Europa League

March 8, 2012


Sporting Lisbon

1 - 0

Manchester City

Europa League

18:00 +00:00, March 8, 2012

Estadio Jose Alvalade

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo


    Thanks for keeping me company. Why not join Chris Atkins for chat, goals and udpates on the remainder of the evening's action? Cheerio.


    Quite the performance from Sporting, while City were disappointing, to say the least. A fine goal won this second leg, as defender Xandao backheeled home. Balotelli made a difference when he came on, but it was all too little, too late. The real blow, really, was the injury to Kompany.


    FULL-TIME: Sporting 1-0 Man City.

  • 90'

    Yellow for Kolarov as he goes in very strongly.

  • 90'

    30 seconds remain...

  • 90'

    City win a corner, but Sporting defend it well. They then spring clear and threaten to make it 2-0, but a cross from the right flashes to no other green and white shirt.

  • 90'

    Clichy had a shot which was deflected into the path of Aguero. He clipped it past the keeper and the ball struck a defender. The Argentine wanted handball, but the ball seemed to strike the defender's leg.

  • 90'

    Chance! Was it handball? I need a replay!

  • 90'

    Aguero's been disappointing.

  • 89'

    Again, brilliant noise from the home support.

  • 88'

    Balotelli's had a great impact, just hasn't scored. This following his fine of a week's wages after attending a nudey bar, allegedly.

  • 87'

    Woodwork! Balotelli leapt so well to meet a corner and power a header high. Alas, it cracked off the bar.

  • 86'

    The fans are going ballistic, cheering every tackle, etc.

  • 85'

    The whistles from the home fans rain down at deafening levels as City have the ball.

  • 84' was from Insua's cross, but on closer inspection it hit Toure's thigh, not his hand.

  • 83'

    Handball claims from Sporting...

  • 82'

    Hardly a barrage forward by City in these final moments. In fact, Sporting look the most dangerous.

  • 81'

    Balotelli tries to roll his man and earns his side a free-kick. He has done a great deal more than Dzeko did during his lengthy time on the field.

  • 80'

    Balotelli has made a difference since coming on, such is his imagination when in play.

  • 79'

    Kolarov trots up to the free-kick but fires it into the wall.

  • 78'

    Chance to City to launch one into the box...

  • 77'

    City do certainly struggle without Yaya Toure's drive.

  • 76'

    City are pressing further up the pitch, but Sporting still look capable of nicking the ball and embarking on a counter.

  • 75'

    An away goal for City, of course, would make this an excellent result. Right now, though, Sporting are worthy of their lead.

  • 74'

    Capel goes off for Carrillo.

  • 73'

    What a cross from Balotelli. He executed a rabona, only for Aguero to smash off target.

  • 72'

    Optimistic handball claim from City. Ref waves the appeals away. Ball definitely struck hand, but it was marginal.

  • 71'

    Dzeko is replaced by Balotelli.

  • 70'

    Balotelli's introduction is imminent.

  • 69'

    Crossbar! Kolarov sends in a cross which clips the top of the bar. It was accidental, but a close shave for the keeper.

  • 68'

    Capel floats in a cross from the left and, on the stretch, Pereirinha pokes the ball several yards wide.

  • 67'

    Fine defending from Polga as he outmuscles Aguero before mopping up expertly.

  • 66'

    Dzeko goes stamping back in a bid to win the ball, but Kolarov gives away a free-kick.

  • 65'

    City are attempting to turn the screw, but have had little joy in truth.

  • 64'

    Should be 2-0. Sporting find space in the City box and cut back to van Wolfswinkel, who hits first time but is denied by a solid save from Hart.

  • 63'

    Nasri's introduction looks a bid to offer better penetrative passing in midfield.

  • 62'

    Worthing noting Sporting coach Ricardo Sa Pinto has elblow patches on his jacket. Awesome.

  • 61'

    Oooo. Kolarov hits a beauty, but is zooms past the far post. He hit it sweetly, and caught everyone out, but it was just off target.

  • 60'

    Izmailov is replaced by Pereirinha.

  • 59'

    Nasri comes on for Barry.

  • 58'

    Some relief for City as Aguero wins a free-kick on the left flank.

  • 57'

    Another corner to Sporting. City are under plenty of pressure at present.

  • 56'

    Glorious attacking football from Sporting, demonstrating some excellent swagger. Lescott awkwardly deals with a cross.

  • 55'

    City may be about to unleash Mario.

  • 54'

    The stadium is indeed rocking.

  • 53'

    City almost respond instantly, as Aguero fires in from the left, but Patricio blocks the effort.

  • 52'

    Hart won't want to see that again. Fernandez delivers an awkward free-kick which bounces just in front of the keeper. Hart dives to save but doesn't clear well. He blocks the rebound but another loose ball sees Xandao improvises with a very cheeky backheel.

  • 51'

    GOAL!!! Xandao scores for Sporting!

  • 50'

    Free-kick for Sporting in a promising position following a bright run from Fernandez.

  • 49'

    And we are back into the pattern of the first half, as City pop the ball about on the halfway line.

  • 48'

    Kolarov hits a low ball into the box and it finds its way to Silva after a foot dangled out and deflected it to the Spaniard. He hit it first time but sent it way over.

  • 47'

    Sporting enjoy possession early on in the second half but that soon comes to an end as they hump to forward to no-one.

  • 46'

    Second half: Sporting get us started again.


    In football news, Kompany's injury is a concern.


    Panic over. I have a ready meal to eat. Disdain, though, as Dale Johnson has headed to the chippy, which is sure to make me jealous on his return.


    Goalless at the break, although both sides have had decent chances to break the deadlock. 'Cagey' is probably the word.


    Half-time: Sporting 0-0 Man City

  • 45'

    De Jong is booked too. His offence was for catching an opponent with his studs.

  • 45'

    One minute of added time will be played.

  • 44'

    First booking of the game goes to Izmailov for a cynical trip on Dzeko.

  • 43'

    Wretched cross from Insua results in groans from the home side.


  • 42'

    Fine block from De Jong prevents a certain shot on target.

  • 41'

    The majority of Sporting's attacks have come down the right, which is odd considering Clichy is the one out of position.

  • 40'

    The tempo continues to be a decent one, making for a pleasing game.

  • 39'

    Carrico gets in the on the shooting act, bending one wide from about 25 yards out. Do they think Hart is a weak link from distance?

  • 38'

    The home fans are making a cracking racket, bellowing out some booming chants.

  • 37'

    Van Wolfswinkel has struggled to get into the game.

  • 36'

    Following on from that stat, City's possession has been condensed in the middle of the park.

  • 35'

    City have enjoyed 59% of the ball so far in this game, symbolising Sporting's content to let them have it in non-threatening areas.

  • 34'

    That shot came from a very poor pass from Dzeko.

  • 33'

    Fernandez bashes the ball. Absolutely tonks it. But it whistles off target. Decent effort, not from a silly angle.

  • 32'

    Hairy moment from Hart as he is forced to punch a looping ball over the crossbar.

  • 31'

    Urgh, rubbish from Izmailov. Sporting pounce on a loose ball and feed it wide to the right. Again, though, they opt for a shot from an absurd angle.

  • 30'

    Hernandez looks a bright player, occupying that space between defence and midfield.

  • 29'

    You might recall Sporting striker van Wolfswinkel was linked with Manchester United recently. He hasn't had much to feed off thus far.

  • 28'

    And their patience very nearly pays off as a wicked diagonal ball finds Kolarov, whose low cross is hacked away.

  • 27'

    Minor lull in the game now, as City keep ball well in a bid to silence the home fans.

  • 26'

    Sporting's corner comes to nothing. Then it is City's turn to press on. However, a loose ball from Dzeko results in a goal kick.

  • 25'

    Now a corner to Sporting after Fernandez embarked on a positive run.

  • 24'

    Corner is only half-cleared and Barry finds himself in possession on the edge of the box. He winds up with his strong left peg and zips a shot wide of the post. Only a fraction off target.

  • 23'

    Corner to City following a classy ball from Silva to Kolarov...

  • 22'

    Penalty shouts from the Sporting home fans after the ball struck Lescott. But the ball hit the defender's chest, not his arm, and rightly no pen is given.

  • 21'

    ...alas it breaks down at the last as a heavy touch Izmailov is punished.

  • 20'

    Genuine chance for Sporting...

  • 19'

    Clichy bombs down the right flank and cuts back onto his stronger foot as part of an interchange with Silva. But the attack fizzles out.

  • 18'

    Smart covering from Barry in the right back slot as Sporting sprung forward.

  • 17'

    A enjoyable beginning to the game with both sides creating chances. The stadium, meanwhile, doesn't appear near full.

  • 16'

    Smart football from the home side, that ends when Pereira tries a hugely ambitious shot from a very tight angle.

  • 15'

    Silva is buzzing about majestically. He's excellent.

  • 14'

    Ah. Big change for City as a cross in from the left is met by the head of Kolo Toure, who nods it downwards. Patricio makes a smart save to deny the defender.

  • 13'

    Lescott is on for the injured Kompany.

  • 12'

    Kolarov does really well following a smart turn and he whips in a cross. The ball is hacked clear for a corner.

  • 11'

    Pereira goes close! He cuts in from the right and fizzes a shot at Hart. The keeper drops down to palm away.

  • 10'

    Lescott is donning his shirt. Looks a worrying injury for the brilliant Kompany.

  • 9'

    It's his calf, and his match looks over.

  • 8'

    Uh-oh. Kompany looks injured.

  • 7'

    Aguero threatens as he wriggles on the edge of the box but a number of green and white striped bodies blocked the path to goal.

  • 6'

    Sporting are keeping their shape well, looking to press when the moment is right.

  • 5'

    City have the ball. Possession.

  • 4'

    Anyway, FOOTBALL! Sporting just had a chance, as Hart headed away and a lob was attempted. It failed.

  • 3'

    Of course, that is all lies.

  • 2'

    Right, erm, honest, there were no technical hitches at all and this commentary started way before kick-off so you got a hearty introduction.

  • 1'

    Kick-off: We're under way in Portugal.


    Sporting team: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Xandao, Anderson Polga, Insua, Fernandez, Daniel Carrico, Schaars, Diego Capel, Izmailov, van Wolfswinkel. Subs: Marcelo, Rodriguez, Evaldo, Carrillo, Bruno Pereirinha, Neto, Rubio.


    Man City: Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Toure, Kolarov, Milner, De Jong, Barry, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Pizarro, Johnson, Savic, Nasri, Balotelli.


    ESPNsoccernet's James Dall will bring you live commentary of this match, which kicks off at 18.00 GMT.