• City concede two goals in last five minutes as victory turns to defeat
Paul will be here from 7.25pm or so for coverage of Real Madrid v Manchester City. In the meantime, here a preview of tonight's game:
José Mourinho has warned Manchester City that Real Madrid will be "at our best" when they face them at the Bernabéu in their opening Champions League group game on Tuesday evening. The Spanish champions are reeling from a poor start to the season that continued with Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Sevilla, which left them eight points behind the leaders, Barcelona.
"To play against City motivates me as much as playing against Getafe," said Mourinho. "To win the Champions League motivates me like any other match. Motivation is something intrinsic to the job. The conviction is that tomorrow [on Tuesday evening] we will have a team. A determined, compact and solid team. I will try to field the team that I think will show up. Maybe we won't be as relaxed, or filled with the same conviction and confidence we usually have against an opponent like City, coming off a game which was terrible.
"I'm sure we'll be at our best. I could be wrong but that's what I think. The lineup will not be very different [from Sevilla], nor will I try to show any player that they are not in the best condition. It will be the best that I consider to play against an opposition full of players of the highest level. I don't believe I have created doubts. The principal person responsible is me. When my teams win, we win together, and when we lose, I am the one responsible. Before losing to Sevilla I said to the players what I then said in the press conference. For this reason it is not a criticism but a conviction.
"I said it to them before the game. Football is about today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Yesterday is history. I haven't been able to keep my players motivated and concentrated at the top level and that is my fault."
Here are the teams, although it should be noted that there are claims on Twitter that Uefa has published the wrong line-ups. Could it be that the mandarins accidentally scoffed the real ones somewhere between the canard au pamplemousse and black forest gateau? I'll bring you confirmation asap: in the meantime, it really does seem that Ramo and Ozil have been dropped and Essien and City new boy Nastasic are starting
Real: Casilla; Arbeloa, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Di Maria, Essien, Poor Ronaldo; Higuian
Subs: Antonio, Sergio Ramos, Coentrao, Kaka, Benzema, Ozil, Modric
City: Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Javi Gracia, Y Touré, Barry; Silva, Nasri; Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaltea, Lescott, Dzeko, Kolarov, Aguero, Rodwell
Ref: D Skomina (Svn)
So it seems those line-ups are indeed correct. Mourinho, then, is laying down the law and telling certain spoilt slackers that their "lack of focus" is not acceptable. As for City, apparently an insider has told ITV that Mario Balotelli has been omitted from the squad for "technical reasons".
The away end is full, but there are abundant empty seats elsewhere in the stadium, which suggests that the economic woes in Spain mean many people have a good deal more cause to be sad than Poor Ronaldo.
1 min: We have go. For of you watching in black and white, Real are in white and City are in black. For those of you watching colour, it's the same. For those of you following only this mbm, Real are naked and City are in pink leather.
3 min: Real move quickly down the left, whereupon Ronaldo cuts inside and sends a decent long-range shot several yard wide. The poor guy just can't catch a break ...
5 min: City haven't shown much so far, just trying to keep it steady early doors. Yaya Touré, as ever, has shown a couple of classy touches but it's Real who've had most of the ball.
7 min: A lovely flick by Silva sends Tevez scampering into the danger zone but Pepe hurtles across to snuff out the danger. City are starting to spend a little time in the opposing half.
9 min: Fine save! Poor Ronaldo received the ball wide on the left, then bamboozled Kompany with some foot-magic before aiming a low curling shot towards the bottom corner. Hart sprawled himself smartly to tip it behind for a corner.
11 min: Poor Ronaldo receives the ball on the left, then cuts inside past Maicon and unleashes another fierce shot that Hart pushes away. At some point City are going to figure out that when he receives the ball on the left, Poor Ronaldo likes to cut inside and shoot ...
14 min: City knock the ball around midfield for a bit, going nowhere ... and then Nastasic tries to chip on forward for Tevez to chase but it's too long and Real get ready to rumble forward anew. "Real are naked and City are in pink leather?" gasps Toby Mohr before stammering: "The important question, Paul, is what are you wearing?" A confused expression, as ever.
17 min: You get the feeling City will pay for their passiveness sooner or later. Fortunately that time it was Arbeloa who cut in from the wing (right) and shot, and Hart was left with an elementary save.
20 min: Silva turns nicely in midfield and darts towards the Real box, with team-mates to either side of him: this is a promising position .... but Silva delayed his pass too long and Marcelo disposseses him.
21 min: Hart to the rescue again, as Higuain springs the offside trap but is forced sufficiently wide to have to pass backwards rather than shoot. Ronaldo attempts to find the net from the edge of the area but his shot is deflected into the path of Khedira ... who stabs it over the bar from eight yards.
24 min: Real are well on top, moving the ball at such speed that City seem sliuggish. Maicon is being given the Bale treatment by Ronaldo.
28 min: The ball is a boomerang to City at the moment: every time they boot it out of their half it keeps coming back, though accompanied by several Real players. Essien it the latest Real player to try his luck, but his 20-yard blast hurtles way wide.
30 min: Solid work by Kompany to shunt Higuain off the ball after Nastasic was caught in possession.
34 min: Nasri, who has been peripheral at best so far, appears to have pulled a muscle and is hobbling off. He looks unlikely to continue.
37 min: What a chance for City! The imperious Touré strode through midfield and City flood forward in support, and briefly had four attackers versus just two defenders. Alas, Touré pass to Silva was imperfect, forcing the Spaniard to break his stride and giving Real a moment to recover. Pepe charges down Silva's shot at the edge of the box.
39 min: Kolarov has been introduced in place of Nasri.
40 min: Scandalous miss! Di Maria clipped a superb cross from the right over Kompany's head. Hart, to the defender's anger, chose not to come to meet it, leaving Higuain to stretch out a leg and .... tonk the ball over the bar from five yards!
41 min: Ronaldo receives the ball wide on the right, cuts inside Maicon ... and this time Kompany blocks his shot before it reaches Hart.
42 min: Di Maria has a pop from 25 yards. It flashes just wide.
43 min: The ref stops play so that he can berate Touré and Khedira for excessive stroppery. "Looking at the subs it seems certain Barry has to play 90mins," moans Richard Hamilton. "Don't you think this level, and the business end of International football is just too much for him? Nice fella, good pro, just limited in ability." Yes. And I take it from your suggestion that there is no alternative on the bench that you don't think Rodwell is better?
45+1 min: After looking like they were coming to terms with things, City have let the initiative slip again and Real are well on top. Di Maria slams one wide from 25 yards.
Half-time: City have bad Real finishing and fine Hart goalkeeping to thank for a scoreline that is even despite Real dominating for long periods. City have not been awful but not have they been good enough to suggest they can continue holding out unless they find greater cohesion, accuracy and tempo.
Half-time observation: "I've just counted the total squad numbers of the 11 City players on the pitch," admits Edan Tal. "It's 190! This is getting silly!" It certainly is, Edan, it certainly is.
Regarding Gareth Barry. "Ask any City fan if they'd have wanted Barry to start today, and the answer would have been a resounding yes," thunders Daniel Green. "We've leaked goals this season, and it is due to Barry's absence. When we won our last 6 games to win the league Barry was a critical part of the XI we used weekly. He is slow and isn't flashy, but then again neither was Dietmar Hamann. Only people who don't watch City regularly fail yo see how important he is to us."
46 min: City get the second half under way.
47 min: Maicon gets farther forward than he ever did in the first half ... but his cross from the right is feeble.
48 mins: Poor Ronaldo receives the ball wide on the right ... and you know the drill. But Nastasic knows it now too, so he came across to help out Maicon and prevent the Portuguese from shooting. So instead he shunted ball sideways to Di Maria, whose shot from the right is deflected wide.
49 min:Touré sets Kolarov racing in behind the Real defence down the left ... this is a great opportunity .... but instead of crossing, Kolarov runs all the way out of play. Oh dear.
51 min: Javi Garica booked after some helter-skelter midfield action sparked by Touré losing the ball. Garica didn't deserve to see yellow mind: he won the ball back off Khedira fair and square.
54 min: Garcia nods over from a corner, Pepe having applied enough pressure to prevent him from getting a proper connection on it.
56 min: Poor Ronaldo receives the ball on the right ... and gain City double up on him, Kompany helping out Maicon. But down-on-his-luck Ronaldo has support too, with Marceloa providing an overlap. PR gives him the ball and Marceloa fires a brilliant low cross across the face of goal. Higuain, however, was dawdling so Clichy was able to clear under no duress. "Someone should point out to Daniel Green that Dietmar Hamann did a bit more than just occupy space in front of the central defenders and knock the ball six yards sideways every now and then," bellows Nick Smith, doing the pointing out himself. "Why did Rafa want to replace Alonso with Barry? Its the biggest mystery in football... I miss Xabi."
59 min: City nod off while Real take a quick corner. THen Pepe is allowed to receive a cross unmarked on the far side of the box: he even has time to miscontrol it and do a fancy twirl before firing the ball across the face of goal. Again Clichy is on hand to bash it clear. "I throw a very dark cloud over Daniel Green's impassioned defence of G. Barry," barks Sasu Laaksonen. "The City fans I know understand there's a big difference between the Premier League football and CL/International football. And while they would not mind seeing Barry starting a game against Stoke, there's no way they would want him to lumber v Real Madrid. And yes, I am a Finn....but there's a rapidly growing City contingent here too."
60 min: Bang! Marcelo fires a cracking shot inches wide from 20 yards. City are on the rack here ...
62 min: Respite for City as Varane chops down Silva to concede a freekick near the Real corner flag (the one to the right of their goal, if you must know). And that's Silva's last contribution to the game, as Mancini takes him off to throw on Dzeko.
64 min: Marcelo goes close with yet another blast from distance.
GOAL! Real 0-1 City (Dzeko 69') Now there's a sucker punch! That was mildly reminiscent of Fernando Torres' goal for Chelsea gainst Barcelona last season, although the chance was created not by a mighty punt forward but by a trademark burst by Touré, who collected the ball off Tevez and stormed past two and drew the last defender before knocking the ball into the path of Dezko. The Bosnian cantered towards the box and slotted the ball past Casillas from 20 yards.
71 min: Hart comes to meet a corner but misses it. Happily for him, Varane heads over from close range. Meanwhile, Mourinho is poised to make two substitutions ...
72 min: That's another dangerous break by City, who have three attackers versus four defenders. Tevez has Dzeko to his right and Kolarov to his left. He goes for the Serbian option ... and Kolarov forces a decent save from Casillas with a shot from 18 yards.
Real subtitutions: The cavalry arrive in the persons of Benzema and Modric, with Higuain and Khedira leaving.
City substitution: Maicon off, Zabaleta off.
75 min: Modric's first involvement sees him nick in to steal the ball off Kolarov as he embarked on another run.
GOAL! Real 1-1 City (Marcelo 76') A superb strike by Marcelo, who did what Poor Ronaldo has been attempting to do all night: after receiving the ball on the right, he cut inside and curled a sumptuous shot into the top corner from 20 yards. And on that note, could people please stop referring to Ashley Cole as the best left-back in the world?
78 min: This is fun. The match has an engagingly hectic feel to it, with both sides going for the win.
80 min: Ozil, who came on for Essien earlier on, is becoming a menacing influence for Real, probing tantalisingly on the edge of the City box. Real's latest attach yielded a corner, with Hart then having to produce solid saves from first from Varane and then from Alonso.
82 min: Real are establishing a base camp at the rim of City's box. Modric has a pop from there but it's straight at Hart.
83 min: A fine break by Tevez and Kolarov relieves the pressure and results in a corner for City. Poor Ronaldo heads the corner clear but City regain the ball and circulate it smartly before winning another corner.
GOAL! Real 1-2 City (Kolarov 86') Kolarov sends a curling freekick from the right towarads the back post. Defenders and attackers go for it ... but all miss it (or maybe Alonso got a slight nick to it) and it bounces into the corner of the net! That's what's called putting the ball into a dangerous area with vicious intent. Nasri's injury has turned out to be a blessing of sorts, since Kolarov has made a difference since replacing him.
GOAL! Real 2-2 City (Benzema 87') Way to kill City's celebrations quick smart! Di Maria went on a jagged run down the right and then pinged the ball into Benzema, who turned away from Nastasic and fired a low shot into the net from the edge of the box!
88 min: This game is far from finished: Real threaten a winner with a lightning break and quickfire passes. Benzema cuts the ball back to Poor Ronaldo, who could put Di Maria through on goal but elects to have a good himself, and Hart pushes his 20-yard drive to safety.
GOAL! Real 3-2 City (Happy Ronaldo 90') Ronaldo received the ball on the right, cut inside and sent a swirling shot past Hart and into the net! Kompany appeared to duck under the ball before it bounced just in front of the keeper, who reckons the centreback should have cut it out. Ronaldo, meanwhile, scampers off to milk the adulation of the jubilant crowd.
Full-time: City will be sick. Twice they were in front and twice they let their lead slip quickly and sloppily, and then were sunk by a late winner than Ronaldo had been rehearsing all night. It was not a spectacularly high-quality game but it sure had its moments, and a pleasantly chaotic and positive vibe in the second half, in particular.
Reaction from Joe Hart: "It's not on. You can't go 2-1 up and lose. It's not on. We only have ourselves to blame."