Europa League

March 8, 2012

Full-time

Sporting Lisbon

1 - 0

Manchester City

Europa League

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

Estadio Jose Alvalade

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo

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

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    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.

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    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'

    ..it 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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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  • 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.

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    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.

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

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