Ilkay Gundogan threads bullet header past Basel keeper for goal as City claim massive Champions League win

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Associated Press

Manchester City sent out another statement to the rest of Europe by thrashing Basel 4-0 away in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match this morning, with Ilkay Gundogan scoring two of the goals.

The Premier League's runaway leaders scored three times between the 14th and 23 minutes — through Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero — before Gundogan added a fourth goal from long range in the 53rd minute.

City, which enjoyed 74 percent possession, scored four goals away from home for the third time in this season's Champions League and has only lost two games in all competitions, one of them against Shakhtar Donetsk when qualification for the last 16 was already guaranteed.

This is the best chance City has had to win Europe's biggest prize, especially with one of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain sure to be eliminated this round.

City didn't even have to be at its best on a bobbly pitch and near-freezing conditions to see off the Swiss champions, whose striker Dimitri Oberlin wasted chances either side of the visitors' flurry of goals.

With his team still trying to win a quadruple of trophies, Guardiola had the luxury of substituting Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling around the hour mark for fit-again pair David Silva and Leroy Sane.

The return match is on March 7, when Juventus and Tottenham will also play their second leg after drawing 2-2 in Turin today.

St. Jakob-Park hasn't been a happy ground for English teams, with Liverpool, Chelsea and — in this season's group stage — Manchester United all losing at Basel's atmospheric home in recent seasons in the Champions League.

Basel had its moments against City, especially early on when the visitors looked susceptible to a long ball behind center backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Oberlin could also have earned a penalty, after tumbling under a challenge from Otamendi.

"After 10 minutes, we could have been 2-0 down," Guardiola said. "After 20 minutes, we were 3-0 in the lead. We were clinical today."

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