Bengaluru, September 18: Manchester City face a tough trip Ukraine to face familiar foes Shakhtar Donetsk as they begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday (September 18).
The Cityzens are still reeling from a shock 3-2 defeat away to Norwich on Saturday (September 14) which leaves them five points adrift of Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title. However, Pep Guardiola will be eager to make his team bounce back in the bid for his first Champions League triumph since 2011 and the club's first ever.
Shakhtar may have lost their coach Paulo Fonseca to Roma earlier this summer but the Ukrainian champions haven't lost a competitive match since February and will certainly be a difficult opponent in Kharkiv.
Here are three Shakhtar Donetsk players Guardiola must be careful about in order to avoid another poor result after last weekend's loss to Norwich.
The 29-year-old was linked with a host of European giants a few years ago following his excellent showings for his club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and the Ukraine national team. He almost made his dream move to Liverpool but the deal could not get finalised due to unknown reasons. The 29-year-old is definitely a top player but could not find his form at either Sevilla or Schalke and is now back in his homeland at Shakhtar Donetsk. Pep Guardiola must be careful about the tricky winger who is eager to prove a lot to the world.
Junior Moraes has been a consistent scorer for Skakhtar Donetsk since his move to the club a year back from rivals Dynamo Kyiv. The Brazil-born Ukraine international has 31 goals and 16 assists to his name in just 46 games and could produce a great threat to the struggling Manchester City who are in deeper danger now with John Stones also joining the injury list. Without both Laporte and Stones, Otamendi might have to pair up with Fernandinho at the heart of the defence.
Ismaily is one of the longest-serving players in the Shakhtar squad right now and is well experienced in the Champions League. The left-back is a big threat with his bombarding runs down the left flank and he is quite solid defensively as well. Manchester City could be up for a surprise against the Brazilian wing-back who can tear them apart from the left flank just like what Norwich did successfully last weekend.