All you need to know in 60 seconds …
Ten-man Manchester City scored two late goals to take an improbable lead into the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Schalke. Trailing 2-1 and down to ten men after Nicolás Otamendi’s dismissal, the visitors drew level through Leroy Sané’s sensational free-kick before Raheem Sterling – assisted by Ederson’s exquisite pass – finished calmly in the 90th minute.
Sergio Agüero had set City on their way with a close-range finish, but they were in arrears by half-time after two Nabil Bentaleb penalties. Otamendi’s red card made their task harder still, but Sané – off the bench to face his former side – and Sterling completed a dramatic turnaround.
View from the stadium: James Thorogood
City’s last-gasp intervention will take away from the fact this was Schalke’s best performance of the season. The Bundesliga team bounced back superbly after falling behind and held City at arm’s length for much of the second half. Ultimately, though, Pep Guardiola’s side had the quality and drive to turn this tie on its head even when the clock was ticking.
Man of the match
Prior to the remarkable late twist, Schalke midfielder Bentaleb had made a real mark on the contest – not least from the spot – yet Sterling takes the honours for his winning strike. It’s been said he’s not a natural scorer but with Agüero off the pitch, he was there, in the perfect place, to deliver the decisive moment. Something that’s becoming quite a habit for the City attacker.
- City have now won 13 of their last 14 games in all competitions, scoring 52 goals in the process.
- Schalke were unbeaten at home in UEFA competition since February 2016 (W6 D3).
- Agüero has scored in the round of 16 first leg for five seasons in a row.
- Bentaleb has successfully converted all 14 penalties he has taken in his professional career.
- Bentaleb is the 14th player to score two penalties in a UEFA Champions League game and the second this season – after City’s Gabriel Jesus, against Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday four.
- Otamendi’s last red card was for Valencia in a 1-1 Liga draw at Athletic Club on 9 April 2015.
What does it mean?
City have never failed to win a European tie after winning the away first leg. There have been nine such contests, most recently against Basel in last year’s round of 16 (4-0 away, 1-2 home). They will be without the suspended Otamendi and Fernandinho for the return but the portents are certainly in Guardiola’s charges’ favour.
Struggling in the lower half of the Bundesliga, Schalke are at Mainz on Saturday, then host Fortuna Düsseldorf (02/03) and visit Werder Bremen (08/03) before the trip to Manchester for the second leg (12/03).
City have the chance to retain the League Cup when they take on Chelsea in Sunday’s final. They then entertain West Ham (27/02) and Watford (09/03) either side of a date at Bournemouth (02/03) – all pivotal fixtures in the title race – prior to the second leg.