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Unsung Hero: Manchester City’s Rodri had perfect passing record in win over Shakhtar Donetsk

Unsung Hero: Manchester City’s Rodri had perfect passing record in win over Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester City quickly put last weekend’s defeat at Norwich behind them with a comprehensive 3-0 victory away to Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening Champions League group game last night. [via Sky Sports]

After starting on the front foot in Kharkiv, Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead midway through the first half when Ilkay Gundogan’s shot came off the post and Riyad Mahrez steered home the rebound. [via Sky Sports]

Having been denied by the upright on that occasion, Gundogan doubled Manchester City’s lead on 38 minutes after his shot went in off the post, Mahrez turning provider this time. [via Sky Sports]

The visitors continued to dominate after half time, with Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov producing a fine save from Gundogan, Raheem Sterling hitting the post and Kevin De Bruyne dragging a shot wide from a decent position. [via Sky Sports]

The win was sealed 15 minutes from time when a swift Manchester City counter-attack ended with Gabriel Jesus finishing coolly to the net. [via Sky Sports]

The absences of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte through injury led to Fernandinho, usually a defensive midfielder, being deployed at centre-back, and it was a man in defensive midfield who played an important yet easily overlooked role.

Rodri came to the Etihad Stadium this summer from Atletico Madrid for a club record £62.8m, as reported by BBC, but he hasn’t taken long to hit his stride with the Premier League champions.

Having already averaged a passing accuracy of 92.6% from his first five league appearances for Manchester City, as per, the 23-year-old surpassed that figure against Shakhtar.

In fact, every single one of Rodri’s 82 passes was to a teammate, and while three players recorded more passes on the night (Gundogan had the most with 88), nobody completed more passes than the Spain midfielder. [via]

His four dribbles was the highest figure for Manchester City and the joint-most of anyone in the game, while he also showed his defensive mettle by winning four tackles (joint-most of anyone in his team), making two interceptions and one clearance. [via]

Despite those excellent statistics, some reporters appeared to give just token acknowledgement to Rodri’s performance afterwards.

Stuart Brennan of Manchester Evening News awarded him a rating of seven and said that he “carried on where he left off at Norwich, protecting the ball in tight spots, using his physicality and utilising the ball well”.

In The Mirror, David McDonnell also gave him a seven and simply remarked that he “controlled midfield”.

The likes of Gundogan and Mahrez may have joined in the goal involvements, but Rodri’s perfect passing performance provided an ideal platform for his Manchester City teammates to inflict plenty of damage on Shakhtar last night.

Manchester City fans, do you think Rodri deserved more recognition for his performance against Shakhtar? Comment below with your views!

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Article title: Unsung Hero: Manchester City’s Rodri had perfect passing record in win over Shakhtar Donetsk

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