Manchester City cruised into the quarterfinals of the Champions League, playing out a goalless draw with Sporting Lisbon at the Etihad Stadium to progress 5-0 on aggregate.
After such a lopsided result in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie in Portugal, the return in Manchester was always going to be little more than a formality. Duly, City boss Pep Guardiola opted to rotate his lineup, leaving the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri on the bench.
City also took the opportunity to hand Champions League debuts to three teenagers, in CJ Egan-Riley, who started at right-back, and substitutes James McAtee and Luke Mbete.
While never having to come close to hitting top gear, the Premier League leaders controlled proceedings throughout. Raheem Sterling had the two clearest chances of the first half, first just failing to get on the end of a Gabriel Jesus cross and then being denied by Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan after a superb through ball from Phil Foden.
City thought they had the lead on the night less than two minutes into the second half. After half-time substitute Riyad Mahrez brilliantly took a pass into his path to surge toward the box, the ball was worked toward Jesus who found the net at the near post. A VAR review, though, found that Jesus had been offside.
The decision proved of a little consequence, even if Sporting will take some comfort from preventing further misery. Still, City’s level of comfort was summed up when with less than 20 minutes to go, Guardiola opted to bring on veteran third-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson to make just his second appearance for the club and first Champions League outing since 2005.