by Darren Walsh
Always good to be tuning in for a really important group game. A loss here and City will be in big trouble.
Don’t know why Joleon Lescott can’t get a starting place lately. Is a 19 year old Matija Nastisic really the better option?
With his designer glasses and fashionably tied scarf, Jürgen Klopp looks more like an architect than a football manager. Mancini is of course sporting his usual accessory too.
It’s pretty open to start, two attacking formations employed by the teams.
Mario Balotelli has a lot to say to Carlos Tevez on the bench; maybe he’s just asking if it’s his turn to go on strike this time.
The rain is sheeting down in Manchester; we get a shot of the Dortmund fans with their arms in the air as if they’re embracing it.
Camera shot of Sir Alex Ferguson and Mike Phelan at tonight’s match. I would almost swear that Ipswich legend John Wark is sitting beside them, but he looks like he’s put on about 10 stone since I last saw him.
George Hamilton on RTE is talking up Dortmund’s frugal spending, but they did spend 17 million euros on Marco Reus.
The away fans are chanting that “na na na hey hey goodbye” song, but I can’t hear what player’s name is being substituted for the goodbye bit. I MUST KNOW.
So much so in fact, that I’m looking at the team line up. It must be Gotze mustn’t it? IT STARTS WITH G AND EVERYTHING!
Vincent Kompany has just made a brilliant challenge in the penalty area, stops the ball dead and sends the attacker hurtling over it.
Javi Garcia gets hurt but instead of sitting down, tries to sprint off the field. Football would be a lot more fun with in-play substitutions.
Joe Hart may have let a few goals in so far this season, but he’s still one of the best at one-on-ones. He saves that one and then straight after touches a shot onto the underside of the bar.
I can’t believe that Dortmund aren’t winning, once again Hart saves but it was a poor finish.
Despite the RTE pundits making their points in their usual over the top way at half time, it is true that for all the talent on the City team, they’re playing very slowly and unimaginatively tonight.
Second half starts much like the first half went, this time Zabaleta has to make an important challenge to save Joe Hart from further work.
Turns out that was just a momentary rest for Hart; he has just had to tip another shot around the post.
It couldn’t keep up like that; a goal for Dortmund had to come. Jack Rodwell makes a blind pass across his own half that’s intercepted and while Hart got a hand to Marco Reus’ shot, his weight was going the wrong way to stop it fully.
The match that’s coming to mind in terms of comparison for this is Man United’s schooling by Barcelona in 1994, with a United team that was only in a CL group stage for the second time too. It would be a similar 4-0 scoreline if it wasn’t for Hart; he’s just made another two amazing saves since the goal.
Lewandowski has just missed a sitter; Ray Houghton seems to think he should have shot with his left foot instead of using the outside of his right, but he could have just shot normally with his right with all the space he had. That’ll have knocked a few million off his transfer fee too.
As good as Hart has been, don’t forget about Roman Weidenfeller at the other end. He made some good saves in the first half, and has just made a sprawling stop from an Aguero header.
Hmm one of those debatable handballs in the penalty area. Subotic’s arm wasn’t very high but still stopped the ball from going across the 6 yard box. Anyway, no one better than Mario Balotelli to step up and find the net. He takes it so coolly that he could be at the training ground.
Still Dortmund move forward, with time for Hart to get down low to a Lewandowski shot.
Final whistle, and City have saved themselves. A lot went wrong but they got a point that means they stay in contention for qualification. A loss here and it would have been a long way back. Roberto Mancini might have been criticising Joe Hart after the Madrid game for speaking his mind, but he should be washing his car for the next few weeks after that virtuoso performance tonight.