Porto 1-2 Manchester City – as it happened
Manchester City came from behind thanks to a Sergio Aguero winner to edge out Porto in a dull encounter.
FULL-TIME: Porto 1-2 Manchester City That’s's that. An abysmal game – I was going to apologise for our shoddy coverage of this game, as I had to step in at the last minute, but the game deserved no better. In the end, City shaded it courtesy of two fine goals and some poor Porto defending. The tie is over, really. The Premier League title race remains unaffected by European commitments for now. Thanks for reading.
89 min: Don’t I feel silly, after my prediction. Well, not really.
84 min: GOAL! Porto 1-2 Manchester City (Aguero) Yaya Toure takes advantage of the dawdling Porto, sprinting down the left channel while they’re all a-daze, and sensibly cuts the ball across the box for the waiting Aguero to hammer home. That’s probably this tie out of the way too.
83 min: Here’s Toblerone Jones: “Balotelli subbed off before he can get frustrated and do anything stupid/interesting. Classic Mancini, perfect illustration of why I hate him.”
81 min: This looks like half-betting-scam, half-kickabout. Kolarov replaces Silva so hard luck anyone who had put money on City to win, because he’s provided every incisive pass they’ve made this evening.
76 min: The allegedly-abused Balotelli goes off. Sergio Aguero replaces him, as City probe for a winner.
73 min: Porto’s pressing has been less than relentless in the past few minutes. They’ve gone from being annoyed to looking vaguely resigned. If this finishes 1-1, Porto are surely going out.
66 min: City go on the attack once more, and Silva slips Yaya Toure in, only to see him ruled offside. Porto are angry that City carried on. City are unenthused.
65 min: THERE’S A MOTH IN MA HOOSE
64 min: Since City’s goal, Porto have been doing all the pressing. There’s some patient probing around the area, but neither Moutinho or Rodriguez, buzzing around in the hole, can find the killer ball.
59 min: Porto get a free-kick, which Hulk leathers into the wall. De Jong is subsequently booked, the referee ruling that he charged out of the wall prematurely, and Hulk gets to have another pop. This one is much better, and Joe Hart has to be alert to execute an awkward low punch which just about gets it clear.
GOAL! Porto 1-1 Manchester City (Alvaro Pereira OG) City loft a long ball forwards, and Balotelli and Pereira compete for it. With Helton in no mans land, it’s the Uruguayan who gets his head to it, but he diverts it right into his own gaping goal. And now the tie is looking very different indeed.
54 min: Hulk is allowed a quite ridiculous amount of space to receive the ball, turn, and drive at the Manchester City defence. City close him down before he can get too much in the way of support, and his pass out wide to Rodriguez spins out of play.
51 min: Reports of Mario Balotelli being on the receiving end of some racial abuse. Well, they’ve got to make their entertainment somehow.
49 min: Richards hits the post! He comes marauding in from the right and Silva does well to spot him, but he drive hits the outside of the post and squirms free.
We’re off again. Technical problems not my fault this time. ITV haven’t commissioned a decent television programme in about thirty years so I suppose it’s unreasonable to expect them to get the technical side of things right. Fortunately, nothing has happened. Yippee!
HALF-TIME: Porto 1-0 Manchester City Well, that’s that. And that wasn’t very good. A mostly dull game was livened up by one very good goal by Porto, but they seem content with their 1-0 lead. Hopefully we’ll have a livelier second half, but it doesn’t look like it. On the other hand, it’s always nice to see an English team lose, so do tune in for the second half. Back in a bit!
45 min: This is really poor stuff. City are presumably waiting for half-time to rejig and Porto seem happy for as little to happen as possible. Moutinho and Rodriguez take advantage of some dodgy positioning to threaten the City box, but only one Porto player is committed into the area. Hulk decides to have a go himself, but lashes a powerful effort way over.
40 min: A goal in Stoke, where Valencia have taken the lead against our plucky heroes. I’d make a joke about them doing it on a wet Thursday night in Stoke but I’m not sure what the weather’s like there and I’d have to kill myself afterwards.
39 min: To be honest, City hardly look like they can be bothered here. They take an absurd amount of time to measure up a free-kick before it’s hoiked in for Balotelli but eludes everyone.
37 min: The lively Rodriguez gets the ball on his left foot and pings one in from 25 yards, and it’s deflected behind for a Porto corner. It comes to nothing.
34 min: Scrappy stuff here. Moutinho goes in with a heavy tackle on Nasri and gets studded himself for his pains. In the ensuing fracas, Balotelli squares up to Hulk. Teammates intervene to prevent the destruction of the planet.
30 min: Manchester City attack with Balotelli and Silva, probing down the left wing, but it comes to an abrupt end via the offside flag. You don’t see teams that are playing properly get called offside in the build-up to an attack – it’s symbolic of how City are playing here. The defending for the goal was wretched too.
GOAL! Porto 1-0 Manchester City (Varela) A superb goal from Porto, with Varela getting on the end of a simply sublime cross from Hulk – one of many players far too good to be in the Europa League on the pitch.
25 min: Now Yaya Toure goes in the book, one of his meaty legs clattering into James ‘James’ Rodriguez as he tried to escape down the wing.
22 min: City launch a splendid counter-attack, Silva playing a fine early ball to Nasri, who has drifted into a huge amount of space on the right. His low, firm drive is straight at the keeper.
21 min: Danilo is stretchered off after receiving a nasty one. The referee extends his sympathy by sending him a card, but rather than a ‘get well soon’ one, it’s of the yellow variety.
19 min: Danilo launches into a tackle that Toure hurdles, earning himself a booking and potentially an injury. He writhes, but it’s unclear whether this was to avoid a booking. It looks not – he’s not lovin it lovin it lovin it.
20 min: Apologies for some technical niggles – if you’re seeing Facebook and Twitter buttons all over the place, a refresh of your page will sort it.
17 min: City let Moutinho drift forwards, and with no one bothering to investigate the threat, he drives a shot from twenty-five yards, that goes wide of Hart’s left-hand post.
15 min: Maicon crosses from the left, and Ronaldo rises, but tickles his header into the ground, Clichy flicking over the bar before Hart could claim – which he’d have done with ease.
14 min: Rodrigues jinks inside and out, trying to evade Richards, who stands up well, and when the cross is drilled across, no one is on hand to do anything with it, so nothing is done with it, because no one was on hand.
13 min: Porto are pressing City well here, with Moutinho looking relatively dangerous. City haven’t got into their stride yet.
11 min: While I was adjusting myself (no, not like that), nothing happened.
7 min: This game has started with even less alacrity than the previous one. Toure breaks down the right, and tries a cross that’s deflected out for a throw-in.
5 min: So City rest Aguero, who’s not looked as sharp recently as he did earlier in the season, bring Balotelli back, and reward Yaya Toure for his Cup of Nations defeat by making him play here.
5 min: Get us. Here are some teams.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, De Jong, Nasri, Toure Yaya, Silva, Balotelli.
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Pizarro, Dzeko, Kolarov, Savic, Aguero.
Porto: Helton, Danilo, Rolando, Maicon, Pereira, Gonzalez, Fernando, Joao Moutinho, Varela, Hulk, James Rodriguez.
Subs: Bracali, Cristian Rodriguez, Kleber, Djalma, Mangala, Alex Sandro, Defour.
9 min: Thanks WordPress/me. I’ve been posting in the old game. D’fuckingwhackinthesolarplexus.
4 min: Some stuff ensues.
1 min: It’s started, and I’ll furnish you with the teams presently.
Image from Well Offside.