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By Matthew Handley
15.47- It’s back! We’ve already had the qualifiers, and the Europa League has started (the Durham University of continental football), but tonight, as the Champions League group stages kick off, European football is back in earnest. As a Liverpool fan, hearing the strains of the Champions League anthem echo around every stadium but Anfield, watching Europe’s premier football competition is a somewhat masochistic experience. Nonetheless, it’s good to have it back…
15.49- 8 ties get the star-spangled ball rolling tonight. However there’s only one game that all neutral eyes will be on, a truly mouthwatering contest- that’s right, Malaga vs Zenit St Petersburg!
15.52- Jokes. The game of the evening will undoubtedly be happening at the Bernebau, where the champions of Spain and England clash; the European stalwarts take on the new kids on the block; two of the handsomest managers in the game to coat-to-coat. It’s Real Madrid vs Manchester City
15.55- You’ll be able to follow all of the action on our live blog! I’ll be furiously trying to keep up with actions on and off the pitch, and might occasionally say something amusing. I’ll be with you throughout the evening’s coverage providing insight, sarcasm and a level of reporting competence and professionalism matched only by this man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8gKmQ6Hrro
15.57- From 7ish tonight, check here for updates on all of the evening’s action in what should be an enthralling clash. Also, get involved in the discussion on Twitter. Tweet me @matthandley92 or using the hashtag #oxstuCL. Dan Lyons ain’t got nothing on me.
15.58- It’s safe to say the competition didn’t go to plan for either of these sides last season. City went out in the group stages after seeing their campaign derailed by Carlos Tevez’s megastrop in the Allianz ArenA, when he petulantly refused to come off the subs bench and subsequently went into exile, like Lord Lucan crossed with Nikki off of Big Brother. Madrid meanwhile reached the semis, only to see Bayern Munich triumph on penalties, thus denying Jose Mourinho a personal hattrick of European Cup wins. Both sides want this competition badly; City want to show they can be a truly international force, whilst Real are seeking their title in over a decade. Tonight should be an intriguing marker of what’s to come…
16.02- Predictions, comments, thoughts, jokes: #oxstuCL, get involved!
16.18- Some quarters are dubbing this match ‘El Cashico’. Those quarters are filled with gimps.
16.48- As I mentioned before, the clash between Mancini and Mourinho provides an interesting subplot to tonight’s game. The parallels go beyond them both being incredibly cool and near the top of all football fans’ secret mancrush list; both led Internazionale to Serie A titles, both turned ambitious and wealthy English clubs into League winners for the first time in decades, and both want this trophy more than anything else this season. It’ll be intriguing…
18.50- In other news, super rich PSG take on Dinamo Kiev, Arsenal travel to Montpellier, with Olivier Giroud looking to get off the mark against his old club, and German champions Borussia Dortmund clashing with three time European Cup winners Ajax. I won’t be covering them all though, because I’ve only got one telly. Soz.
18.59- Interesting stat from Opta: ‘OptaJoe Opta Sports169 – Real Madrid have played 169 more Champions League games than Manchester City. Experience.’
Whilst Real Madrid have struggled to get off the mark in La Liga this season, it’s important to bear in mind that a) City haven’t exactly charged out of the blocks in the Prem either (looking unconvincing in both of their wins thus far), and b) nights like these are Real’s bread and butter- it’s still very new to City. How will they cope tonight?
19.01- TEAM NEWS- Aguero on the bench for City. Luka Modric starts for Real, as does Cristiano Ronaldo.
19.02- TEAM NEWS- City’s new signing, Maicon also starts. Maicon has unhappy memories of the Champions League from a couple of seasons ago; anyone else remember him being completely torn to shreds by the mercurial Gareth Bale in both legs of Spurs’ group game ties with Inter? How AVB et al must envy City tonight. They’d be in the competition had it not been for Chelsea’s triumph over Bayern Munich in May, remember.
19.06- Here are the full line-ups
Real Madrid: Casillas, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Khedira, Alonso, Essien, Di María, Ronaldo, Higuaín
Manchester City: Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Javi Garcia, Barry; Nasri, Yaya Toure, Silva; Tevez.
I remember watching the Zidane-led Galacticos sweep to victory in the 2002 final; Zizou, Bobby Carlos, Salgado, Hierro, Figo and Raul all at the peak of their powers. Whilst, in Ronaldo, they have a player to rival even the mighty headbutting Frenchman in terms of greatness, this team lacks that mixture of classy finesse and terrifying precision that made them such a scary prospect. However, set against a City side that contains Gareth fucking Barry… I don’t know. That man just inspires complete and unwarranted hatred within me. He’s just offensively boring.
19.10- Carlito starts for City too. Will he manage to refrain from spitting his dummy out of the pram for long enough to make an impact for the sky Blues on an European scale? We’ll soon find out….
19.15- City’s subs: Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Milner, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Aguero, Rodwell. No Dzeko or Balotelli. Boo
19.15- James Milner is another footballer I have a visceral dislike for, without really knowing why. Probs because he looks like one of those trolls you used to stick on the top of your pencil in primary school.
19.16- Btw, my City team could be completely wrong. Sky Sports News Lady says all the reports are going haywire. lol.
19.19- City have tweeted the following as their team: MCFC Manchester City FCTEAM (CITY): Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Nastasic, Maicon, Toure Y, Nasri, Barry, Silva, Garcia, Tevez #realvcity#MCFC So I think we had it right the first time. Good. In your face ‘Daily Telegraph’ blog. 1-0.
19.21- Any thoughts on tonight’s games and goings on, get involved! @matthandley92 #oxstuCL
19.25- TV coverage about to get started. Annoying Doritos Advert begins. Often people ask what you’d do in a situation like that, if you were in that fictional scenario and were posed with the same problem. Some people just have a chat about it. I like those people.
19.27- Official Teamsheet suggests Dzeko will be on the bench. Whilst this whole ‘who’s in the starting XI’ mare is fairly entertaining, let’s hope that’s not the night’s highlight, RIGHT GUYS?
19.28- ITV coverage begins. ITV kind of feels like the showoffish dickhead older brother of the BBC when it comes to sports coverage.
19.29- THIS IS MUSIC. OH YES THIS IS MUSIC.
19.30- Adrian Chiles. He looks like a cross between Shrek, a Moomin and a big piece of ham.
19.30- Oh and Skrillex accompanies the build up montage. Well done ITV.
19.31- ‘No one’s more excited than Roy, Lee and Gareth to be here tonight’. Roy looks like someone’s just shat on his cat. Gareth just looks happy to be out the house.
19.32- ‘If I was sad or angry, I played better’. Alfe. Inge. Haaland.
19.34- ‘I think I am a Special One’. It was true in 2004. It’s still true now. A truly mesmerising manager, who still has very much got ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ is. Excellent hair, for one.
19.37- Is it just me or is this ‘Just For Men’, ‘the last grey haired men on earth may disappear’ advert, a) really rubbish, b) really depressing (Mourinho/Mancini prove grey is cool), and c) a bit genocide-y?
19.38- Balotelli out for ‘technical reasons’… What? Unable to put a bib on again? Allergic to grass? More clarity please City. Is their CL campaign to start in a similarly disastrous way as last time? Will this come to be known as the Marenebau? Probs not, but hopefully.
19.40- ‘My career is always incomplete. And no-one puts pressure on me, because I put pressure on myself’. I would marry that man. Wonderful management. I bet he plays mind games with his toaster; sets it to the top setting when he only wants in lightly done, just to trick it.
19.44- Mourinho and Mancini sharing great banter. Andy Townsend co-commentating with the Tyldsely. Fantastic. He always strikes me as the David Brent of commentary.
19.45- KICK OFF.
19.45- Group of Death commences. GET KEEN.
19.46- Real Madrid look comfortable in early possession, passing well as the Dark blue clad City chase them, looking nervy whenever the ball falls to them. Ronaldo shoots wide tamely. Townsend points out Ronaldo feels unloved; ‘Why wouldn’t you wanna love that’, he says like an uncle who isn’t invited to Christmas any more.
19.50- Tylds says he doesn’t like to start rumours, then proceeds to start one in front of an audience of millions- Ramos has had a row with Jose and has been subsequently benched.
19.50- I don’t like to start rumours, but I heard Clive Tyldsely has an alter-ego called ‘ZsaZsa Sparkletits’ who he dresses up as every other weekend.
19.51- Commentator cross dressing aside, little to report in the Bernebau. A nice period of possession from City ends with a goalkick for Madrid after Tevez is unable to chase down an overhit pass from David Silva
19.52- Slick, tight passing from a throw-in allows City to gain some concerted pressure, but it’s lazily lost in midfield. Essien sets Ronaldo away. The Portuguese demigod dazzles Kompany to stroke away at the bottom corner- Hart cover s well to reach it. The following corners amount to little.
19.54- Tylds points out that in 11 games so far this season, these two sides have kept 1 clean sheet- I expect goals boys. I expect goals.
19.56- City still looking jumpy here. Real are dictating, with the vast majority of play in City’s half. Di Maria sprays a ball to Ronaldo, who arches himself to flick a splendid half volley Joe Hart’s way. The Englishman is level to it.
19.57: ‘Somebody has to double team him!’ Townsend cries. Chuckle. He does have the hots for Cristiano by the looks of it.
20.01- Nastasic, who gets a face-full of Ronny as the two challenge in the air (as Townsend looks on jealously), has the look of a chipmunk bred with a member of One Direction. I sometimes worry about the way my mind works.
20.03- It’s so weird seeing Arbeloa bossing the leftback position for Real and Spain. He was chronically shit for us.
20.03- Already 3 goals been shared in Montpellier. Wish we had something similar. Joe Hart, stop being good at football.
20.04- Di Maria plays in Gonzalo Higuain. The entire defence assume he’s offside. PLAY TO THE WHISTLE BOYS. Hart makes himself big. The ball falls to Ronny on the edge of the area, who, after acrobatics, lashes a shot at goal. Taking a deflection on its way, Sami Khedeira is unable to put it away. City look incredibly rattled here…
20.o7- I really need a wee after glugging down half a litre of Robinsons Fruit Shoot. Lets hope I don’t miss owt.
20.o9- Back. Good, still 0-0. I mean, not ‘good’, in terms of entertainment, but it would’ve been embarrassing had I missed a goal. Real Madrid continue to dominate, pinning City back. Marcelo, who looks like the singer from Alabama Shakes crossed with a Furby dazzles Maicon (who is in for a torrid night), but is unable to find a teammate in the box. City continue to hang on.
20.11- Ronaldo has something of the playground ball greed about him. Whilst all great players have to have that arrogance about them, Ronaldo’s judgement doesn’t quite seem to be there yet; if he could work out when team mates are better placed than he is, and give service to them, he truly would be the complete footballer…
20.13- David Silva turns and forces his way into the Madrid half with ease. Patient build up play from City ensues. Then Yaya Toure loses patience, and gives the ball back to white shirts. Madrid SO much more relaxed; experience seems to be telling.
20.18- At the moment, City are unable to get Toure into the space he thrives off when playing in an advanced position. As it stands, the lanky Ivorian just isn’t getting the time on the ball he requires to dictate the play, and appears rushed whenever he receives the ball.
20.20- Foetus-faced Samir Nasri feels a twinge in his leg and hobbles off the field. Precisely no-one feels sorry for the rotten little weasel. Aleksandr Kolarov prepares to come on.
20.21- Toure strides through the Madrid midfield, gallopping forward with immense pace and strength- they briefly outnumber Madrid 4 to 2, but Toure dilly-dallies over releasing the ball, leaving Silva with a lot to do. He strikes into the legs of a defender and the attack is dead. But this is better from City.
20.23- Tylds says Toure looks like a ’16 year old who’s crashed an under-11s match’. Townsend titters in an incredibly sinister manner, suggesting that’s still the sort of deviant behaviour he engages in.
20.24- Oh Higuain! Son, you’re having a mare. Ronaldo lofts the ball into the box, Kompany and Hart have a breakdown in communications, but the Argentinian’s connection isn’t clean, and the chance goes wide.
20.29- Pepe moves like General Grievous from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and looks like one of the machines from ‘I Robot’. I bet if he was a cyborg, he’d be fucking lethal.
20.30- Well, that was a shit 45 minutes of football, wasn’t it. A couple of Ronaldo half-chances aside, which were met by Joe Hart, this has been an incredibly drab affair. But City have come into the game more and more as the half progressed, and 0-0 is a fairly reflective scoreline. Some goals would be nice in the second half though lads.
20.35- Much more interesting than this match is Andy Carroll’s Bebo account: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=4957197631
20.39- Dixon and Southgate holding their notes like a fresher cradling their first essay of Michaelmas. Keano holding his with the disdain of a hungover Georgraphy tutor. At Brookes. Whose cat has just been shat on.
20.40- Chiles is a charisma black hole.
20.44- Joseph Gordon Levitt’s eyebrows looking like they’ve had the Scousebrow treatment in the ‘Looper’ commercial.
20.45- Looking ahead to the second half, City need to get Yaya Toure on the ball as much as possible. It’d be nice to see them seeking to exploit the left-flank a bit more; Ronaldo is simply not getting back, leaving acres of space for David Silva to exploit. The little Spaniard, whilst quiet so far, could be the key for City…
20.49- And we’re off again. Early Madrid corner amounts to nothing.
20.50- Kolarov released on the left flank and batters forward. Unfortunately, he seems to understand neither the concept of turning, nor of stopping, and runs the ball into the advertising hoardings. Waste.
20.52- The second half of tonight’s blog feels a bit like when ‘The Voice UK’ reached live shows; not as many people as we expected/wanted are reading, and it’d probably change very little if we just sort’ve stopped, but we’re kind of duty-bound to carry on.
2053- Javi Garcia performs a reckless challenge on Khedeira who nevertheless, rolls around like an absolute pussy. Get up. And get a haircut. Garcia looks like Colin Farrell if he was in a 90s pirate-themed boyband. *NSunk, perhaps.
20.57- Yaya Toure’s legs move as if independent from his body. They have a Stretch Armstrong-esque elasticity that allows him to reach impossible distances to hook the ball away from his opponents. It’s produced naff-all so far though
20.58- Real pile on the pressure, as Clichy and Nastascic look increasingly rattled in the City defence. You sense a goal is coming….
21.02- Madrid go close twice. First, a corner falls to Pepe, who looks shocked to be presented with a football during a football match, flounders, before knocking a lame shot well wide. Second, Shakes/Furby hybrid Marcelo smashes a volley from 25 yards out, but it whistles a yard or so wide of Hart’stop right corner. Pressure mounting.
21.04- SUB- Man City- David Silva OFF, Edin Dzeko ON. Lovely reception from the Bernebau faithful for the little Spanish midfielder, as he makes way for towering Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, who I still can’t tell is crap or amazing. Loads of great strikers linger doing nothing for an entire game, then produce moments of game-changing magic, or are just there to poke home (think Lineker, Wright, even RVP at times last season); Dzeko is similar, except that in his worst moments he is actively injurious to his team’s cause. Enigma.
21.08- Toure again imperious in centre midfield, dancing away from the danger of the white shirts that swarm around him every time he gets the ball. Mesmeric. The best central midfielder in the world? Show me better…
21.10- GOAL- EDIN DZEKO 68 MINS
21.11- Well, there’s my answer. The ball falls to Toure who hares away from the middle of his own half. Bounding into the Real Madrid half, he is joined by the big Bosnian. He threads him through to leave him one-on-one with Iker Casilas, but under pressure from the centre-back; he keeps his composure to stroke into the back of the net. City fans are delirious; their men are 20minutes away from a momentous victory.
21.14- After a brief period of Madrid pressure, City have a chance for a second, as Kolarov, Tevez and Dzeko outnumber the Madrid defenders; Kolarov only able to lash into the arms of Iker Casilas
21.14- Luka ‘Gail Platt’ Modric on for Madrid.
21.17- Should be 2-0. Lazy passing from Madrid lands Tevez with the ball just inside the Madrid half. He feeds Toure through, but he puts into the side netting.
21.17- GOAL. MARCELO, 75 MINS REAL MADRID 1-1 MAN CITY
21.18- Shakes/Furby equalises with a pearler from the edge of the area.The little Brazilian with the big hair skips past Vince Kompany, and wraps his left foot around the ball, and beyond the grasping hands of Joe Hart into the top corner. Game on.
21.20- FRANTIC. City bound up the other end from the kick off. Tevez knocks the ball across the 6 yard box; Pablo Zabaleta attempts to cutely flick it in, but doesn’t quite get enough contact. This is the Champions League. BOOM.
21.23- Off the bench, Mesut Ozil and Gail Platt have changed the composition of this game entirely. Tiki-taki on the edge of the area, before Gail shoots powerfully. No major problems for Joe Hart though.
21.26- The game has turned into one of those deliciously frantic and bitty affairs. The flow has broken down and been replaced by a series of half-chances and nasty tackles as both sides push for the win.
21.27 GOAL, KOLAROV, 85MINS, REAL MADRID 1-2 MANCHESTER CITY
Ronny looks much happier now. After an immense performance from Joe Hart, he’s found wanting here. Ronaldo dances to the corner of the box, about 12 yards out, and hammers a shot at goal. Both keeper and defender are at fault; Kompany should deal with it, and ducks out of the way. Hart responds too slow and the shot slips through his fingers. Madrid are 3-2 up in injury time. Mourinho powerslides onto the pitch like a kid at a wedding. That has to be the winner. So cruel for City, but immense fight displayed by Madrid.
21.35- FULL TIME- REAL MADRID 3-2 MANCHESTER CITY
21.36- Well, that second half was quite something, wasn’t it. After a drab first half, it turned into a pretty special game for a first OxStu live blog of the season.
21.37- I’m knackered after those last 20 minutes. It got a bit tasty towards the end. So cruel for Manchester City. After being dominated for much of the game, in the second half they displayed incredible ruthlessness and opportunism to take the lead twice, only for Madrid to respond in kind. Then, the Sad Man, Cristiano Ronaldo has the final say, as he always seems to; although it’s a dual error from Kompany and Hart that allow a half-chance to become a goal. And what a killer of a goal it was. After a truly Trojan performance from City, particularly the extraordinary ‘keeper Joe Hart and the colossal Yaya Toure.
21.41- ‘We’re not a team who should come here and pat ourselves on the back for doing well, we’re a team who should come here and get results’ Joe Hart, on and off the pitch, is a class act, a goliath of a goalkeeper, and the model of what a professional footballers should be.
21.42- Well, that’s it for tonight. Thanks for sticking with us tonight. Keep checking The Oxford Student’s Sport section, both in the paper and online to hear about future live blogs. With games like tonight’s, I think there’ll be plenty more excitement to come this season. And we’ll be with you for every kick…