Manchester City are looking to safely negotiate their Champions League last-16 second leg against Sporting tonight despite a defensive crisis.
City were rampant in Lisbon three weeks ago to record a 5-0 lead ahead of tonight’s second leg at the Etihad. The lead could be useful given the defensive issues Pep Guardiola suddenly has, with four key men ruled out.
Kyle Walker serves the second game of a three-match suspension, while Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake remain injured. Joao Cancelo is ill so won’t feature. That leaves Aleks Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones as City’s only available senior defenders.
Guardiola could recall the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan to the side after they were on the bench for the Manchester derby win at the weekend.
Follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from the Etihad.
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Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling, plus a Bernardo Silva brace, sealed the brilliant victory in Portugal last month, meaning all the pressure is off for Pep Guardiola’s men tonight.
The Catalan has picked a strong side, though, making for a chance to turn on the style and potentially rack up a huge scoreline that sends shockwaves around Europe.
City are of course on the quest for a first Champions League crown, having come agonizingly close last season. The reigning Premier League champions are also on the treble hunt, with a six-point lead at the top of the domestic league and having booked an FA Cup quarter-final spot.
Sporting, meanwhile, will quickly turn their attention back to overturning a six-point lead in their own domestic title race, with FC Porto leading the Primeira Liga.
Sporting News is here at Etihad Stadium, with live updates throughout the night below.
Man City vs. Sporting Lisbon live updates
23rd min: Jesus goes down again in the box, and again the referee waves the appeals away. Foden follows up with a long-range effort, which is saved.
21st min: Ex-Leicester striker Slimani has Sporting’s first attack of the game. He bursts forward past a couple of City men, but is eventually guided away from goal by Laporte.
17th min: The connection of Foden and Sterling looks to be key so far. They’re the two linking up, trying, and injecting a slight bit of urgency into the play.
14th min: Laporte caught with a loose arm from Paulinho, who picks up the first booking of the game. City not offering a massive amount at the other end of the field right now, but it seems through choice – they can take this up several notches whenever they please.
9th min: Just as he’s about to shoot, Jesus is kicked from behind in the penalty area, but the referee waves play on. The Brazilian is fuming at the decision.
7th min: Reis slips and is quickly dispossessed by Foden in a very dangerous position on the edge of the Sporting box, but it comes to nothing. The players are not providing much entertainment at the moment, but the travelling fans are definitely enjoying themselves in their corner behind the Sporting goal, making all the noise here.
2nd min: This game is very quickly into the rhythm we’d expect: City are camped out in the Sporting third, with two searching balls into the box. It could be a very long night for the Portuguese giants.
1st min: We’re underway!
2:58pm: As the teams are being read out by the stadium announcer, the biggest cheer by a long way goes to Oleksandr Zinchenko of Ukraine. It may well be the loudest this place gets all night.
2:50pm: Captain Fernandinho has been hailed by teammate Ederson ahead of tonight’s tie, with the midfielder’s future still uncertain: “He has very strong leadership, he is a very important player, very experienced. He’s been at City the longest. He is more than a captain. He guides young players and helps us every day with our day-to-day work. He is a fundamental figure for our team.”
2:40pm: Strange atmosphere during the buildup in Manchester tonight – certainly not that of a knockout game, but more a friendly. Guardiola has tried his best to ensure there’s no complacency, though: “We will be in trouble if they are not [fully focused]. It’s our job and our duty. We have to do it. Once we are there we can try to do well or do it wrong, it’s the same price, no discounts.”