Despite no club football, there were plenty of Manchester City players in the highlights during the international break.
Highlights From Manchester City Players During International Break
What a massive occasion it was on Monday night at the Kyiv Olympic Stadium. Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese national team strode in to take on Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ukraine. Under manager and legend Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine are atop this particular group and this was Portugal’s last chance to peg them back.
Zinchenko put in an outstanding performance as one of three central midfielders in the Ukranian side. City’s do-it-all left-back has been one of the stars for Ukraine in their fantastic qualifying cycle. Their 2-1 win at home against Portugal on Monday was just another of his outstanding performances for club and country.
The highlight of the night went to Vitalii Mykolenko. The 20-year-old left-back played a 30-yard curling cross around two defenders right into the path of Andriy Yarmolenko who completed the obligatory tap-in.
Ilkay Gundogan was hugely instrumental in Germany’s 3-0 win on the road against Estonia. The Baltic nation are not exactly a powerhouse on the European stage, but once Emre Can was sent off in the 14th minute, Estonia’s quality, or lack thereof, goes out the window.
Germany needed a result to stay tied at the top of their UEFA Euro 2020 qualification group, and they struggled with a man down to break down a very resolute Estonia for the rest of the first half. After half-time, though, Gundogan injected some goals into this game.
The City midfielder was far and away from the most important player on the pitch for Germany. He broke the German record for most touches in a game with 180, all while scoring two goals and providing a lovely assist for Germany’s third. Hopefully, it was the type of quality performance that Gundogan can carry over into his club football.
Raheem Sterling and Racism
Finally, let’s talk about Raheem Sterling and England’s trip to Bulgaria. The English team was racially abused by some members of Bulgarian crowd while they smashed Bulgaria 6-0.
Being subject to racist chanting, particularly monkey chanting, is something nobody would want to experience on a work trip abroad. It’s frankly disgusting there are still people like the Bulgarian national team coach who defend or justify such pathetically disgraceful behaviour.
It was nice to see the president of Bulgaria move swiftly in removing some of the people involved in Bulgaria’s multiple racist incidents. The stands in this game were partially closed for racism in the last game.
On the football side, Sterling scored a brace and provided a lovely assist in the rout. His powerful cross through the six-yard box that Ross Barkley finished was the end of a lovely move.
Manchester City Women’s Team
The ladies were in action of Wednesday evening as they played the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions League last 16 tie with Atletico Madrid. City were held to a 1-1 draw as a late goal cancelled out Janine Beckie’s opener.
Ellen White and Georgia Stanway were missing for City but they could be back for the Manchester United game on Sunday. Laura Coombs will also continue to be out as she has yet to return to the pitch.