s Paulinho a winning goal with a fine one-on-one save after replacing Ederson.
City smashed four goals past Sporting in the first half of last month’s first leg but there was understandably less urgency in their play this time around while Sporting also offered stiffer resistance.
Man City: Ederson (6), Egan-Riley (7), Stones (7), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (7), Fernandinho (7), Gundogan (7), Silva (7), Sterling (6), Foden (7), Jesus (7).
Subs: McAtee (7), Mahrez (7), Carson (7), Mbete (7)
Sporting Lisbon: Adan (8), Luis Neto (7), Coates (8), Goncalo Inacio (7), Matheus Reis (7), Bruno Tabata (7), Ugarte(7), Pedro Perro (7), Paulinho (7), Sarabia (6), Slimani (6).
Subs: Ribeiro (6), Edwards (7), Esgaio (6), Santos (6).
Man of the Match: Antonio Adan
Jesus had an early penalty appeal turned down when he was shoved in the back by a Sporting defender following a set-piece, but the visitors proved difficult to break down.
Sterling went close when he narrowly missed a low Jesus cross at the far post, and he then spurned their only clear opportunity of the first half when Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan stood tall to save his attempted chip after he latched on to Phil Foden’s flick.
Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, right, is challenged by Sporting’s Goncalo Inacio
The half-time introductions of McAtee and Riyad Mahrez for Foden and Bernardo Silva injected some speed into City’s attack, with Mahrez teeing up Jesus for his disallowed strike less than two minutes into the second period.
It was Sporting, though, who looked most threatening as the second half wore on, with defender Matheus Reis blasting an inviting chance over and Paulinho denied by Carson after being sent through by substitute Marcus Edwards.
City created chances to win it in the closing stages, with John Stones sending a header narrowly over and Sterling blasting a diagonal shot into the side netting, but there was never any doubt that Guardiola’s men would be advancing to the last eight, with Luke Mbete, another youngster, also given a late cameo.
When is the Champions League draw?
The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 11am UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Paris final.
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Manchester City return to Premier League action when they travel to Crystal Palace on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm; kick-off 8pm.