Champions League: Sterling hits the headlines after Man City’s late show at Schalke
Despite the win Guardiola says his side are ‘not ready to fight for the latter stages’
FC Schalke 04 2 Manchester City 3
Manchester City came out on top in a tumultuous Champions League clash against Schalke last night but their 3-2 victory in Germany came at a price.
Defender Nicolas Otamendi was sent off for two bookable offences and the defender will sit out next month’s second leg at the Etihad, as will midfielder Fernandinho.
Otamendi’s first offence was handball, awarded by the referee with the help of the video assistant referee (VAR).
It was nonetheless a controversial call with the ball striking his arm as he moved it behind his back. Nabil Bentaleb made no mistake with the penalty to bring the Germans level with City, who had taken the lead through Sergio Aguero on 18 minutes.
Bentaleb then made it 2-1 to Schalke with a second spot-kick, this one awarded after Fernandinho had fouled Salif Sane (for which he was booked, and as a result will miss the return leg) and referee Carlos del Cerro Grande had once more sought the advice of VAR.
The Germans held on to their advantage for most of the second-half and a surprise victory seemed on the cards until a dramatic comeback by City.
Substitute (and former Schalke player) Leroy Sane curled home a free-kick with five minutes left on the clock, and then in the last minute of normal time Raheem Sterling ran onto goalkeeper Ederson’s long kick and stroked the ball past Ralf Faehrmann into the Schalke net.
The cool finish ensured Sterling was the lead story on the back pages of today’s newspapers, and the England striker couldn’t resist taking an ironic dig at a media he believes treats him harshly most of the time.
“Wow nice headlines,” he wrote. “Gonna make a screenshot of these cause it might not happen soon again.”
Question of trust
“It was a great result,” exclaimed City manager Pep Guardiola. “We gave them two penalties, we gave them a red card, and in this competition that is not too good. We are still not ready to fight for the latter stages, that is reality, but the result is good.”
Guardiola also had no gripes about the VAR decisions, saying: “It’s a penalty. The second one is a penalty too. I trust VAR. I have arguments sometimes but not this time. They are both penalties.”
Champions League results, fixtures and TV guide
Last-16 first-leg results
- Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2
- AS Roma 2 FC Porto 1
- Ajax 1 Real Madrid 2
- Tottenham Hotspur 3 Borussia Dortmund 0
- Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0
- Lyon 0 Barcelona 0
- Atlético Madrid 2 Juventus 0
- FC Schalke 04 2 Manchester City 3
Last-16 second-leg fixtures Tuesday 5 March
- Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-3 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Real Madrid vs. Ajax (2-1 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
Wednesday 6 March
- FC Porto vs. Roma (1-2 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United (2-0 on aggregate; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
Tuesday 12 March
- Juventus vs. Atlético Madrid (8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Manchester City vs. FC Schalke (8pm, live on BT Sport)
Wednesday 13 March
- Barcelona vs. Lyon (8pm, live on BT Sport)
- Bayern Munich vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on BT Sport)