City rout Basel to all but secure Champions League quarter-final place
Gundogan scores twice with Aguero and Bernardo Silva also on target.
Ilkay Gundogan scored twice as Manchester City put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals with an emphatic 4-0 win over Basel.
In-form Sergio Aguero scored his 198th City goal and Bernardo Silva also got on the scoresheet as Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to victory on a freezing night at St Jakob-Park.
Most of the damage was done as City rattled in three goals in a blistering nine-minute spell early in the first half, dashing Basel’s hopes of causing an upset after making a bright start.
Gundogan struck a sublime second after the break but the Premier League leaders were cruising by then, having eased off to conserve energy in their continuing quadruple quest.
Kevin De Bruyne was removed from the action early and Guardiola also eased Leroy Sane back into action as a second-half substitute following his rapid recovery from an ankle injury.
It was not long before City established control, although they did survive a couple of early scares.
First the pacy Dimitri Oberlin got behind the defence as he raced onto a long ball. He had options as Ederson raced out to meet him, including trying to lob the advancing keeper, but he miskicked and allowed Nicolas Otamendi to clear.
Otamendi and Oberlin were involved again as the Basel striker went down in the area attempting to beat the Argentinian but Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson gave nothing.
City made the most of those reprieves to power into a commanding lead.
Gundogan, who had already tested Tomas Vaclik with an early header, got the opener when he met a 14th-minute De Bruyne corner with another firm header at the near post.
A second goal quickly followed as Raheem Sterling’s cross from the left was cleared only as far as Bernardo Silva by Leo Lacroix. With time and space to compose himself, the Portuguese allowed the ball to drop before hitting a firm half-volley past Vaclik.
The visitors were now rampant and the tie soon seemed as a good as over as Aguero let fly from outside the area to register his 29th goal of the season after a charge upfield by Fernandinho. The Argentinian’s powerful shot rocketed into the bottom corner in another example of clinical finishing following his four strikes against Leicester at the weekend.
That allowed Guardiola’s men to drop the tempo but De Bruyne still went close as he shot over before the break.
Basel started the second half well, with Mohamed Elyounoussi testing Ederson from distance and Oberlin dragging a shot across the face of goal, but they remained vulnerable to City’s attack.
Gundogan put City even further in front when he wrong-footed the defence and fired a superb curling shot beyond Vaclik from the edge of the area.
He should have completed a hat-trick after being teed up by Aguero in the latter stages but Vaclik saved. Aguero was given a big hug by Guardiola as he left the field soon after.
Basel fought on, with Oberlin heading wide and Elyounoussi shooting at Ederson, but the Swiss champions were well beaten and their frustrations showed as tempers threatened to boil over in the closing minutes.