Dublin: 19°C Friday 12 August 2022


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Bobby Manc might not fancy it but we’re looking forward to this one. There’s a busy night of top class European football in store – get in contact in the usual ways. Email adrian@thescore.ie, tweet @thescore_ie, find us on Facebook or leave a comment below.


Dynamo Kiev 0 FC Porto 0

Paris SG 4 Dinamo Zagreb 0

Olympiakos 3 Montpellier 1

Schalke 2 Arsenal 2

AC Milan 1 Malaga 1

Anderlecht 1 Zenit 0

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2

Real Madrid 1 Borussia Dortmund 2

Good evening Europe! It’s cold outside, the kettle’s on and we’re ready to settle down for one of life’s simple pleasures: a Champions League night.

We’re going to watch the visit of Ajax to Manchester to face Roberto Mancini struggling City side. But don’t worry we’ll keep a close eye on all the action throughout the continent. Particularly Real Madrid v Dortmund which I’ve backed to have more than 2.5 goals. It’ll be steak tonight if Ronaldo’s on form.

We’ve just been handed the team-sheets. Thanks you, Roberto:

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Barry, Nasri, Toure, Aguero, Tevez.

Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Dzeko, Sinclair, Kolarov, Balotelli, Meppen-Walter.

Ajax: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Schone, Boerrigter, Eriksen, Babel.

Subs: Cillessen, Enoh, Sana, Veltman, Denswil, Dijks, Fischer.

Referee: Peter Rasmussen (Denmark)

Roy Keane:

“I expect City to win tonight, Ajax are very good technically but they’re a little bit lightweight. If City are at it tonight, they should win two or three-nil.” Agree with Keano?

As he’s sitting in that ITV studio at Eastlands, Mick McCarthy is preparing his Ipswich side — formerly managed by Keane, of course — as they face Crystal Palace. It’ll be Ian Holloway’s first game in charge at Selhurst Park. Shay Given is on the TV3 panel with Brian Kerr meanwhile.

We’re up and running at the Etihad and those of us looking forward to seeing one of the European game’s traditional giants in their distinctive red and white kit are disappointed,. Ajax are wearing ‘highlighter green‘-coloured shorts and navy jerseys. Vom.

By the way, I was going to leave it go but Clive Tylsley started his broadcast with ‘Group D for dastardly!’ He’s literally had a fortnight to come up with that.

City are quick out of the traps. They’ve had an early penalty shout — Yaya Toure going down like a deck chair after Christian Poulsen had a nibble. Then Zabaleta found himself in nose bleed territory but he shot over when beating the offside.

GOAL! Manchester 0 Ajax 1, De Jong 9′ And the boos ring out around the Etihad less than 10 minutes in. Once again the goal comes from a set-piece, this time a corner with which they don’t deal.  The Ajax skipper slides in at the back post to clip in the second ball as the Blues watch on dumbly.

GOAL! Man City 0 Ajax 2, De Jong 16′ What the what? City have conceded yet another goal from a corner. Andy Townsend has labelled the defending ‘pathetic’ as the Ajax skipper darts to the front post and just turns the ball inside the near post. Cut to Roberto Mancini looking a bit confused by it all.

As City trail in Manchester, Arsenal are ahead against Schalke in Germany. Theo ‘Sign Da Ting’ Walcott has only gone and scored.

GOAL! Man City 1 Ajax 2, Toure 22′ And… we’re back in the room. Yaya Toure took the ball on his chest with the whitewash of the six-yard line at his ankles, before unleashing an acrobatic strike past the Ajax ‘keeper. We’re halfway through the first half and there’ll be more goals yet.

Everton’s John Heitinga and wife Charlotte-Sophie are in the stands tonight.

Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

GOAL! Schalke 0 Arsenal 2, Giroud 26′ What about this then? Even Giroud is scoring. Podolski — who may have a Superman/Earth’s sun relationship with the Bundesliga — did some excellent work in the build-up before my friend and yours, Sant Cazorla, played the killer pass.

“No one will ever convince me,” starts professional sceptic, Andy Townsend…”about that zonal marking.”

Elsewhere in this group meanwhile, Marco Reus — remember him Ireland fans? — has struck a lovely opener against Real Madrid. Game on there, Ger.

Did I tell you Pepe equalised for Real Madrid? Well, Pepe equalised for Real Madrid. And if you want to check out Walcott’s goal, click this.

BFFs: De Boer and Mancini before kick-off.  Pic: Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images

HALF-TIME Manchester City go in at half-time a goal down. And so do Real Madrid; Götze has put Dortmund ahead once again.

Dear me – they flew in there before the whistle. Arsenal have left Schalke back into it with — who else — Huntelaar striking. As I type, Roy Keane says ‘lacksydaisy’.

Roy Keane says City players look overweight, punch-drunk and not at it at all. Can Mario save the day? According to the BBC’s Phil McNulty ‘Balotelli [is] stripped down to his kit and warming up during the interval. Looks like he’ll start the second half’.

Meanwhile, in election-based football ‘bant’…

Balotelli is indeed now on with Javi Garcia the man he’s replaced.

Whoever had Blind down for first yellow card of the night, please collect your bottle of whiskey at the top of the liveblog. The son of Ajax legend, Danny, catches Nasri with a rough one on the sideline.

This is much better from City. First Sergio Aguero had the ball in the net but he was judged to have been marginally offside. Moments later Yaya Toure drove to the dead-ball line and tried to cut back for Balotelli but it was cut out by Hodgson-era Liverpool man Poulsen. There’s a goal on the way you feel.

Kun Aguero needs to change his boots. The Argentine looked to have unlocked the Ajax defence but as he tried to turn he slipped — once again — and the opportunity was lost for City.

Heres comes Dzeko for Tevez. He’s not too bad this season, coming off the bench. In the Championship, Ian Holloway’s Crystal Palace are beating Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich by a single goal at Selhurst Park.

GOAL! Scalke 2 Arsenal 2 Farfan, 67′ The Gunners are rattled now. From the Guardian: “That was coming! A deep cross skims off Holtby’s head and falls to Jefferson Farfan, whose shot is deflected in by Vermaelan.”

GOAL! Manchester 2 Ajax 2 Aguero, 72 ‘ The little Argentine chases onto a Balotelli flick and drives the ball into the corner. The English champions have 14 minutes to find the winner they need. Otherwise the Champions League dream is over.

It’s kitchen sink time here with less than four minutes of normal time remaining. Edin Dzeko might well have turned in the winner moments ago but he arrived at the front post to clip a crisp cross well wide.  Moments later Aguero again has the ball in the net but again the goal is ruled off for offside. Looking at the replay, it seems a harsh one.

GOAL! More bad news for City — Real Madrid have equalised against Dortmund at the Bernabeu through a German, Mesut Ozil.

FULL-TIME Manchester 2 Ajax 2 That’s a bottle job. After Joe Hary launches a Hail Mary into the box, Balotelli was dragged to the ground and City looked like they’d have a penalty. The ref blows the whistle alright but indicates that the game is over. Mancini looks like he’s gonna do someone.

Roberto Mancini: ‘We should have had a penalty and it was a goal. not offside.’ Gabriel Egan is earning his corn tonight trying to get a word out of the City boss.

Okay, as the best broadcasters say, let’s leave it there shall we? We’ll have reports from the other games on the site presently, keep the comments coming please and join us tomorrow night for more live coverage.

*Please stand for the European Union anthem.* All hail President Van Rompuy.

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