Manchester City were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting on the away goals rule despite a second-half comeback to win 3-2
• Here's a gallery of the match
Rob will be here shortly before the 8.05pm (GMT) kick-off with live coverage of the Europa League tie between Manchester City and Sporting Libson.
If you get here first, why not read why Roberto Mancini wants rivals Manchester United to progess.
Roberto Mancini wants Manchester United to progress in the Europa League so that they have no physical or mental edge over Manchester City as the Premier League title run-in enters its final 10 games. The Italian has four key players currently unavailable or in doubt for Thursday's tie with Sporting Lisbon due to injury, including Gareth Barry who is struggling with a back problem.
City hope to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the last-16 first leg at the Etihad Stadium as United also try to progress, against Athletic Bilbao, who lead 3-2. With United leading the championship by a point Mancini is conscious that if City continue in Europe and United are knocked out Sir Alex Ferguson's men would be less drained.
Asked if this is the case the manager said: "Probably – so we hope Manchester United will win tomorrow. We're here for the Europa League and we want to go to the next stage. We'll try to [juggle the competitions]. We have three or four players injured and that's the biggest problem at the moment. But football can change in a week or 10 days and for that reason we'll try to win tomorrow."
And here are the teams:
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kolo Touré, Savic, Kolarov, Pizarro, Yaya Touré, Johnson, Silva, Balotelli, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Dzeko, Nasri, Clichy, De Jong, Roman.
Sporting: Rui Patricio, Daniel Carrico, Xandao, Anderson Polga, Insua, Bruno Pereirinha, Fernandez, Schaars, Diego Capel, Izmailov, van Wolfswinkel. Subs: Marcelo, Evaldo, Jeffren, Carrillo, Andre Santos, Neto, Rubio.
Referee: Tom Harald Hagen (Norway)
Teleported to Eastlands: But little time for the usual scene-setter, sadly after coming direct from San Mames. Sorry about that. Strong City front six. That's about the only observation Ive time to make.
1 min: Sporting kick off, leading 1-0 from the first leg. Savic's weak back header lets Schaars flash a shot wide after 17 seconds.
2 min: Neat flick on from Balotelli to Johnson out on the right but the winger had gone too early and was a foot or so offside.
4 min: Richards dives in to block out a pass to the wing from Izmailov and Johnson picks it up but his toucj lets him down tight by the touchline and it runs out for a throw.
6 min: Pereirenha gets past Kolarov 20 yards from goal on the right but his drag back cross was too early for Van Wolfswinkel and City come out of defence with Pizarro.
7 min: Kolarov plays a 40-yard ball up to Agüero but overhits it. That was the third inaccurate, long, raking pass City have tried so far.
9 min: Yaya Touré has better success with an arrowed crossfield pass to Johnson. The winger cuts inside, rolls it to Silva on the edge of the box then darts in fro the return but the one-two doesn't come off as Silva's pass is blocked.
10 min: Xandao has a header from a Sporting corner that drifts wide. The update function is now available.
11 min: Long pass from Pizarro from inside his own half to Silva out wide on the left wing 10 yards from the goalline. he sends in a cross curling away from the back stick and Johnson meets it on the jump, trying to steer it into goal but his deft hook doesn't come off.
13 min: "It's all abit route one, isn't it?" asks Paul Ruffley. They reckon Polga and Xandao are slow, I think and are trying to exploit their lack of pace, and have just done so again with a smashed ball over their heads that Balotelli can't stop from running away.
14 min: Yaya Touré is booked for protesting about a foul. "Am I correct in reading that the consigliere from the Godfather films is refereeing tonight?" asks Don Langford. "And he's Norwegian? I thought he was German-Irish." He's Duvalling about here, Don. Don?!. Ha.
16 min: Another launch from Yaya over the top that hits Xandao and when Balotelli with less power dinks it past the defender Johsnon can't prevent it from going out of play. "So are Man Utd fans now in the unusual position of cheering for City to win," asks Robin Hazlehurst. "Because it may damage them in the league, or are they hoping that City lose, because that's just what fans of rivals do?" The latter, I'd hazard Robin.
18 min: Johnson almost plays in Agüero with a threaded pass from the edge of the box but Polga reads it and bashes it clear. Then Kolo Touré whacks it back upfield and again Sporting deal with it.
20 min: Yaya gets the Howitzer out again to smack a 40-yard pass out to the wing. Silva tries to turn inside but Sporting clear. City retrieve possession and work it to Balotelli who has a good shooting chance on the right but takes it wide with a superfluous touch and his shot canons off the defender for a corner that loops way beyond the back post.
23 min: When Sporting break Kolarov hacks down Fernandez (I think) and is booked. He will miss the next game in Europe now.
24 min: Dig from the ESPN commentator (Rob Hawthorn?) about the weeping City fan from Sunday at Swansea. "At least they're not crying," he says. He's right, too. No one over the age of eight should ever cry at a match, unless you wear the ball or some studs in an intimate area.
25 min: Richards lunges into Pereirinha on the left about 25 yards from goal and concedes a free kick. Fernandez takes it and loops it straight into Hart's hands.
26 min: Fernandez turns in the box, wonderfully, and he's slightly tapped by Pizarro as he executed his turn and drops to the floor and rolls about. Robert Duvall rushes over and books him as Joe Hart shouts in his ear.
28 min: "So are City playing well enough tonight to have kept up with Bilbao in the earlier match tonight?" asks Paul Taylor. "I guess that's a question about defence and pace?" They're not Paul. They don't seem to be playing to any coherent plan, just playing the percentages, trying to get behind Sporting's back four. It may well pay off but they've been frustrating to watch so far.
30 min: Schaars plays a reverse pass that looked beautiful … except no one had made the run behind Kolarov and the left-back just steps up and takes possession.
GOAL!! Manchester City 0-1 Sporting (Fernandez)
33 min: Balotelli pushes Insua over as the former Liverpool left-back tries to edge past him and into the box. It's about 22 yards from goal to the left of centre. Fernandez curls it around the wall with his right foot and a yard or so from Hart's left post. I think Hart got a touch but the power beat him.
35 min: Mancini had a real pop at Balotelli after Sporting scored, the inference being that he was to blame for giving away that free-kick in such dumb fashion.
37 min: City corner after Kolarov's 20-yard shot is blocked. Kolarov takes the corner and doesn't clear the first man, Insua heads it out for a throw.
39 min: City have begun woefully and Savic epitomises this with a dreadful pass straight into touch after a minute or so's possession from the home side around halfway, working it this way and that.
GOAL!! Manchester City 0-2 Sporting (Van Wolfswinkel)
41 min: Terrible defending from the free-kick conceded by Yaya Touré five yards inside the Sporting half. They chip it out to the right where Kolarov is attarcted to the ball and Pereirinha fools him and runs straight past him. Silva doesn't track the winger's run and he gets five yards from the byeline and passes across goal for the Wolf to tap into the goal.
44 min: Les Dawson, LS Lowry, Howard Jacobsen, Caroline Aherne etc. Your boys took one hell of a beating.
45 min: Johnson tries to pick up the tempo and crosses towards Savic who has gone forward but he fouls the keeper. City need four at least to win this tie.
45 min+1: Kolo Touré steps out into midfield to try and cut out Fernandez's run forward, leaving a gap behind him that Izmailov sprints into to receive the through pass but Richards is wise to it and belts it clear.
Half time: I need food. Back in eight minutes or so. Walter Arenzon writes, as several others have, on whether City are bovvered tonight: "It looks like they really are going to let this one go. My cynical side is telling me that they don't want to give Man U any advantage, even if they have to drop the Europa league." Fred Lane continues on the same theme but with a sting in the tail: "Some people might suspect City, having seen United's result, deciding to play far below the level that they're capable of. I'd prefer to think that they are playing at the level they're capable of." It's been horribly disjointed so far. Phil Withall has greater concerns: "I fear the future of English teams in Europe will be similar to that of Scottish ones. The "three tier" Premier League means that there is enough dross for the big teams to comfortably put daylight between them and the rest while hiding the fact that the rest of Europe is pulling away. The financial fair play rules will only make it worse."
On a lighter note Paul Taylor throws in a riff: "Ever have an idea of what someone looks like from their voice, then find out you were just so wrong? I had always pictured Barry McGuire (1965's Eve Of Destruction) as somehow being dark, angry, even militant – not as, well, a beach bum. And check out those jodhpurs and riding boots! (And the song was written by a 19 year old, an age when most of us are adolescent rubbish.)" That's Jerry Lewis there, that is.
46 min: City bring on De Jong for Johnson, presumably to allow Yaya Touré to get forward more.
48 min: Jon Champion is the commentator BTW. Kolarov plays it to Balotelli up the left, gets it back, then gives it him back and receives it in return. He rolls the ball infield and Yaya angles a pass to the far post for Richards' run but he's squeezed out by the goalkeeper.
50 min: Sporting corner after De Jong tracks back to tackle Schaars. Kolo Touré heads it behind for another.
51 min: City defend that one, closing down Polga as the ball runs free at the back post and giving away a throw. They break through Kolarov who turns inside on halfway and is brought down. Doomsday for Peter Omeno: "There appears to be something eating into English football … the
two Manchester teams really look weak against European opposition." Weak but in different ways, Peter.
53 min: Lacklustre stuff from City so far, forced backwards by Sporting when in possession but they do advance this time and Agüero is blocked so City have a free-kick 30 yards from goal wide on the left. Kolarov sticks it on Richards head but Xandao glances it behind for a corner. City are caught offside from the corner. Pizarro off for Dzeko which won't spare the 'z' key.
56 min: Schaars knocks a ball over the top, punts it really, and Capel looks to have beaten Kolo Touré but he recovers to get it out for a throw. Insua then has a dribble into the box from the left and beats Richards and Kolo but then overrruns it. Sporting corner headed out by Richards.
59 min: A better thrust up the left from City through Kolarov and Dzeko to win a throw but when it comes in Sporting bash it 60 yards upfield.
GOAL!! Manchester City 1-2 Sporting (Aguero)
61 min: Lovely control and finish from the Argentinian. He was played in by Yaya Touré's pass. Richards took the left-back with him by making a run on the outside, opening up a gap in the centre into which Touré slotted the ball. Agüero took it in his stride with a touch then shot past the keeper.
63 min: City free-kick when Carrico kicks Balotelli's ankle. To the left of goal 20 yards out. The very spot where Fernandez took his and scored. Kolarov takes it with his left foot though it suited a right-footed player. He curls it pas the right of the wall and behind. Mancini gives him some grief for taking it.
65 min: Double substitution for Sporting. Neto on for Fernandez. Jeffren for Capel.
66 min: Dezeko has given City some impetus and again he makes a run forward, slipping the ball through to Balotelli but the keeper races out to smother it. Silva off for City. Nasri on. "At the risk of being too clever," writes Eric Schwab, "I'd say the 'z-key' aptly describes the game plan for both Manchester teams today: zzzzzzzzzzzzz."
68 min: Final sub from Sporting, Van Wolfswinkel off, Carrillo on.
70 min: Kolarov scuttles up the left and past a pair of defenders to get to the goalline and cross. It is blocked and he wins a corner that he takes but Dzeko and Richards both go for it and cancel each other out. "I bought the single in the 70s and thought the same thing," writes Anthony Walker. Only recently realised he is the McGuire in 'McGuinn and McGuire just a-gettin' higher in L.A., You know where that's at' from the Mamas and the Papas' Creeque Alley, all about California 60s music scene." That McGuire, eh? Good detective work.
72 min: Dzeko looks to have lured the keeper into making a handling error when he comes for a cross but he's flagged offside.
74 min: Savic is penalised for a foul. Like many others he may well improve after getting this first season under his belt but heis floundering this year.
GOAL!! Manchester City 2-2 Sporting (Balotelli, pen) Agüero brought down by Neto on the 18-yard line. Balotelli does his stutter-run and rolls it to the left of Rui Patricio.
76 min: Barney by the touchline as Pereirinha went down under Dzeko's challenge. De Jong thought he was faking it and tried to yank him up. Cue melee.
78 min: Delay for the stretcher as the Sporting player clutches his elbow. While we're waiting, Rich Smith has a point to make: "Over the last couple of seasons I have seen the top four teams chop and change players with an attacking incentive. I think they can all equally share the blame of forgetting how to defend." True, Rich.
80 min: Pereirinha returns, utterly cured by the sponge. "I remember seeing McGuire singing Eve of Destruction in the 60's," writes Fred Lane. "Of course he looked strange - we all did." Me, too. Rocking that nappy look.
82 min: Sporting corner after some fancy footwork from Jeffren. They take their time but eventually stick it on Xandao's head but he gets underneath the ball and nods over.
GOAL!! Manchester City 3-2 Sporting (Agüero)
84 min: Good work up the left from Agüero wins a corner. The cross is met by Dzeko who flicks it on with a glancing header and Agüero hooks it in firmly at the back post. Lazarus?!
85 min: Cross from Kolarov, hit first time when Yaya Touré found him in space, on to Dzeko's head and over the bar. Rui Patricio, the keeper, pretends to be injured and goes down.
86 min: Porto Uefa Cup final v Celtic springs to mind with all these "injuries".
87 min: Richards and Aguero open up the right flank and get the cross on to Dzeko's head but it's juts too high for him and it spins off to Balotelli on the left. He tries to unlock the defence with a threaded pass, can't manage it and Sporting clear.
88 min: City corner after a wonderful cross from Kolarov is met by Balotelli's head and knocked behind by Polga. The corner, though, goes backwards to De Jong on halfway and City beging to build patiently. There'll be five minutes' added time.
89 min: City corner when Kolarov's cross is headed behind. Pereirinha hits the deck to play for time. This time the ref tells him to stop messing about. Again the corner goes backwards after Sporting win the header but City get the ball back into the box and Richards tries an overhead kick and is penalised for catching Xandao's head.
90 min+2: Aguero skins Insua but the full-back then recovers and puts Aguero off who can only cross from a tight angle into the keeper's arms.
90 min+3: Jeffren goes for the corner flag and widdles about until De Jong's impatience sees him knock the winger over.
90 min+4: A minute to go. Corner for City when Kolarov's shot is deflected. Up goes Hart.
90 min+5: The ball came out from teh corner and De Jong chipped it to the far post on to Hart's head and he comes agonisingly close with his header, going inches past the post.
Final whistle: City are out on the away goals rule. "No mention of Agüero's ridiculously blatant dive to win the penalty?" asks Abhay Puri. "I'm a fan of his and not one of the City should never win because they are buying everything brigade, but if that is a part of them going through after Sporting's resistance, it would be pretty despicable." You see, Abhay, doing the MBM one is a half watching, half typing and always listening. I didn't think the dive was all that blatant. He may have bought it but when I looked up it seemed he had been clipped.
Anyway, both Manchester clubs are out of Europe. City fought back strongly in the second half but were too slow to get going and tactically they were all over the shop in the first half. Kolarov became a major attacking threat but too late. Cue lots of consolation-type sentiments about focusing on the league from both. But both have huge ground to make up in Europe next seaon. Thanks for your company and emails. Good night. Do Injuryamubulancechasers Inc do RSI? Good night.