Schalke v Manchester City: Champions League last-16, first leg – as it happened

  • Late goals by Sané and Sterling seal comeback
  • Bentaleb scores twice from the spot
  • Otamendi sent off, Fernandinho ruled out of second leg
  • Var adds to confusion

Guardiola says City can't win the Champions League

“It was a great result. We gave the first penalty, we gave the second penalty, we gave the red card, so that is not good. So still we are not ready to fight for the final stages. That is the reality.

“We played good but we lost some easy balls, which you are not allowed to do in this competition. And we conceded two penalties. I am a big fan of Var so I have no problem with that. I think the first and second ones are penalties.”


Sterling speaks

“We made it difficult for ourselves at times but we stuck together, even when down to 10 men.” About his goal he says he gave the defender “a slight nudge in the back ... and my first touch was good and then when the far corner opened up, I went for it.”

He adds: “We showed what a great bunch of lads we are and what we’re heading towards.” That last bit “what we’re heading towards” is quite ominous. Mind you, they’ll have to play better than this to win the Champions League for the first time. But they have so many players who can produce magic at any moment that they’re proper contenders. And they know it.

Sané goal, by the way, looks better with every replay. Every player in the wall jumped high but Sané got the ball over them all and down again with such fizz and whip that it whizzed into the corner, skimming the inside of the post. The keeper was bewildered (and he was all over the shop for Sterling’s goal later).

Leroy Sané speaks

“The goal means a lot. I was kind of sad for Schalke, especially for the fans because the atmosphere was amazing again, like it always is here. Schalke did really well, they defended well and made it difficult for them so we have to say ‘respect’. ... But in the end we did it, we scored three goals away.”

“We never give up. We always want to keep going and keep fighting. We know what quality we have in this team and we always get chances. ... It was not our best game but we scored our goals.”

What a lovely story this is for Sané. He was left on the bench against the club where he started but then he came off an turned the game with an outrageously good freekick goal. And now he’s wandering around the pitch basking in the warm appreciation of fans who know him well and are happy to see him fulfil his talent even at the cost of their team. He throws his jersey to some lucky punter in the crowd and chats happily to some compatriots. Even Var couldn’t ruin nice human moments like that.

The lucky recipient of Sane’s shirt.
The lucky recipient of Sane’s shirt. Photograph: Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images


Full-time: Schalke 2-3 Man City

What a result for City! They were expected to win but not like this! They fell behind to two penalties and then had Otamendi sent off and they looked to have run out of ideas. But Sané equalised with an incredible freekick and then Sterling snatched a late winner. Better teams than Schalke won’t offer them reprieves like this but the nature of this win will do them plenty of good to City’s morale, all the same.

90+5 min: Tempers flare in the dying second and Ederson cops a booking for wading into the fray to protect young Zinchenko.

90 + 2 min: There will be at least three more minutes. Time for another twist in the wild match?

GOAL! Schalke 2-3 Man City (Sterling 90)

What a comeback! Sterling latches on to a long boot upfield by Ederson and prods it first time past the keeper from an acute angle! Ropey defending by Schalke but brilliant persistence and composure by Sterling. What a huge result for City, who looked to be reeling with 10 men!

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling slots the ball past Schalke’s goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling slots the ball past Schalke’s goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann. Photograph: Friedemann Vogel/EPA
Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after giving the visitors the lead .
Sterling celebrates his goal. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images
Raheem Sterling is congratulated by Oleksandr Zinchenko after giving Manchester City the lead.
Sterling is congratulated by Oleksandr Zinchenko after giving Manchester City the lead. Photograph: Jörg Schüler/Getty Images


88 min: Zinchenko’s first contribution is to win a corner for City. It flies across the face of goal but no one is able to apply a killer touch.

Schalke substitution: Harit on, Uth off.

Man City substitution: Zinchenko on, De Bruyne off.

85 min: Suddenly City are alive again, and Sané is almost in for another ... but he’s foiled by a terrific tackle by his namesake in the Schalke defence.

GOAL! Schalke 2-2 Man City (Sané 84)

That’s a sensational freekick! Sane whips an amazing curling shot over the wall and into the top corner. Power and precision and absolutely no chance for the keeper!

Leroy Sane gets the visitors back on level terms.
Leroy Sane fires his free-kick over the wall ... Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane scores to make it 2-2.
And into the net to get the visitors back on level terms. Photograph: Friedemann Vogel/EPA
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane celebrates scoring their second goal with Kyle Walker.
Sane is congratulates on his stupendous strike by Kyle Walker. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters


84 min: Sterling is brought down about 28 yards from goal, giving City a dangerous freekick. It’s central and several players look like the want a crack at it.

82 min: Are City settling for a narrow defeat here? Or are they still slightly stunned by the situation they find themselves in? They can’t get the ball at the minute and are looking low on zip.


79 min: Guardiola is on his feet on the sideline now, applauding his 10 guys. But Schalke are toying with them for a moment, keeping the ball and making City chase. And the visitors aren’t doing it very effectively.

Man City substitution: Sané on, Aguero off. Go figure.

Schalke substitution: Skrzybski on, McKennie off.

76 min: Sané is warming up. City need him badly. Which is to say, they badly need to diversify their approach. It’s too samey and even one-paced, and Schalke are not in the mood to give away any more gift goals.

74 min: Amid panicked boos from the home crowd, De Bruyne’s curl his shot through the wall, via a couple of deflections. The ball trickles out for a corner.

73 min: Sané booked for pulling down Bernardo Silva, giving City a freekick right on the edge of the box, a little to the left. De Bruyne fancies it ...

72 min: Walkers hares down the right and then booms a cross all the way over to the far flank.

71 min: Uefa stats show us that City have completed 458 passes so far, so there’s that.

City substitution: Kompany on, David Silva off. Guardiola figures he can’t play on with just Fernandinho in central defence so sacrifices a forward. It’s abut staying in the tie at this stage.

Red card for Otamendi

68 min: He picks up a second yellow for a rash trip on Burgstaller near half way as Schalke loosely threatened to launch a counter-attack. Oh City!

It’s an early bath for Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi.
It’s an early bath for Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters


67 min: City have the ball but can’t do anything with it. De Bruyne tries to inject some thrust with a burst from midfield, but Aguero doesn’t anticipate his pass.

65 min: Still no change from City, in any sense.

Schalke substitution: Burgstaller on, Mendyl off

63 min: De Bruyne flips a nice pass in the direction of Sterling, but Caligiuri does well to beat him to it and usher the ball to back to his keeper with his head.

62 min: It’s amazing that Guardiola hasn’t yet introduced Sané and put Sterling on the left. Bernardo Silva has been on the right so far and not been up to much, and City could do with more width and thrust.

61 min: Play resumes, with both players fit enough to continue.

59 min: A break in play as Serdar and McKennie receive treatment following challenges with De Bruyne and Laporte.

58 min: Sterling crosses low from the let. Bernado Silva goes down in the box and looks up hopefully for a penalty. But Sané was simply too strong for him.

56 min: Gundogan has a right-footed shot charged down the edge of the area. The ball bounces back to him and he tries a left-footer, which flies wide.

55 min: As previously mentioned, this has become a repeat of City’s match at St James’s Park earlier this season, when they were beaten by Newcastle. Schalke are similarly well organised and dogged, and City are running low on ideas and spark. Still, plenty of time left, and plenty of armoury on the bench for City. So no excuses.

52 min: Aguero collects a pass from Walker, skips past one and then fires wide from 20 yards. Guardiola looks a picture of despair as he slumps into the dugout

51 min: Marvellous interplay between David Silva and Aguero at the edge of the box! But then Aguero takes too long to get a shot off and is dispossessed in the box by an excellent sliding tackle from Nastasic.

50 min: Another City attack fizzles out as five opponents surround Sterling to the left-hand side of the box.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is surrounded by Schalke players.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has some company. Photograph: Friedemann Vogel/EPA


49 min: Uth darts between Fernandinho and Walker and nearly gets on the end of a fetching ball from the right. Fernandinho struggles continue.

47 min: City have come out strong in the second half. De Bruyne unleashes a fierce low curler from 20 yards but has to settle for a corner after it takes a nick off a defender and whizzes wide.

“Here is my considered view on Var,” announces Matt Kelcher. “Football is the world’s most popular sport. To a large extent this because of the scarcity goals compared to scores in sports like Basketball or Rugby. This means when a goal is scored the level of excitement is like nothing else. It is no exaggeration to state that when my team scores it is one of the most thrilling moments of my week. VAR jeopardises this as it means fans can never be truly be sure they have scored (or won a penalty, I know this to my cost as a visiting Sheffield Wednesday fan at Stamford Bridge last month). Is it really worth risking what makes football so exciting and unique just for the cause of getting a few more marginal calls ‘right’?” And the other thing is, it’s not even sure that they are getting more calls right. Ultimately it’s still humans making the decisions and there are many examples of them still getting it wrong after several views. In other news, BT have just reported that the referee wanted to examine the footage of that handball incident himself ... but couldn’t because the pitchside screen malfunctioned. D’oh!

Fernandinho was badly at fault for the second penalty, but the first was more contentious: the shot definitely hit Otamendi’s arm and the official appear to have decided that since the ball travelled about 10 yards before striking him, he should have been able to get out of the way. But the ball was travelling so fast that that’s not necessarily fair. It falls into the “seen them given” category, but those aren’t the ones that are supposed to be overturned by Var.

“Are City the Anti-Real Madrid?” asks London Crockett. “Only able to focus on the domestic cup while looking off the boil in the Champions League?”

“Fabinho is definitely a better centreback than his fellow Brazilian Fernandinho,” parps Harry Palmer, who has a definite point on this week’s evidence. Meanwhile, Leroy Sané has to come on up front, I fancy. Remove one of the Silvas and stick Sané on the left and Sterling on the right.

Half-time: Schalke 2-1 Man City

What an extraordinary half. For the first half hour or so it looked like City were going to win at a canter, but then they got sloppy and Schalke punished them. Both penalties were warranted - although the one against Otamendi was on the severe side - and City now look a tad flustered. Do they have the moxie to raise their game, introduce something new or better to their play?


45+4 min: City try to zigzag their way forward but they’re mostly going across the pitch once they reach the final third. They’re not passing with enough speed and imagination to unlock the emboldened hosts.

45+2 min: Schalke have all their players behind the ball as City try to pick a way back into the game. There’s shades of the Newcastle match here now: will City be able to avoid a similar result?

45 min: There will be at least five minutes added on, owing mainly to the stoppage for Var.

GOAL! Schalke 2-1 Man City (Bentaleb pen 45)

Bentalebed goes the opposite side to his first one. Ederson dives full-length the right way. But the spotkick is well enough struck and placed to carry on into the net despite the keeper getting a hand to it. City were on Easy Street, now they’re in real bother! How will they react?

Nabil Bentaleb fires in his second penalty of the night.
Nabil Bentaleb fires in his second penalty of the night. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock


Penalty to Schalke!

Fernandinho booked for pulling down Sané as a freekick was making its way into the area. No quibble with that decision and he’ll miss the second leg, too.


42 min: Uth booked for a late tackle on Gundogan. Otamendi’s yellow card, by the way, means he will miss the second leg.


41 min: City try to get back into their groove. Incidentally, Madonna’s Into The Groove was No1 when Schalke’s manager was born.

39 min: Nothing says ‘unexpected equaliser’ like a thunderous blast of Europop over the stadium PA system.

GOAL! Schalke 1-1 Man City (Bentaleb pen 39)

The former Spurs midfielder keeps his composure after an epic delay and sends Ederson the wrong way!

Nabil Bentaleb gets Schalke back on level terms.
Nabil Bentaleb gets Schalke back on level terms. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock
Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, centre, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s opening goal.
Bentaleb looks pleased with himself as do the Schalke fans. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP


Penalty to Schalke!

And a booking to Otamendi, to boot! After a three-minute delay, Var reached a verdict. It was undoubtedly handball and evidently the officials have decided that Otamendi should have been able to get his hand out of the way.

35 min: After a lengthy pause during which several replays have presumably been examined, the ref calls both captains together to explain ... something. Nobody in the stands, nor anyone watching on TV, knows what’s going on. That’s a serious flaw.

Referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande talks to Schalke’s Ralf Fahrmann and Manchester City’s David Silva.
Referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande talks to Schalke’s Ralf Fahrmann and Manchester City’s David Silva whilst everyone else wonders what is going on. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images


34 min: Var is being consulted here: a shot from 20 yards by Caligiuri clearly hit the arm of Otamendi in the box. The defender’s arm was by his side and he looked to be trying to get out of the way but the home crowd are demanding a penalty ...

33 min: A handball by Caligiuri gives City a freekick in about 23 yards out, to the left-hand side of the box. De Bruyne curls it over the wall but without enough power to really bother the keeper.

32 min: Bernardo Silva lays the ball to Sterling at the edge of the Schalke area. Sterling tries to curl a sneaky low one into the bottom corner but it’s blocked.

30 min: This is an encouraging period for Schalke. Bentaleb is starting to conjure a little in midfield, and McKennie looks like he could bother Laporte if given more opportunities to run at him. But no goal threat yet to speak of from the hosts.

28 min: Schalke build promisingly, creating a crossing opportunity for Mendyl wide on the left. It’s deflected out for a corner. “If this keeps up, the home team might as well change their name to Schalke 0-4,” jests Peter Oh. “Have the City fans started a ‘Are you Chelsea in disguise?!’ chant yet?”

25 min: Uth fires off Schalke’s first shot, a reasonable long-range effort that curls a couple of yards wide of the post.

24 min: Schalke try to gain composure by stringing passes together. But they lose it again in a dangerous position. Sterling and David Silva try to walk it into the net and end up confusing each other.

22 min: Schalke try to pull themselves together to respond to that farcical concession. They wobble forward in numbers, but in a way that makes them look even more vulnerable to City, who’ll be confident of inflicting more damage on the counter.

20 min: That was such a ridiculous way for Schalke to fall behind.

GOAL! Schalke 0-1 Man City (Aguero 19)

Confusion in the Schalke defence allows City to open the scoring in the simplest style! The GErmans seemed to think play should have stopped because Uth went down under an aerial challenge by Laporte at the far end of the pitch. But they didn’t put the ball out, instead just stroked it about casually. City nicked it off Sane at the edge of the home box and David Silva then squared it to Aguero, who rolled into an empty net from six yards!

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, right, scores his side’s opening goal.
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, right, scores his side’s opening goal. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP


16 min: De Bruyne unloads one from 15 yards. He connection was beautiful and the ball fairly fizzed through the air ... but straight into the arms of the keeper.


15 min: Having survived the early onslaught from City, Schalke are starting to assert themselves a little. Caligiuri, for one, looks far more comfortable heading forward.

The Schalke fans cheer on their side.
The Schalke fans cheer on their side. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters


14 min: Laporte tries to shepherd a long ball out of play but McKennie is quicker than he realised and races around him to nick the ball at the byline. Laporte goes down to suggest he was pulled back by the American, and the ref falls for the oldest trick in the book.

13 min: Guadiola is still shouting commands from the sideline. It looks like he’s ordering is players to pass with even more tempo in an effort to further unhinge the home team’s packed defence.

12 min: Nastastic hurls himself in front of a shot from 20 yards by Aguero, deflecting the ball out for a corner. It’s incessant pressure from the visitors.

11 min: Aguero receives the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal and eight opponents between him and the net. He knocks it back to David Silva and City eventually work it wide to Sterling on the left. This time the cross is inaccurate.

Schalke’s Daniel Caligiuri (right) tussles with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.
Schalke’s Daniel Caligiuri (right) tussles with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. Photograph: Sascha Steinbach/EPA


9 min: Schalke nearly get into the City box! Bentaled won the ball in midfield and launched an enthusiastic counter, but the cross from the left was deflected out of play by Uth before it even reached the box.

7 min: Caligiui is not a natural defender and is struggling has a right-back against Sterling, who’s beaten him every time he’s gone at him so far. Except this most recent time, because Caligirui fouled him. City work the resultant freekick well before Bernardo Silva centres for Aguero. A lovely header by the Argentinian from eight yards forced the keeps to punch over the bar for another corner.

5 min: Sterling and David Silva combine slickly down the left before the former tries to pick out Aguero with a low pass into the middle. Nastasic puts it out for a corner.

4 min: Fahrmann hurtles off his line and then slides in at the feet of Aguero to clear out for a throw-in.

Ralf Faehrmann thwarts Sergio Aguero of Manchester City.
Ralf Faehrmann thwarts Sergio Aguero of Manchester City. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images


3 min: City have already taken up residence deep in the Schalke half. You get the feeling this is going to be the pattern for the rest of the game. Uth is all on his lonesome up front for Schalke and the ball hasn’t been anywhere near him yet.

2 min: Commentating on BT, Martin Keown says we should “expect a wondershow from City”. De Bruyne nearly delivers right on cue, pinging a lovely pass from deep to Aguero, who just fails to get it under control in the box.

1 min: Schalke, in “royal blue”, kick off. City, in sky blue, quickly win possession.

As the the teams do the pre-match handshakes, it’s clear that Schalke are significantly bigger than City. No wonder Guardiola mentioned their physicality and setpieces being among their most dangerous threats.

The Champions League jingle is loudly booed. Sounds like more than just the City fans.

There’s a giddy atmosphere in the stadium, complete with all those lovable staples of German grounds: booming chants, huge cartoons on flags, and fans with glasses of foaming beer and denim jackets covered in back patches.

Guardiola speaks

He warns about Schalke’s “physicality, quality, set pieces” and says “if you let them run, it’s difficult to control them ... but we will try to impose our good things.”

Asked about the possibility of winning trophies this season and maybe even four of them, he replies: “This kind of question we will accept in May. But in January and February it is silly. Because in one week you can lose everything. We are in a good position but three bad results in a row and ...”

Schalke’s manager, Domenico Tedesco, was born in 1985. He is three days younger than Luka Modric. He has never known a world in which Duran Duran are top of the British charts and Aston Villa are kings of Europe.

None of Schalke’s starters are on a yellow card going into this game. For City, the following three will miss the second if they get booked here: Fernandinho, Otamendi, Aguero. But they’d best not get (caught getting) carded deliberately if they get into a commanding first-leg lead, otherwise they’d be at risk of copping a similar suspension to the one given out last year to Real Madrid’s Carvajal, which may or may not have escaped the attention of dear old Sergio Ramos.


It looks like Schalke are deploying a five-man defence, while City’s lineup suggests that Guardiola is using Fernandinho in central defence - or rather as a centreback who can become an extra midfielder if City want to put on a big push. The Brazilian played the role very well against Arsenal earlier this season. Laporte, rather than Zinchenko, will probably be at left-back. Leroy Sané, meanwhile, is parked on the bench on his return to the club where he began his career.

Schalke 04: Fahrmann; Caligiuri, Bruma, Sané, Nastasic, Oczipka; Serdar, Bentaleb, McKennie; Uth, Mendyl

Subs: Nübel, Rudy, Matondo, Kutucu, Burgstaller, Harit

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Laporte; Gundogan, De Bruyne, D Silva; B Silva, Aguero, Sterling

Subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Sané, Mahrez, Zinchenko, Foden

Referee: C Del Cerro Grande (Esp)



Hands up if the first things that come to mind when considering Man City’s trip to Schalke are the glory days of Stephen Ireland and Benjani Mwaruwari? Thought so. Well Pep Guardiola’s men will be aiming to recreate the success that those two heroes made possible over a decade ago, when City went to Gelsenkirchen and returned with a 2-0 win. Having said that, and all pretences at humility aside, 2-0 is probably the minimum City should seek today against a side who are patently inferior to them and in lousy form, still 14th in the Bundesliga despite a slight upswing since the turn of the year.

City are not without their own problems – John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Fabian Delph and Benjamin Mendy have not been able to travel – but they have ample resources to cope and arrive in Germany in the sort of form that makes talk of a quadruple perfectly reasonable. Pep Guardiola’s aim, then, will be for his team to do what they did at this stage last season, when they kerplunked Basel 4-0 in the first leg to make the second a doddle. And you can be sure that Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gundogan will be particularly keen to impress on their returns to their old stomping ground.

But football isn’t that simple, is it? Schalke, runners-up in the Bundesliga last season, will do their utmost to defy the odds. And City are not exactly sure things in European competition. And there remains a suspicion that they can be got at, and also that they sometimes they become hypnotised by their own rhythmic passing. Smart gamblers will back an emphatic away win, but the really clever people will keep their money in their pockets and just kick back and watch the show. Action ahoy!