Champions league

Manchester City 1-2 Basel (5-2 agg): Champions League last 16 – as it happened

Powered by article titled “Manchester City 1-2 Basel (5-2 agg): Champions League last 16 – as it happened” was written by Michael Butler, for on Wednesday 7th March 2018 21.49 UTC


Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Bert Traumann, your boys took one hell of a beating. Not really, but after making six changes to the side, Pep Guardiola will be unhappy at the performance of some of his fringe players. Only Leroy Sane looked up to scratch really. City are safely through to the last eight after their 5-2 aggregate win, and remain favourites to win the Champions League this season.

Credit to Basel, though. Their fans were absolutely magnificent from the get-go, and although they had a shaky start defensively, attacked with verve and ambition when they did have the ball.

Yaya Toure has a few words:

We’re not satisfied because we didn’t win the game. We deserved to lose today. We don’t fear anybody though. We have to take this game as an experience.

John Stones also:

Everyone is fighting in training to try and prove themselves. The young lads got their chance tonight and it was maybe difficult for them. We’re disappointed we weren’t up to our own standards. We’ve got a good mentality though. The lads did the job out in Switzerland.

Thanks for reading, and for your emails and tweets. See you next time.


It’s all over at Wembley! Tottenham are out! A couple of Gooners are celebrating here in the Guardian offices.

Full-time: Manchester City 1-2 Basel (5-2 agg)

459 days since City last lost at home! But they are safely through to the quarter-finals.


90 min: Two minutes added on here. The Etihad is half empty, and their players – 5-2 up on aggregate in the last 16 of the Champions League – are booing their own players! Christ. Have a bit of perspective.

89 min: City make their final change: Tosin Adarabioyo comes on for Foden, who has had a steady night. A nice touch to help set up Gabriel Jesus’s goal, but he went quiet in the second half.

87 min: This has been a poor half from City. They’ve rarely threatened, and seem content to pass the ball sideways. Defensively, they’ve looked suspect. Zinchenko, Laporte, Stones and Danilo haven’t exactly made their case to start at Stoke on Monday.

85 min: Sorry, the Etihad. Same thing, basically.

83 min: Some City fans have started to filter out of the Emirates. The Basel fans are still making themselves heard, some of them (male) are topless.

81 min: It’s bemusing why City are lumping free kicks into Basel’s box when they’ve got Diaz, Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva jumping for it. But they do, and it is cleared.

79 min: City have had 72% possession but this is their first shot on target in this second half, by my reckoning. Toure and Diaz show some tidy feet as City break at pace, with Sane floating a brilliant cross to the back post. Diaz doesn’t break stride, controls it perfectly and hammers a low shot at goal, but Vaclik gets down well at the near post.

Brahim Diaz of Manchester City reacts after going close.
Brahim Diaz of Manchester City reacts after going close.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


76 min: Gabriel Jesus is booked for a late tackle on Lang. Deserved.

74 min: Basel make their second change, Ricky van Wolfswinkel comes on for Dimitri Oberlin up front. Van Wolfswinkel, you might remember, scored on his Norwich City debut in 2013-14, and then didn’t score in any of the other 26 matches he played that season. Left the club in 2016 after a series of disappointing loan spells.

1-2 Elyounoussi breaks clear of Toure, plays a clever reverse pass inside Zinchenko and with Sane failing to track Lang, the right back takes a touch and smashes a fierce shot at goal, the ball beating Bravo at his near post, and creeping into the roof of the net. Laporte didn’t try to block the shot or attempt a tackle on Lang, and Bravo should certainly have done better!

Basel’s Michael Lang, second from left, celebrates with his team-mates infront of some rather happy Basel fans.
Basel’s Michael Lang, second from left, celebrates with his team-mates infront of some rather happy Basel fans.
Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP


GOAL! Manchester City 1-2 Basel (Lang 71, 5-2 agg)

City are behind! They haven’t lost at home in over a year!

69 min: Basel have made a change.

68 min: Juventus have taken the lead, on the night and in the tie! Spurs have 22 minutes to score and take this into extra time! Join Scott Murray now.

66 min: City make their first change: Diaz comes on for Gundogan, which is a sensible move: remember the German would be suspended for the quarter-finals if he had picked up a yellow here. He’s been solid tonight after Sunday’s performance against Chelsea, where had more touches and completed more passes than any Premier League player … ever.

64 min: Juventus have drawn level on the night at Wembley. It’s 1-1 there, 3-3 on agg, with Spurs leading on away goals.

62 min: Sane has been quiet this second half, mainly because there are two Basel players now assigned to marking him. The winger still manages to skip past a couple of tackles and drive inside to win a free-kick on the edge of Basel’s box. Yaya Toure is over it, but he leaves it to Bernardo Silva. There are boos from the crowd. They wanted a Yaya goal. The free-kick is useless, Frei heading easily away.


60 min: Basel manager Raphaël Wicky or choir enthusiast Gareth Malone?

Raphaël Wicky greets Pep Guardiola
Raphaël Wicky greets Pep Guardiola.
Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
Gareth Malone
Gareth Malone is VERY serious about singing.
Photograph: Mark Johnson/BBC/Twenty Twenty Brighton Ltd/Mark Johnson

58 min: Basel are beginning to get tired. City are passing them to death, although they haven’t really carved out any chances in this second half.

56 min: Basel win a free kick on the right wing. Guardiola is going postal, Basel are getting a foothold in this game, and the Spaniard doesn’t like it one bit. It’s a driven ball to the back post, and it is just too high for Lacroix, who was completely unmarked at the back post. Where was the marking?

53 min: Zinchenko loses the ball three times in 30 seconds and Basel break. But it’s a poor cross from Zuffi, and Stones heads clear.

51 min: Manchester City’s subs are warming up: Walker, Aguero and De Bruyne all out doing their stretches. Hope Basel’s players don’t notice.

I’d like to see Brahim Diaz. Haven’t seen a lot of him, but I’ve heard good things. He’s also on the bench.

49 min: Zinchenko is playing very high this half, presumably that’s something that Guardiola mentioned at half time. Apparently at City the players call the Ukranian Kev, because he looks like De Bruyne.

Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

47 min: Basel’s fans are still bouncing. Fantastic support from the Swiss lot.

Peeeeeeeep! We’re underway again. No changes from either side.

Half-time quiz:

Two things to clear up from that first half. I had Danilo down as assisting the goal for Gabriel Jesus: it was actually Bernardo Silva. Apologies.

Secondly, Laporte was massively at fault for Basel’s goal. He got sucked into midfield, out of position, and failed to get back as Basel swept past him. Elyounoussi had time to take a touch before smashing it home, and that simply wouldn’t have happened if Laporte was doing his job properly.

An email from Matt Loten.

“Let’s not kid ourselves here, Foden is going to be a far better player than those listed by Matt Collins. SWP was never as talented as he was made out to be, he just scored a couple of cracking goals which papered over his deficiencies. Richards was big, strong and quick, but again lacking in genuine quality, and Johnson may have made it but unfortunately wasn’t mentally in the right place. Everything Foden has done so far has demonstrated it’s only his own willpower that ca stand in his way from being a future City regular.”

I agree with nearly all of the above, apart from Richards. He was City’s best player at one point, and had all the attributes to become a City regular … and then something happened. I’m not sure if it was a mental thing, or if he struggled with an injury, but suddenly he was not the same player. It’s very weird.

Even weirder to think that he is only 29 years old, hasn’t played a match for Aston Villa for over 500 days, but will still reportedly double his £35,000-a-week wages if Villa are promoted.


If only Nick Pope was in goal.

Half-time: Manchester City 1-1 Basel (5-1 agg)

That was a compelling half of football. City still in the driving seat.

45 min: Yellow card for Lacroix, who clatters Gabriel Jesus.

44 min: Serey Die intercepts a lazy Sane pass, and bullies his way past Zinchenko on the right wing, but can’t find a pass. That was excellent play from the Ivorian. Shame he didn’t have an end product: Basel were counter-attacking in numbers but it was a tired cross that Danilo dealt with.


42 min: “No mention of Yaya yet Michael. What’s he up to?”, asks John Smith in deepest Arkansas.

Not alot. He’s popping it about, and doing that amble-jog that he likes to do. I suspect this will be his final Champions League start for City. It would be nice to sign off with a goal. What a player he’s been for City.

Yaya Toure of Manchester City advances with the ball.
Yaya Toure of Manchester City advances with the ball.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


40 min: Another Basel through ball, and Bravo comes off his line with aplomb. He chests the ball over Bua’s head, flicks it over Oberlin’s head with his right boot and clears. That’s class. That was Leanardo-esque. Sort of.

38 min: Worth remembering that Danilo is the other City player who would would be suspended if he picks up a caution. He’s living dangerously, and should really be booked for a clumsy tackle.

36 min: Tottenham have taken the lead against Juventus at Wembley. Follow the latest with Scott Murray.

34 min: And just as I write that, Foden swings wildly with his weaker foot for a volley as the ball comes down on the penalty spot, and misses it completely. Toure follows up with the rebound (is it a rebound if Foden airkicked it?) but it is well blocked by Suchy.

31 min: I’m a City fan and used to love watching Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards, even Michael Johnson play,” emails Matt Collins. “So I’d love to see Phil Foden establish himself in such an expensively assembled side, but isn’t it far more likely he’ll end up just doing OK at Southampton in 5 years time? Pain me though it does to say it.”

I honestly don’t believe so. I think it’s much more likely to see somebody like Bernardo Silva move on to in a couple of years, and Foden to take the Portuguese’s place as a regular starter. He’s got the talent.

Also, City like to sell themselves as the people’s club of Manchester, and they’ve spent an awful lot of money (with good results thus far) on their academy, so it fits the equation to have something to show for it in their first team.

29 min: Danilo is having all sorts of problems against the goalscorer Elyounoussi. First the Norwegian skips past City’s full-back on Basel’s left wing, winning a free-kick in a great area, then Elyounoussi latches onto a brilliant through ball, rides Danilo’s challenge (in which he could easily have gone down and won a penalty) and scuffs his shot. Basel are definitely targeting Danilo.

Danilo of Manchester City tussles with Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Danilo of Manchester City tussles with Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Photograph: Man City via Getty Images


28 min: Gundogan lofts a delightful pass to Sane on the left, Vaclik comes sprawling out to meet him, so Sane cuts the ball back to Gundogan to sweep into an empty net but Serey Die makes a great block.

26 min: Gundogan is running things for City in their midfield. I’m surprised that he started tonight, not only because of his importance for City going forward, but also because if he picks up a yellow card here, he’ll be suspended for the quarter finals.

24 min: I would love to see Sane’s time in a 40-yard dash for the NFL combine. His acceleration is absurd. Again went past Lang to Basel byline, but ran out of room as two more defenders came across.

Leroy Sane of Manchester City skips past the tackle of Basel’s Fabian Frei and then puts the burners on.
Leroy Sane of Manchester City skips past the tackle of Basel’s Fabian Frei and then puts the burners on.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


22 min: I know he laid on a fabulous assist for David Silva in the Caraboa Cup final, and he’s tidy going forward but Danilo does not convince me at full back.

20 min: “I know this is a sign of age (I had pictures of Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell and Francis Lee on my bedroom walls) but I think I’d rather watch City lose to Liverpool in the CL final than beat Chelsea the way we did on Sunday,” emails Phil Grey. “We made Chelsea look like Newcastle (another extremely boring game which didn’t feel like football). We want to be entertained, right?”

You can’t have it all, Phil.

18 min: Basel look awful shaky at the back, but they are flooding forward in numbers, and it’s making for a good game.

1-1 Basel beat the City press with some lovely one-touch stuff and Riveros bursts down the left, leaving Bernardo Silva in his wake. Riveros smashes it across the box, it deflects off Stones and falls perfectly for Elyounoussi who takes a touch and volleys it into the corner from the penalty spot. Guardiola looks furious, Basel’s fans go absolutely potty, seemingly unperturbed that they are 5-1 down on aggregate.

Mohamed Elyounoussi thwacks Basel back onto level terms on the night.
Mohamed Elyounoussi thwacks Basel back onto level terms on the night.
Photograph: Man City via Getty Images
Mohamed Elyounoussi of FC Basel celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1
He’s keen to get on with it, only four more goals to go.
Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images


GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 Basel (Elyounoussi 16, 5-1 agg)

Hang on a minute.

14 min: Non-existant marking from Basel: Bernardo Silva crosses to the back post, Gundogan volleys goalwards from three yards out, and Vaclik makes a brilliant save, spreading himself at the German’s feet. Great save.

12 min: Basel have actually got in a couple of nice positions in possession, testing City’s back line with some balls in behind the defence, but Bravo is playing sweeper keeper and has mopped up nicely, nodding the ball away with his head outside his area on a couple of occasions.

10 min: Goal-saving block from Riveros! Sane runs Lang ragged on the left, crosses low, and Bernardo Silva comes off the opposite wing to sweep the ball goalwards, only for Basel’s left back to slide in and block the shot from six yards out. Excellent defending.

9 min: Golden chance for Basel! A loose pass at the back from Stones allows Oberlin to pounce, and Basel have three on three going forward. The Cameroonian has options left and right but opts to shoot and it flies 10 yards over the bar. What a waste.

1-0 Sane is unplayable at the moment. He plays a lovely one-two with Foden, bursts through a tiny gap in Basel’s central midfield and plays a lovely weighted pass to Danilo on the overlap. The Brazilian simply lays it across the six-yard box and Gabriel Jesus taps in at the back post for his first goal since November.

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus scores their first goal.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus scores their first goal.
Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal.
Jesus celebrates with his City team-mates.
Photograph: Philip Oldham/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock


GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Basel (Gabriel Jesus 8, 5-0 agg)

That didn’t take long.

7 min: Foden is playing in a central area, alongside Gundogan and Toure. He looks tidy.

6 min: Zinchenko has already given the ball away three times. That will irk Guardiola. With Benjamin Mendy still injured, the left back slot is very much up for grabs.


4 min: Three men around Leroy Sane, he skips past two of them, gets to the byline and fizzes a low cross to the near post. Vaclik gets down well and gathers. Dangerous.

2 min: Its been a slow start, City have been a little wasteful in possession. I’m interested to see how John Stones gets on tonight. He hasn’t featured for City since their 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Wigan.

Peeeeeeeeeeeep! And we’re off. Basel’s fans pack out the away end – fair play to them already 4-0 down – they are bouncing around like bunnies.

Flares are held aloft by Basel fans.
The Basel fans are enjoying themselves.
Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images


We have a minute’s silence to remember the late Davide Astori, the captain of Fiorentina, who tragically died at the weekend. It is immaculately observed b both sets of supporters.

Players and fans from both sides observe a minute’s silence for Davide Astori.
Players and fans from both sides observe a minute’s silence for Davide Astori.
Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images


The teams are out. The Champions League anthem is blaring out. Let’s do this.

Nothing to do with tonight’s game, but worth a mention nonetheless. Andy Robertson wrote a letter to a young Liverpool fan after he donated his pocket money to a food bank. Pay special attention to the penultimate paragraph:

Let’s be honest Alfie – no one wants the left back’s shirt – which is why I got you Bobby’s instead.

I enjoyed Jamie Jackson’s interview with Oleksandr Zinchenko, who starts tonight at left back. He talks of how important Fernandinho was to helping him settle in Manchester. The Brazilian can speak Russian, remember.


City’s home dressing room is circular and cool. It is shaped like this to help Guardiola address his team in an inclusive manner. No player feels left out, apparently.

Manchester City dressing room.
Photograph: Jan Kruger/Uefa via Getty Images

Basel’s dressing room is not. They do, however, have a beautiful shirt.

Basel dressing room
Photograph: Jan Kruger/Uefa via Getty Images

We need to talk about Phil. He had a magical summer for England, arguably their best player in winning the U-17 World Cup, in which he scored twice in the final. He is absurdly talented, and Guardiola is a big fan. This is what he said last summer after City beat Manchester United in pre-season:

I don’t have words – I would like to have the right words to describe what I saw,’ said the City manager. ‘You are the lucky guys who saw the first game, for the first team for Manchester City, of this guy.

His performance was another level. He’s 17-years-old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.

He’s not been able to force his way into the starting XI on a regular basis, but did start for City in the Champions League earlier this season against Shakhtar. He played left back in that 2-1 defeat, but starts in midfield today. He’s just 17. This is arguably the biggest night of his club career.

Guardiola has been doing his best to play down Manchester City’s exploits. But we’re not buying it, Pep.

We are almost in the quarter-finals, we are almost champions of the Premier League. We are not in the quarter-finals, we are not champions. That is why we have to be calm.


If you’re wondering where David Silva is, he’s in Valencia seeing his family.

Remember, Silva’s son was born prematurely at the turn of the year.

Some stats here from Opta, just to add the SUSPENSE of this evening:

• No team has ever progressed to the next round following a 0-4 home defeat in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie.

• City have never failed to score in their last 12 Champions League games, also their longest run in the competition.

• Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 12 Champions League games at the Etihad stadium (W9 D3).

The teams

Manchester City: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gündogan, Yaya Touré (c), Bernardo Silva, Foden, Sané, Gabriel Jesus
Subs: Ederson, Walker, Agüero, De Bruyne, Adarabioyo, Otamendi, Diaz




Let’s be honest, this tie was probably over with the swoosh of Sergio Aguero’s boot, 23 three minutes into the first leg, three weeks ago. The Argentinian struck the third away goal, silencing the home fans in Switzerland, and leaving the rest of Europe feeling a little queasy at the potential of Pep Guardiola’s team. Ilkay Gundogan probably had his best game in a City shirt and the visitors ran out 4-0 winners.

Manchester City are now favourites to win the Champions League, better odds even than Real Madrid, who have already qualified for the quarter finals after their 2-1 win in Paris last night.

Reasons to follow this match then? (if you want jeopardy, try Spurs v Juventus)

  • City are probably the most entertaining team to watch in Europe right now
  • Phil Foden might play.
  • If City are careless, Basel could feasibly do an Östersund and at least make Pep sweat a little.
  • Pretend to be a scout for a mid-table Premier League team and email me ([email protected] or @michaelbutler18) which Basel player you think would fit best into your side for the start of the 2018-19 season, and for what price.
  • Fabian Delph is back (hooray!).
  • You have nothing better to do.

Kick-off: 7.45pm GMT.

Updated © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010