Good evening all.
Before we go any further… have ye heard the news? Rafa’s back, and this time he has money to spend!
Yes, Rafael Benitez has been installed as the new Chelsea manager. Read all about it, here.
But enough about Spanish Premier League managers, we’ve got… eh, Italian and Portuguese managers providing the entertainment tonight.
As Eamon Dunphy is asked to give his predictions and responds with: ”Madrid will win, City will fall apart and be a shambles by the end.” Here are your teams.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Maicon, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero.
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Barry, Tevez.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Alonso, Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Subs: Adan, Varane, Kaka, Ozil, Albiol, Callejon, Nacho.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
KICK OFF: They’re off and running with City looking very purposeful in the opening minutes. Passing short and sharp around the Madrid area before they break clear down the right.
The boos tell us when the green clad Cristiano Ronaldo is on the ball.
No such harsh treatment for wee Luka Modric, he’s started the game well and is now a central figure as Madrid wrestle control back from the hosts.
The aforementioned former Spurs midfielder thread a beutful pass for Karim Benzema racing down the right-hand channel. The Frenchman touched with his right, but had the ball nipped of him inside the area. All Real.
GOAL: Man City 0 – 1 Real Madrid (Benzema ’10)
Just second after Angel di Maria found an acres of space on the right of the City area, he cuts back on the right wing and swings in left-footed cross.
Benzema, who replays show is just onside, ghosts into the six-yard box with no defender within 10 yards and taps in.
It gets even worse for City as Borussia Dortmund also lead in Amsterdam.
Comical scenes.. unless you happen to support Man City.
Sami Khedira has had wtwo decent chances since Madrid took the lead and just now Ronaldo has gone clean through on goal.
The number seven attempted a deft lob over Joe Hart, but a defender managed to clear the ball off the line after it bounced at a snail’s pace towards goal. But the danger wasn’t over there: the celarance went right back to Ronaldo, who fluffed his lines again, deflecting a shot wide.
I’ve got a nacho hat here, and I’ll eat it if there isn’t another goal in this game.
Another quick break from the visitors results in a chance. Ronaldo and Di Maria link on the right before the latter picks out Benzema peeling away.
The striker chests down for Modric on the edge of the area. It would have been an incredible goal, but the Croat scuffed his volley.
This is a really, really good game. The perfect mix of artistic and agricultural football… and Sami Khedira could have a hat-trick.
The German somehow bundles his way though the blue defence but can’t squeeze his shot past Joe Hart.
City counter, but Aguero’s cross is headed behind for a corner by Alonso.
Yellow card: Alvaro Arbelo follows Toure into the book after City are awarded a free kick for a Xabi Alonso shove.
27 metres out and Kolarov… sends it swerving and dipping two feet wide.
Yellow card: Yaya Youre isn’t happy after he’s cautioned for a slide tackle on CR7 in midfield.
Just when you think the game is calming down and one side is gaining a little control, Ronaldo leads a three-on-three counter attack. The move is stunted by Aguero, yes Aguero, racing back to tackle the Portuguese star 30 metres from goal.
Meanwhile, in Amsterdam…
GOAL: Ajax 0 -2 Dortmund (Goetze ’37)
As things stand Madrid and Dortmund will qualify tonight with a game to spare. Some group of death, eh?
And BOOM! It’s all over before half time in the Dutch captial
GOAL: Ajax 0 – 3 Dortmund (Lewandowski.’42)
HALF TIME: Man City 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Bar a brief uproar as Madrid get the benefit of an offside mix-up (Benzema shot wide afterwards) things are very quiet at Eastlands.
I think City fans know their number is up.
Outside of group D the only goal of the night is in Porto where the hosts lead Zagreb. Three points will be enough to seal their qualification.
The second half is underway in Manchester and City have introduced Javi Garcia in place of Kolarov.
It will be some stroke of genius if it pays off with three points.
Xabi Alonso is the latest to incur a yellow card, this one for a challenge from behind on David Silva.
City, as they did the first half, have started this period well.
GOAL: Arsenal 1 – 0 Montpellier (Wilshere ’49)
A nice, slick move between Aguero and Silva carves open the Madrid defence. Unfortunately, Aguero’s touch lets him down a bagful as it skids 6 yars of his right boot and into the path of Casillas.
The ‘keeper spills it, but it goes straight to a green shirt.
It has taken 51 minutes for the City fans to come up with the ‘You’re just a shit Lionel Messi’ chant for Ronaldo.
That’s a compliment if you ask me.
Another big chance for Real Madrid, but their problem is that all the decent opportunities are falling to Sami Khedira. He’s like that rubbish lad you play 5-a-side with – you let him drift away to goal because you know he’ll never score*.
This time, Ronaldo breaks down the left and dinks a lovely cross to the back post. Khedira directs his header onto Toure’s thigh. The German could have four tonight.
*Yes I’m referring to myself in this case.
City could not have come any closer to scoring. Maicon’s whipped cross deflected ever so kindly onto the left boot of Aguero in the six yard box. He thought all he had to to was help it in, but Casillas flew across goal and Arbeloa managed to scramble clear.
PENALTY to City:
And Arbeloa is given a second yellow for clipping down Aguero. He’s off.
GOAL: Man City 1 – 1 Real Madrid (Aguero ’73)
A lifeline for City as the Argentine strokes the ball to the bottom right corner.
Temporary hope for City is being tempered in a serious way by the sigh of Vincent Kompany coming off a clash with Ronaldo clutching his knee.
He’s not willing to come off just yet.
Ronaldo takes on not one, not two, not even three… but four City defenders, manages to squeeze the ball past Kompany (he’s okay now) but his progress is halted by the Belgian’s arm. No foul and George Hamitlon is just as apoplectic as CR7.
Looked a foul to us, but we’ve seen them go both ways. Such are referees.
Just three minutes left now for City to salvage their Champions League season and Roberto Mancini has decided to – no, that can’t be right… oh. It is – replace Sergio Aguero with James Milner.
Here comes the fourth official with the stoppage time… five minutes! Ooh, Jose is not happy, he walks away with ironic applause.
He’s been more entertaining than the last 20 minutes of this game. City work an opportunity for Toure, but he side-foots it roughly a mile over the bar.
So close, yet so far. Silva’s dainty little chip into the area has Carlos Tevez at full stretch, but he can’t make contact before Casillas.
One minute left now.
FULL TIME: Manchester City 1 – 1 Real Madrid
That’s it. Three points from five games means City are out of the Champions League. They were very fortunate to get anything tonight, Madrid were very wasteful in the first half and seemed to think it was just a matter of toying with the English Champions for the first half hour.
We’ll have a full round up of all tonight’s action, but until then your full-time results are at the top of the page (page may have to be refreshed).
So, with that said, thanks for joining in tonight, folks. It’s been emotional.