Despite being held at home by a Sporting Lisbon side intent on limiting damage, Man City cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Man City’s amazing 5-0 victory in the first leg in Lisbon last month had already effectively settled this tie, and it was clear from the start that the Portuguese did not entertain the possibility of an unlikely comeback.
Sporting Lisbon packed their defense, perhaps fearful of another humiliating defeat, leaving Pep Guardiola’s side in complete control of possession but unable to create meaningful chances.
Raheem Sterling squandered City’s best chance before the break when he ran on to Phil Foden’s pass and attempted to dink the ball over Antonio Adan but failed to gain enough height.
Gabriel Jesus scored for the home team early in the second half, but a VAR review determined he was offside from Riyad Mahrez’s pass, and the goal was disallowed.
Notwithstanding failing to score, Man City remained completely comfortable, and Guardiola was at ease enough to substitute third-choice keeper Scott Carson for Ederson with 20 minutes remaining.
The 36-year-old, making his first appearance of the season, was quickly called into action to deny Paulinho from close range, prompting chants of “England’s number one” from the delighted City supporters.
For the fifth consecutive season, City has advanced to the quarter-finals and will learn who their opponents in the last eight will be on March 18.
It was the first time City had failed to score at home since the end of October, but while this performance lacked the luster of their win in Lisbon, they never let go of the tie.
Sporting made a few attempts on goal before the end, but in the early stages they barely got a kick and seemed content to keep City quiet.
There had been little goalmouth action at either end until Sterling broke clear before half-time, but the home fans, who were still chanting loudly about Sunday’s thumping derby win over Manchester United, didn’t seem to mind.
Guardiola was concerned about City’s lack of fit or available defenders before the game, but Sporting’s lack of ambition meant he had little to worry about on the night, and teenage defender Conrad Egan-Riley performed admirably on his debut at this level.
Fernandinho, the veteran midfielder who was making his 100th Champions League appearance, seemed to enjoy his recall to the starting lineup as well.
As it is, Manchester City will face much tougher tests this season, beginning with a trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday, but they breezed through this one.