Rampant Manchester City demolished a woeful Schalke 7-0 to complete a 10-2 aggregate win and become the third English side into the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday.
City’s record home win in Europe did not look likely after a quiet opening 35 minutes but once Sergio Aguero began the rout from the penalty spot it became embarrassingly easy as City reached the last eight for the third time in four years.
Aguero doubled City’s lead three minutes later and the impressive Leroy Sane made it 3-0 before halftime.
Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva finished off flowing moves after the break and youngster Phil Foden bagged his first European goal before Gabriel Jesus made it seven, rounding off the biggest ever Champions League defeat for a German side.
City, who trailed 2-1 in the away leg with 10 men before turning it around late on, join local rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in Friday’s quarter-final draw, the first time since 2011 that at least three English clubs are in the last eight.
Liverpool can make it a full house when they play against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
With Real Madrid and Paris St Germain having been knocked out, Guardiola’s side will fancy their chances of going all the way for the first time in the competition.
“It was a clear result. We didn’t start that well, we were a bit scared to play,” Guardiola, whose side racked up the biggest aggregate win by an English club in the knockout rounds, said.
“But after it went 1-0, we relaxed and decided to play and be aggressive.”
Schalke’s players were barracked by their own fans at the end of a miserable night for Domenico Tedesco’s side who face a fight to preserve their Bundesliga status.
“You can imagine how I’m feeling. Terrible,” Tedesco said. “We played well for 30 minutes, but after we went 1-0 down, we had an extreme drop off in performance.”
The sight of Sane causing so much discomfort for his former club hardly helped their mood.
The 23-year-old, who joined City in 2016, was a handful all night but it was the ever-reliable Aguero who got the ball rolling — coolly dinking his penalty down the middle after Silva was bundled over by Jeffrey Bruma.
Aguero then took advantage of Sterling’s backheel to make it 2-0 although a near three-minute VAR delay to check whether the England forward had been offside in the buildup frustrated the fans inside the Etihad Stadium.
Sane then swept in City’s third as Guardiola’s side began to cut through a dispirited Schalke at will, although again there was an annoying VAR delay before his goal was confirmed.
Sane had a goal wiped out for offside in the second half but then produced a great slide-rule cross to feed Sterling who powered home City’s fourth goal in the 56th minute.
Boos rang out as VAR was yet again employed to ensure Sterling had been onside when the ball was played across.
Another Sane assist allowed Silva to make it 5-0 before City threaded their way through the Schalke defence and Foden skipped around exposed keeper Ralf Faehrmann to add a sixth.
Far from take their foot off the gas City were hungry for more goals and substitute Jesus got his name on the scoresheet when he curled in with six minutes remaining.
Man City’s ‘teenagers’ looking like the main men
Pep Guardiola described his Manchester City side as “teenagers” in the Champions League before the second leg of their last-16 clash with Schalke 04 but with their resounding 7-0 rout of the Germans they showed they are growing up fast.
Having left it late to earn a 3-2 win in the first leg, City took a while to hit their stride at The Etihad on Tuesday but when they did Guardiola’s team produced a magnificent attacking display that will ring alarm bells around Europe.
Admittedly they were up against a side who had leaked 11 goals in their last three Bundesliga games and are in danger of relegation, but City’s movement, energy and clinical edge would have left far better teams in tatters.
City, for all their investment and domestic silverware, have still reached only one semi-final in their seven previous Champions League campaigns.
But they have won 17 of their last 19 matches in all competitions and won nine and drawn one of their last 10 and have a momentum that could carry them to the final in Madrid.
“We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals,” Guardiola, who twice took Barcelona to Champions League glory, told reporters. “The last 15 minutes and the second half we were incredibly good, quick and dynamic.
“I know Schalke are in a tough period but even in that situation you have to do your job.”
Such are the high levels Guardiola demands that he found fault with Leroy Sane before the German scored and provided assists for Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden.
Indeed, former Schalke youngster Sane, now 23, became the first player to make three assists in a Champions League knockout game since Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery in March 2012.
“No, it wasn’t his best display,” Guardiola said. “After the first goal yes, but before no. He wasn’t aggressive enough in the first 20 minutes. But he is young so don’t forget that.
“After 20 minutes he was outstanding.”
Tougher tests await and Guardiola stressed that with his players chasing an unprecedented quadruple, the looming international break will be a worrying time as he cannot afford to be missing any of his match-winners through injury.
The Spaniard also once again tried to play down his side’s Champions League hopes, although few who witnessed Tuesday’s display will take him too seriously.
“I’m not going to say we are not going to fight,” he said. “As a club we are like a teenager team because the best success in their history is one (Champions League) semi-final and two quarter-finals.
“You can’t compare us to Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool or Juventus. They have how many? But the teenagers have desire and are not scared and will try for the second time in our history to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“But this competition is incredibly tough. We will see how far we can get. I’ve won two (Champions Leagues) but I’ve lost seven. All I can say is we will try and next season we will try again.”