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Manchester City produced some beauty in Budapest to stroll into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola insists his side cannot win the quadruple this season – but who is he trying to kid?
Just ask Borussia Monchengladbach, who were brutally exposed by a City side that showed no mercy to crush and outclass the German outfit with the sort of display that will leave the rest of their European rivals hiding behind the sofa.
But there is no avoiding the fact City are way too good to ignore – and they toyed with Gladbach in the Puskas Arena, where goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan helped them cruise into Friday's draw 4-0 on aggregate.
Gladbach boss Marco Rose, who made three changes, had admitted himself before kick off that seeing his side go through would be "sensational".
A miracle might have been more appropriate considering Guardiola's men held a two-goal lead from the first leg, had not lost in the competition this season and had not even conceded since their opening group game against FC Porto back in October.
Gladbach were also on a woeful run of six straight defeats that had seen them slump to 10th in the Bundesliga.
It all pointed to a comfortable night for Guardiola, who had two fit strikers to choose from but decided to leave both Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero on the bench along with Raheem Sterling, who returned to the squad.
Guardiola made five changes in all and went with a false nine once again, with Bernardo Silva operating in a more central attacking position.
City could afford to play with the handbrake on but it's just not in their nature – and the home side completely dominated from the start with a footballing masterclass.
They should have gone ahead inside seven minutes when Joao Cancelo's floated pass played in Phil Foden, but he saw his close-range volley well saved by Yann Sommer.
But five minutes later the game was over as a contest (if it had ever been one), when De Bruyne lashed an unstoppable left-footed strike into the top corner to make it 1-0.
It was the 100th goal City had scored this season in all competitions and the 101st arrived minutes later when Foden's surging run and deft pass released Gundogan, who produced a cool finish past Sommer to double his side's lead.
This was now a damage limitation exercise for Gladbach, who were seriously out of their depth and knew it.
City were showboating before half time and De Bruyne tried his luck with a free kick from 35 yards out, which Sommer tipped behind for a corner as the relentless assault continued.
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The Premier League leaders went through the motions to run down the clock, with Riyad Mahrez and Foden going close to adding some ice to the cake.
Guardiola threw on Aguero with 15 minutes to go to see if he could equal Thomas Muller in becoming the second most prolific scorer under the Spaniard in this competition behind Lionel Messi.
But the perfect night didn't produce the fairytale finish for City.
Yet the manager who has won 30 trophies still craves the one that has now eluded him for a decade – and only a buffoon would bet against him getting his hands on it again.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3):Ederson 7; Walker 7, Stones 8, Dias 8 (Laporte 70), Cancelo 7 (Zinchenko 63, 7); Silva 7 (Aguero 75), Rodri 7 (Fernandinho 63, 7), GUNDOGAN 9 (Sterling 70); Mahrez 7, De Bruyne 8, Foden 8. Subs: Steffen, Carson, Aké, Jesus.Torres, Mendy, Garcia.
BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH (4-3-1-2):Sommer 6; Lainer 6, Ginter 6, Elvedi 6, Bensebaini 6; Hofmann 6, NEUHAUS 7, Zakaria 6; Stindl 6 (Traore 80); Thuram 6 (Plea 65, 6), Embolo 5 (Wolf 65, 6). Subs: Sippel, Grun, Lang, Beyer, Wendt, Jantschke, Kramer, Lazaro, Herrmann, Plea.
REFEREE:Sergei Karasev (Russia) 7
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- Manchester City FC
- Champions League
- Pep Guardiola
- Premier League
- Lionel Messi
- Raheem Sterling
- Sergio Aguero
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