Saturday 25 January 2020

Sterling talks as City make it to last 16

Manchester City 1 Shaktar Donetsk 1

Raheem Sterling. Photo: Andrew Yates
Raheem Sterling. Photo: Andrew Yates

Manchester City have held initial discussions over a potential new contract for Raheem Sterling.

It is understood there has been contact between the Premier League champions and representatives of the England forward.

The club are understood to be relaxed about the situation, with 24-year-old Sterling having only signed his current deal, which runs until 2023, a year ago.

Sterling, who joined City from Liverpool in 2015, is now rated as one the world's best players due to his outstanding form in recent seasons.

He has begun the current campaign in outstanding fashion and had netted 18 times in 23 appearances for club and country prior to City's Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on last night.

City played out a tame 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk to claim their place in the knockout stage for a seventh consecutive season.

Ilkay Gundogan's second-half strike was cancelled out by Manor Solomon as City failed to spark at the Etihad Stadium but, with Dinamo Zagreb losing to Atalanta, the result was enough to secure top spot in Group C.

There was little else to excite amid a flat atmosphere but Shakhtar's performance kept their hopes of joining City in the last 16 very much alive.

The Ukrainians, paired with City for a third consecutive year, were beaten 3-0 by Pep Guardiola's men in September and thrashed 6-0 on their last visit to the Etihad Stadium a year ago.

City finally made the breakthrough after 56 minutes. Gabriel Jesus was unable to get on the end of a through ball but was a alert enough to poke the ball away from Andriy Pyatov as he tried to gather. He found Gundogan to his left and the German found the net through a crowded area.

Yet any hopes that would kill off the visitors were wide of the mark as Shakhtar responded well and drew level 13 minutes later.

Dodo got behind the City defence on the right and pulled the ball back for Solomon, who had come off the bench just moments earlier, and he struck with a ferocious finish.

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