Nabil Bentaleb

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Guardiola: Man City ‘still not ready’ despite great UCL fight back

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The roller coaster wasn’t requested, but Pep Guardiola is happy with how Manchester City handled the ride.

City was down a man and a goal late in the second half, but got 85th and 90th minute goals to collect a 3-2 win at Schalke in the first leg of its UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

[ MORE: Recap | Sane reacts ]

“It was a great result” Guardiola said of the comeback. “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 later stages. but the result is good.”

“We played with incredible personality. We gave two goals when they did absolutely nothing. It is not over, this competition is completely different.”

Nicolas Otamendi was shown red for two yellows, the first of which led to the first of Nabil Bentaleb‘s two penalty kick goals. The second came in the 68th minute, but City didn’t look like a team down a man the rest of the way.

VAR allowed Schalke’s first penalty to stand and then awarded the second, but Guardiola said the right call was made in both circumstances.

Sane reacts to tremendous free kick equalizer (video)

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The stage didn’t bother Leroy Sane.

Manchester City’s super sub scored a remarkable free kick goal to level the first leg between 10-man Man City and Schalke at Veltins-Arena on Wednesday in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAP: Schalke 2-3 Man City ]

Sane credited his team’s character and said his goal means a ton to him… even if it came at the expense of his former club. From the BBC:

“It means a lot. I was a little bit sad for Schalke, because the atmosphere was amazing like it always is. Schalke did really well, the way they defended made it difficult. … You can see the will is a lot, we never give up, we always want to keep fighting.”

Raheem Sterling later scored as City earned a 3-2 score line heading back to Manchester.

City trailed 2-1 on a pair of Nabil Bentaleb penalty kicks with a half to play, then lost Nicolas Otamendi to a second yellow card in the 68th.

But Sane did this, and… wow.

Man City marvelous in 10-man comeback win (video)

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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  • Bentaleb converts two PKs with VAR help
  • Otamendi sent off for second yellow
  • Sane unleashes late free kick equalizer
  • Sterling finds winner five minutes later.

Two goals in the five minutes gave 10-man Manchester City a memorable 3-2 win atSchalke on Wednesday in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounter.

Leroy Sane’s vicious 85th minute free kick and Raheem Sterling‘s 90th minute finish helped offset Nicolas Otamendi’s 68th minute sending off at Veltins-Arena.

Sergio Aguero scored early for Man City, but Nabil Bentaleb converted a pair of penalty kicks to give Schalke a lead which would last for nearly 40 minutes.

The second leg is March 12 at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City was in the ascendancy from the start, but Schalke basically handed the visitors their opening goal.

Salif Sane was sleepy in his readiness for a goalkeeper pass, and David Silva made the steal. The Spaniard squared for an Aguero tap-in that was defended slightly better by VAR but stood for 1-0.

Another giveaway provided City with a break, but Raheem Sterling couldn’t manage a shot when played into the left of the box.

City attempted eight shots by the half-hour mark.

Daniel Caligiuri’s left-footed shot from outside the 18 took a turn off Nicolas Otamendi’s arm as the City defender bid to get his arm closer to his body, and VAR awarded a penalty in the 36th minute after a significant wait.

Bentaleb got Ederson going the wrong way for 1-1.

Fernandinho conceded another penalty in the 44th, but would it stand? This one, too, went the route of VAR, but the cameras did nothing. Bentaleb converted for 2-1.

And City went down a man in the 68th minute when Otamendi collected his second yellow card, this time for a foul when Guido Burgstaller cut past him.

American midfielder Weston McKennie was subbed into the match in the 78th minute after a busy night in the midfield.

That’s when City struck. First, Sane hit an impeccable hammer of a free kick home in the 85th minute before Sterling slotted into the far post on the edge of stoppage time.

Bundesliga wrap: Gnabry drives Bayern; American makes 1st Bundesliga start

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
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Borussia Dortmund continued its winning ways, while Niko Kovac and Bayern Munich may finally be pulling it all together for a worthwhile chase for the Bundesliga title.

[ RECAP: Saints 2-2 Man Utd ]


Hoffenheim 1-1 Schalke

Saturday will go down as an unforgettable one for California native Haji Wright, as the 20-year-old American center forward made his first Bundesliga start (a week after coming off the bench for his first senior appearance).

Wright played 70 minutes, leaving the match one minute after countryman Weston McKennie entered as a sub. Wright’s was industrious on the day but only managed 18 touches and 4-for-4 passing to go with his mileage up top.

As for Schalke, it answered in-form Andrej Kramaric‘s 59th minute goal with Nabil Bentaleb‘s 73rd minute marker to earn a point and move 11th.

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Freiburg

Speaking of Americans, the league-leading hosts’ Christian Pulisic missed this one with a calf injury. No problem, really, as Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer scored to move the table lead to seven points before second-place Gladbach plays Sunday.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Werder Bremen
The serial champions are third for the time-being following a Serge Gnabry double at the Allianz Arena.

Elsewhere
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-1 Mainz — Friday
Stuttgart 1-0 Augsburg
Hannover 96 0-2 Hertha Berlin
RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sunday
Nurnberg vs. Bayer Leverkusen — 2:30 p.m. ET Monday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Borussia Dortmund 13 10 3 0 37 13 24 6-1-0 4-2-0 33
 Mönchengladbach 12 8 2 2 30 14 16 6-0-0 2-2-2 26
 Bayern Munich 13 7 3 3 25 18 7 2-3-1 5-0-2 24
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 7 2 3 29 14 15 3-1-1 4-1-2 23
 RB Leipzig 12 6 4 2 22 10 12 4-2-0 2-2-2 22
 1899 Hoffenheim 13 6 3 4 28 19 9 3-2-2 3-1-2 21
 Hertha BSC Berlin 13 5 5 3 21 20 1 3-2-1 2-3-2 20
 Werder Bremen 13 5 3 5 21 22 -1 2-2-3 3-1-2 18
 FSV Mainz 05 13 5 3 5 12 14 -2 3-2-2 2-1-3 18
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 4 3 5 16 17 -1 2-2-3 2-1-2 15
 FC Schalke 04 13 4 2 7 14 18 -4 3-0-3 1-2-4 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 12 4 2 6 18 24 -6 2-1-3 2-1-3 14
 SC Freiburg 13 3 5 5 16 22 -6 2-3-2 1-2-3 14
 FC Augsburg 13 3 4 6 20 22 -2 1-3-2 2-1-4 13
 VfB Stuttgart 13 3 2 8 9 26 -17 2-1-3 1-1-5 11
 1. FC Nürnberg 12 2 4 6 13 29 -16 2-2-2 0-2-4 10
 Hannover 96 13 2 3 8 15 28 -13 2-1-3 0-2-5 9
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 13 2 3 8 13 29 -16 2-0-5 0-3-3 9

Champions League wrap: Messi, Mertens star in wins

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Four spots remain in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 following Wednesday’s group stage action.

Who’s qualified for the knockout rounds? Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Porto, Real Madrid, Roma, and Schalke are moving into the new year.

[ MORE: Robbie Keane announces retirement ]


Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Inter MilanRECAP

Christian Eriksen‘s late finish of a fine team goal gave Tottenham Hotspur hope of the knockout rounds.

PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Barcelona

Lionel Messi had a goal and sent in the ball that Gerard Pique sent home for Barca’s second goal in a win which seals Group B.

Group A
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Atlético Madrid 5 4 0 1 9 6 3 3-0-0 1-0-1 12
Borussia Dortmund 5 3 1 1 8 2 6 2-1-0 1-0-1 10
Club Brugge 5 1 2 2 6 5 1 0-1-1 1-1-1 5
Monaco 5 0 1 4 2 12 -10 0-0-2 0-1-2 1

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Club Brugge

American youngsters Christian Pulisic and Ethan Horvath faced off at the Westfalenstadion, with the Club Brugge goalkeeper making a few stops on Borussia Dortmund’s young star. Okay, so there’s a bit more to this one than that, but given the lack of goals, it’s what sat atop our minds. BVB moves onto the knockout rounds with the point.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 AS Monaco

Thierry Henry’s side went behind before the clock hit 2:00, and Monaco has officially been eliminated from European competition regardless of what happens at home to Dortmund on Dec. 11.

Group B
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Barcelona 5 4 1 0 13 4 9 2-0-0 2-1-0 13
Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 1 2 8 9 -1 2-0-1 0-1-1 7
Inter Milan 5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 1-1-0 1-0-2 7
PSV Eindhoven 5 0 1 4 5 12 -7 0-1-2 0-0-2 1

 

Napoli 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

Marek Hamsik scored early and Dries Mertens added two before halftime as Napoli cruised into pole position in Group C. A draw, scoring 1-goal loss, or better against Liverpool will be enough for a knockout round berth (a PSG loss also helps).

PSG 2-1 LiverpoolRECAP

The Reds conceded twice early and only put one shot on target, a penalty kick, as Neymar’s had a fine day at the Parc des Princes.

Group C
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Napoli 5 2 3 0 7 4 3 2-1-0 0-2-0 9
Paris SG 5 2 2 1 13 8 5 2-1-0 0-1-1 8
Liverpool 5 2 0 3 8 7 1 2-0-0 0-0-3 6
Red Star Belgrade 5 1 1 3 4 13 -9 1-1-0 0-0-3 4

Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 Galatasaray

Vladislav Ignatyev’s 54th minute marker joined a late first half own goal in giving Lokomotiv its first win of the group stage.

Porto 3-1 Schalke

Both sides are moving on, but Schalke’s late Nabil Bentaleb penalty wasn’t enough to drag the Bundesliga side back into the match. USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie did not play for Schalke.

 

Group D
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
FC Porto 5 4 1 0 12 4 8 3-0-0 1-1-0 13
FC Schalke 04 5 2 2 1 5 4 1 1-1-0 1-1-1 8
Galatasaray 5 1 1 3 3 5 -2 1-1-0 0-0-3 4
Lokomotiv Moscow 5 1 0 4 4 11 -7 1-0-2 0-0-2 3