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By Chris Bevan
2225: And so ends another dramatic night of Champions League and Championship football. Tonight was all about Manchester, in Europe at least, but tomorrow it is London calling. Chelsea and Arsenal resume their European campaigns and I'd be grateful if you can join me again to see if the capital clubs can follow suit with two more wins.
I've been Chris Bevan,
thanks for keeping me company and cheerio for now.
FULL-TIME Man City 2-1 Villarreal Phil McNultyreports from the Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City were seconds away from a serious Champions League setback until Sergio Aguero's winner. The home fans are probably still celebrating now."
FULL-TIME SC Otelul Galati 0-2 Man Utd Arindam Rej reports: "A deceptive scoreline as this was hard work for United, who created few chances against an organised side, and were frustrated by a fussy referee who shouldn't have sent off Nemanja Vidic."
2218: And here's a reminder of how both Manchester clubs kickstarted their Champions League campaigns...
Champions League round-up: This is how things stand, in Groups A to D. Bayern Munich still lead Group A, despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli. In Group B, Inter Milan top Group B after Giampaolo Pazzini's goal gave them a 1-0 win at Lille, who occupy bottom spot. Earlier, CSKA Moscow beat Trabzonspor 3-0 in the Russia capital. Benfica head Group C following a 2-0 victory at Basel. Real Madrid maintained their 100% record in Group D with a 4-0 win over Lyon. The other game saw Ajax secure a 2-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb thanks to goals from Derk Boerrigter and Christian Eriksen.
2213: Incidentally, there was a friendly tonight between two British sides who, not so long ago, would have been expecting to play competively on Champions League night. More than 4,000 Liverpool fans went to Ibrox to watch their side beaten by Rangers, so fair play to them. Lee McCulloch got the winner for the Gers, who will be happy with a bit of extra cash in their coffers too. I think they need it.
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Bayern conceded tonight for the 1st time in 19 hours and seven minutes in all competitions. 30 mins short of what it takes to watch all Harry Potter movies."
2209: Hmmm. Safe to say most of you seem to think City still have a lot of work to do. Two of their remaining group matches are away, starting with the return with Villarreal in a fortnight while two of United's are at home (I wonder how many fans Otelul will bring with them?). Both Manchester sides definitely need to buck their ideas up, though. In the meantime, I think we are all looking forward to Sunday's showdown at Old Trafford. Aren't we?
Championship update: Southampton defeated West Ham 1-0 in the top-of-the-table clash. Elsewhere, there were some thrilling finishes. Thomas Ince, son of Paul, struck late on as Blackpool defeated Doncaster 2-1 and Peterborough came from 3-2 down to beat Cardiff 4-3 in a thrilling match. There was a late equaliser for struggling Coventry at Leeds and also for Millwall at home to Brighton, while Adam Le Fondre's brace earned Reading a draw at home to Derby.
DBroom10 on Twitter:
"Re 2149. I don't think City will progress! I think in Europe they are going to struggle. United struggle but still do well!"
SimonHarrison92 on Twitter:
"Re 2149. Tough group for City but can't see them failing to progress. Mancini's ability to utilise their full squad will be crucial."
From Mark in London, via text: "Re 2149. This first ever Champions League win this must give City strength to progress. Confidence will come, the team will progress and City should walk tall and proud. People forget we may be top of the Premier League but have only three Champions League games under our belt. Come On City!!!"
2159: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on his side's dramatic late win over Villarreal: "I didn't expect it to turn out like that. We deserved to win because we had a lot of chances to score, and Sergio Aguero's goal was very important. Everything is now open as far as topping the table is concerned."
jayblues8 on Twitter:
"Re 2149. Tough luck on Villarreal. They deserve a point. Group A now looks very interesting with Napoli taken points off Bayern."
10akhil on Twitter:
"Re 2149. City still have to get something in Napoli which will be tough and Bayern have to come to Eastlands. Could still struggle."
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on his side's hard-fought win over Otelul: "I think in a lot of these away games, you have to work hard to get victory. They made life difficult for us. I was satisfied with the result. It was a long night and they had to be patient." On Nemanja Vidic's red card: "He's raised his foot and, particularly in Europe, I can see why he's given it but it was harsh. I shouldn't think we'll appeal."
BBC Football pundit Lee Dixon at the Etihad on BBC Radio 5 live:"Manchester City started slow with David Silva's first four passes going astray and that set the tone for the first half. Villarreal were well organised with their defence and overall it was a poor performance by Man City but they still take the three points."
From Alex, via text: "Man City getting crucial goals in the dying moments, a quality of champions and one Utd have had for years. Cannot wait for Sunday!"
ChrisJack28 on Twitter:
"With both Manchester clubs winning tonight its a dead certainty that both London clubs will lose tomorrow."
1257_will on Twitter:
"So after early substitutions, goal-keeping fumbles, rash tackles, red cards... both Manchester clubs did as we expected."
2149: City stay third in Group A despite that most dramatic of wins. United move secondin Group C. I'm guessing most of you will be backing United to progress to the knockout stages, but what do you think about City? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"26 - Wayne Rooney is the top-scoring Englishman in CL history with 26, ahead of Scholes (24) Lampard (20) and Gerrard (19). Extended."
From anon, via text: "My obituary for Man City's Champions League campaign may have to wait another day, but I'm certainly keeping it close. bring back Spurs and Liverpool!"
alexlamplough on Twitter:
"Do Utd ever play that well in the groups though?? And they still do well enough, whats all the fuss about ?!"
thedippaeffect on Twitter:
"Finally City used numbers to give them enough space to get to the byline. More of that against United on the weekend thanks."
FULL-TIME Real Madrid 4-0 Lyon
FULL-TIME Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Ajax
FULL-TIME FC Basel 0-2 Benfica
FULL-TIME Lille 0-1 Inter Milan
FULL-TIME CSKA Moscow 3-0 Trabzonspor
FULL-TIME Napoli 1-1 Bayern Munich
2141: Some final scores to bring you up to date with from around Europe...
2140: And I guess that means that Manchester's Champions League campaign is up and running. Far from convincing but City and United both have their first wins in the bag. Never in doubt was it? Er...
2138: I have never seen Roberto Mancini show as much emotion when he is celebrating a goal as he did when Sergio Aguero stuck that one in. Tells you how much he and Manchester City needed that win, doesn't it?
2137: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Ajax (Christian Eriksen)
2137: FULL-TIME Man City 2-1 Villarreal
2137: FULL-TIME FC Otelul Galati 0-2 Man Utd
Man City goal: Talk about it leaving it late. Just as people were writing the obituaries on City's Champions League campaign, Sergio Aguero pops up to score a dramatic last-gasp winner. Pablo Zabaleta's cross is flicked on by David Silva at the near post and Aguero is in the right place to tap it over the line with the last kick of the game.
2135: GOALFLASH Man City 2-1 Villarreal (Sergio Aguero)
Man Utd goal: Game over. In stoppage time, Liviu Antal brings down Wayne Rooney as he cuts back on himself inside the box. That's a spot-kick, and Wayne Rooney steps up, who strokes it home in the same way he did his first.
2131: A second goal would definitely help United's cause and they have just gone very close, with Nani firing against the post from 25 yards out. Meanwhile, in Manchester, City have got three minutes of stoppage time to score the winner they desperately need.
Otelul red card: Both sides down to 10 men in Bucharest now, which will obviously help United's cause. Milan Perendija, who has already been booked, is shown a second yellow card for dragging back Javier Hernandez.
2130: RED CARD Otelul's Milan Perendija
2129: This has been a frustrating night for City and they cannot afford to waste chances like this. Aleksandar Kolarov bends in a cross from the left and Edin Dzeko, who has a free header, cannot direct it on target.
2127: The City fans have already been warned tonight for pelting officials with scrunched up pieces of paper but they are still at it, this time targeting Borja Valero as he takes a corner. Stupid, pointless and risks a Uefa fine.
2125: Villarreal are making another change, with their goalscorer Cani off and a defender Mario Gaspar on. Villarreal are very happy with a point here. In Bucharest, Otelul still have hope of snatching a draw too. They have just gone close again, whith Bratislav Punosevac firing wide from Ioan Filip's cross.
2125: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 4-0 Lyon (Garcia Sergio Ramos)
2122: Villarreal make their first substitution of the night, with Wasako Mubarak on for Hernan Perez. Time for another City change too, with James Milner on for Samir Nasri, who has not had one of his most effective nights. Into the last 10 minutes in Manchester.
Championship latest: Nottingham Forest are now looking very good to end a sequence of three straight defeats. They are 2-0 up against previously unbeaten Middlesbrough. Keith Andrews' goal means Ipswich have taken the lead over Portsmouth, while Brighton are winning at Millwall. Saints still 1-0 up against West Ham - that match being played in front of a record crowd of 32,150.
2120: GOALFLASH FC Basel 0-2 Benfica (Oscar Cardozo)
2119: City, in case you are not aware, desperately need a goal here. There fans are urging them on, and at last they seem to be responding. Nice work by Sergio Aguero, who slips Edin Dzeko free inside the box. He should probably look to cross the ball but he goes for goal... blazing his shot high and wide.
2117: Another United change. Fabio is off, Phil Jones is on. Otelul have had another chance too, with Sergiu Costin heading over, and they are really pressing hard for an equaliser now. The 10 men still lead 1-0, with about 14 minutes to go.
2116: City's best moment for a while and, again, it is Aleksandar Kolarov's left boot which is behind it. He curls in another free-kick that zips an inch or two wide. Half the ground thinks it is in, but Villarreal keeper Diego Lopez seemed happy to let it go past his post.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Etihad Stadium:
"Roberto Mancini's ideal scenario would have been to give Sergio Aguero a quiet night ahead of Sunday's derby with Manchester United at Old Trafford. He is needed as a substitute now, though, as Villarreal are not going quietly here and City need this second goal desperately. Not much sign of it at the moment, though."
2112: Hmmm. Man City seem to have run out of ideas in the last few minutes, and that Villarreal defence is holding out comfortably at the moment. No onslaught from Roberto Mancini's men there. In Bucharest, United have sent on Jonny Evans for Antinio Valencia to try to to firm things up.
2110: United's 10 men have got around 20 minutes to hang on here, and Otelul have definitely upped the ante. Liviu Antal had his shot blocked by Michael Carrick and Ioan Filip has also gone close. By the way, Felix Brych was the man who sent off Peter Crouch in Tottenham's Champions League quarter-final against AC Milan. That was harsh too, if I recall correctly.
Vidic red card: A very harsh one this. Yes, United defender Nemanja Vidic is wild and a bit high with his tackle on Gabriel Giurgiu. That's a booking at worst for me, but German referee Felix Brych brandishes a red card. Vidic looks completely stunned.
2106: RED CARD Man Utd's Nemanja Vidic
Man Utd goal: A definite penalty this. United break forward and Wayne Rooney, who had gone close with a snap-shot moments earlier tries to square for Javier Hernandez. Otelul captain Sergiu Costin cynically sticks out a hand to block it and gets a booking for his trouble. Rooney steps up to slot away the spot-kick himself and the National Stadium, full of United fans, is rocking.
2103: An enforced change for United? Could be. Fabio has been down and having treatment but he is playing on for now. Here's a change for City, though. Sergio Aguero is on for Nigel de Jong, which suggests City are going to go for this now. They have to, really.
2059: Villarreal still look dangerous to me, especially down the flanks. They seem keen to test Joe Hart from distance, but this time Borja Valero's effort swerves away from the goal rather than towards it. He was in a lot of space when he let fly, though. Half an hour left and it is still 1-1 at the Etihad.
2057: Well, City have got the ball in the Villarreal net courtesy of a lashed effort by Edin Dzeko, but the linesman's flag was already up for offside. In Bucharest, United are showing more urgency but are still not threatening the Otelul goal. Javier Hernandez has just fired in a dangerous cross, but it was cleared for a corner.
2055: Villarreal have come back into this, and it won't surprise you who is behind most of their good play. Giuseppe Rossi, that's who. He has just tried his luck again from the left side of the area and this time his low drive is pushed away by Joe Hart, but - unlike with the Spanish side's goal - there is no Villarreal player following up.
2054: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Ajax (Derk Boerrigter)
2053: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 2-0 Lyon (Sami Khedira)
2051: United are still camped on the edge of the Otelul box, still unable to get past the massed ranks of Romanian defenders. In Manchester, Villarreal break through Giuseppe Rossi, who is all alone up front. He has no choice but to go for goal himself and smashes his shot into the side netting.
2050: Manchester City coach David Platt explained that Johnson-Barry switch at half-time, saying: "We brought Adam Johnson off in order to get Yaya Toure further forward because we thought that Edin Dzeko was isolated. It was not necessarily that Johnson was playing poorly. We need to carry on showing patience. We can't get caught on the counter-attack."
2049: Now this is a chance. One heck of a chance actually. Edin Dzeko is onside and in acres of space as he meets Pablo Zabaleta's cross from the right, but he doesn't get much behind his first-time shot, which is too close to Diego Lopez. A good save, but it really should have been a goal.
2047: City start the second half in the same way they began the first, by giving the ball to Giuseppe Rossi. Probably not the best idea, that. This time Vincent Kompany is the guilty party, but this time Rossi fires wide of the target.
From Will, via text: "Man City's leaky defence shown again here as it was in Munich. Hart not at fault tonight or in Munich for me."
Championship latest: So far, so good for new Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cotterill, whose team lead unbeaten Middlesbrough 1-0. Leaders Southampton are in front against second-placed West Ham, with Jos Hooiveld striking on the stroke of half-time. Struggling Doncaster are 1-0 ahead at Blackpool.
Champions League latest: As things stand in Group A, Manchester City remain three points adrift of second-placed Napoli after the Italian side made it 1-1 against Bayern Munich thanks to Holger Badstuber's own goal. In Group B, Inter Milan are set to top the table after going into half-time 1-0 up against Lille. Earlier, CSKA Moscow beat Trabzonspor 3-0 in the Russia capital. Benfica will head Group C if they hold on to their 1-0 lead at Basel. Group D top-dogs are set to maintain their 100% record as they lead Lyon 1-0. It is goalless in the game between Dinamo Zagreb and Ajax.
2042: United definitely need a creative spark, or maybe some words of motivation from Sir Alex Ferguson at half-time will do the trick. It's been known to happen before I think. If he does want to make a change, Dimitar Berbatov, Danny Welbeck and Darren Fletcher are among the players on the bench.
cmcnaughton1 on Twitter:
"United lack direction at times especially around midfield. Carrick seems lost. Need a new midfielder. End of. "
danmugoh on Twitter:
"Wonder whether Michael Carrick ever practises shooting? More than 2 thirds of his shots are always off target."
2038: City have been struggling, United were unconvincing. This wasn't in the script, was it? At this rate they will be in the Europa League by January. Will they both turn it round and/or turn it on after the break? Let me know. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
BBC Football pundit Lee Dixon at the Etihad on BBC Radio 5 live: "Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will have plenty to say about the pace of his side's game and will want them to up the pressure in the second half, just as they did at the end of the first."
SC Otelul Galati 0-0 Man Utd Arindam Rej's HT snapshot: "United dominating possession but mainly being forced to shoot from distance and cross from difficult angles. Otelul keeping their shape well and occasionally threatening too."
2031: That equaliser has lifted City's fans and seemingly lifted their players too. David Silva slips Edin Dzeko - who is definitely onside - clear but his shot is blocked by Diego Lopez, who has to get down low to deny Samir Nasri again soon afterwards.
2030: HALF-TIME SC Otelul Galati 0-0 Man Utd
2030: United create their best chance of what has been a pretty low-key half as Nani cuts the ball back for Michael Carrick... but he shoots wastefully over the bar from 12 yards out. That was their first real sight of goal to be honest.
Man City goal: Looks like that change by Roberto Mancini worked, doesn't it? Aleksandar Kolarov, City's best player so far tonight, is again well forward down the left and his low cross, which is meant for Edin Dzeko, is put into his own net by the sliding Carlos Marchena.
2028: GOALFLASH Man City 1-1 Villarreal (Carlos Marchena og)
2026: GOALFLASH Napoli 1-1 Bayern Munich (Holger Badstuber og)
2025: A tactical change by City. Adam Johnson's work is over for the night and Gareth Barry is on instead. Johnson does not look too happy as he troops off. Yaya Toure is going to push further forward by the looks of things.
2024: A sniff for City when Jonathan de Guzman gives the ball away about 25 yards from his own goal. Yaya Toure picks it up and surges into the area... but drags his shot wide. The home side keep coming forward, though, and Aleksandar Kolarov's low cross almost finds Pablo Zabaleta at the back post.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"364 - Villarreal have scored their first Champions League goal (excl. qualifers) in England, after 364 minutes of play. Patience."
2020: United have been restricted to long range shots so far, but they have had a few of them now. This time Patrice Evra tries his luck from distance and from an angle, but Branko Grahovac saves at his near post. Ambitious, to say the least.
SoakyDavies on Twitter:
"Utd need to use this massive pitch more - always feel we're at our best playing expansive football."
2017: Villarreal have also been doing a bit of time wasting since taking the lead - yes, I know there is still two-thirds of the game to be played. Czech referee Pavel Kralovec has had enough and has just booked Jose Catala.
Champions League latest: Manchester City fans will find some solace in the fact second-placed Napoli are losing at home to Group A leaders Bayern Munich as a result of Toni Kroos's second minute goal. Inter Milan will head to the top of Group B if they hang on to their 1-0 lead at Lille. Giampaolo Pazzini scored for the Serie A side. Earlier, CSKA Moscow's 3-0 win over Trabzonspor lifted them off the bottom. Benfica will top Group C if they remain in the lead against Basel. Bruno Cesar scored for the Portuguese side. Group D powerhouse Real Madrid are 1-0 up against Lyon thanks to a goal from Karim Benzema. There are no goals in the other game between Dinamo Zagreb and Ajax.
Championship latest: Not too many goals to report so far in the Championship, although it has been very busy at London Road, where home side Peterborough lead 2-1 despite earlier falling a goal behind. Barnsley lead Burnley 1-0 and Leeds have taken the lead against struggling Coventry but that's your lot so far.
2015: Half an hour gone in tonight's Champions League games, and City still trail, while United wait for the breakthrough. Wayne Rooney has just had another go - this time from a free-kick - but Branko Grahovac, sprawling to his left, kept out his low shot.
2014: Wayne Rooney has been quiet for United so far tonight, but he has just had his first pop at goal. He doesn't trouble Branko Grahovac, though, because his shot is deflected and bobbles into the Otelul keeper's hands.
2012: I tell you what, when Villarreal do go forwards, they don't half look dangerous. Jonathan de Guzman, a one-time transfer target for City, is linking up well with Guiseppe Rossi, who is keen to try and run at the home side's defence. This time he runs into a dead end, but you wouldn't want to give him too many more opportunities like that.
2011: Villarreal have barely ventured forwards since scoring, but then they don't have to, do they? Otelul are showing a bit more adventure, though, with Ioan Filip lifting his shot over from just outside the box.
2009: Have I already said that United are completely controlling possession in Bucharest but are still waiting for their first clear chance? Thought so. It's still the same story at the moment too. No way through.
2008: GOALFLASH FC Basel 0-1 Benfica (Bruno Cesar)
2007: GOALFLASH Lille 0-1 Inter Milan (Giampaolo Pazzini)
2006: GOALFLASH Real Madrid 1-0 Lyon (Karim Benzema)
2005: Another City chance, another long-range Aleksandar Kolarov piledriver. This time he curls in a free-kick that Diego Lopez has to scamper across his goal to tip over his bar. From the resulting corner, the ball is cleared to Nigel de Jong, who blazes over from about 30 yards out.
2004: United were sloppy at the back against Basel, and I have to say they have been pretty sloppy at the back so far in Bucharest. This time Anders Lindegaard hits a clearance straight at Nemanja Vidic but, fortunately for him, no Otelul players were near enough to capitalise.
Jon_Hearn on Twitter:
"Re jonnycope on Joe Hart. He's not overrated, just over confident. Tries to do too much and makes mistakes."
2000: City are coming forward with a bit of purpose now. Edin Dzeko gets to the byline on the right and pulls it back towards David Silva in the six-yard box... but Villarreal clear before the ball reaches him. City have to be careful, though, because the Spanish side don't half look dangerous on the break.
1959: United's first effort of the night sees Anderson try his luck with a snap-shot about 25 yards out. He gets plenty of power behind it, but no direction and the ball flies well wide
1958: City's best moment so far. Aleksandar Kolarov lets fly from outside the box and his shot bounces in a huge puddle and splashes a fraction wide.
1956: United's turn to gift their opponents possession in a dangerous area. Nemanja Vidic gives it straight to Branislav Punosevac, but his shot is weak and straight at Anders Lindegaard.
jonnycope on Twitter:
"Another error from Joe Hart. Was at fault for both goals in Munich too. Overrated."
BBC Football pundit Lee Dixon at the Etihad on BBC Radio 5 live, on Villarreal's goal: "A lesser goalkeeper would have tried to parry it but Joe Hart tried to catch it and in the end fumbled it and Cani reacted before anyone else."
1954: No goals yet in Bucharest but United are still absolutely dominating possession. They are yet to prise open the Otelul defence, though.
PeteHemming on Twitter:
"Cant remember seeing a ground go quieter than that after a goal in a long while. 12 Villarreal fans going wild. "
1952: GOALFLASH Napoli 0-1 Bayern Munich (Toni Kroos)
1951: Stunned silence at the Etihad Stadium after that opening... well apart from the Villarreal fans, who are still celebrating.
Villarreal goal: Oh dear. Sloppy play by City, and it is ruthlessly punished. David Silva gives the ball away and the Spanish side feed it to Giuseppe Rossi, who shoots from the edge of the box. Joe Hart can only parry his shot and Cani is quickest to the rebound, slotting it past the City keeper. That was Villarreal's first attack.
1949: GOALFLASH Man City 0-1 Villarreal (Cani)
1947: United and City seeing a lot of the ball in the early stages. Villarreal in particular are sitting very deep at the Etihad. No chances to tell you about yet but I'm a big fan of Otelul's stripey red and blue 'deckchair' kit.
1945: Here we go. United get us started in Bucharest. City get us going in Manchester.
MikePlumpton on Twitter:
"Worry for City is lack of gamechangers on bench, there's Aguero but then only Milner who's a hardworker + defensive minds."
1942: The United and Otelul players emerge in Bucharest - this is almost like a home game for United, they have so many fans here. And here come City and Villarreal too. Your favourite tune is on its way...
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on leaving Sergio Aguero on the bench: "He is OK, although maybe he's not ready to play the full game. He'll be fine to come on in the second half. It's a big game tonight, but I don't want to rush him because he's very important for us. Adam Johnson is important in that position. He can change the game. If we play the ball wide and he's one against one then he can do a good job."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"1 - Villarreal have scored just one goal in their eight Champions League games against English teams combined. Sunk."
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Villarreal met Manchester opposition on 4 previous occasions. They played MUFC in 2005-06 & 2008-09: all 4 matches ended 0-0."
DavePayn on Twitter:
"If things don't go well, what are the odds that at least one subbed MCFC player throws a strop?"
Sir Alex Ferguson on the return of Nemanja Vidic to his starting line-up: "He's a real warrior and a fantastically brave player who's got the experience." And on the United fans outnumbering Otelul fans in the stands: "All the locals who are United fans are here," added Ferguson.
DuncanTucker on Twitter:
"Re 1904. Mani always said the Stone Roses will only reform after Man City win the European Cup. Does this mean it's gonna be their year?"
Hmmm. Mani said that in 2006 - it's got me thinking that maybe Sheikh Mansour is a secret Stone Roses fan, and this was his real motive all the time.
From Francis, a Shots fan, via text: "Secretly hoping United get trashed tonight so they're low in confidence for visiting Aldershot next week... "
1931: Right then, kick-off at the Etihad Stadium and the National Stadium is fast approaching... which means it is almost time for THAT tune. You can start humming it now if you like. I've got some more good news too: give this page a manual refresh and you will be able to watch Midweek Final Score.
SC Otelul Galati coach Dorinel Munteanu on his side's chances tonight: "Manchester United will not have it easy against us. I know our opponents don't know a great deal about us, that's quite normal because we won the title for the first time last season, but be sure that Manchester United know everything they need to. Manchester United are the favourites, but we'll see.
The Roses are red, Oasis are blue. That other great Manchester band The Smiths were too busy throwing carnations around to care either way.
Otelul Galati v Man Utd line-ups Otelul Galati: Grahovac, Rapa, Perendija, Antal, Frunza, Costin, Filip, Salageanu, Neagu, Giurgiu, Punosevac. Subs: Branet, Skubic, Iorga, Ilie, Sarghi, Pena, Viglianti. Man Utd: Lindegaard, Fabio Da Silva, Vidic, Smalling, Evra, Valencia, Anderson, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: De Gea, Jones, Evans, Owen, Berbatov, Welbeck, Fletcher. Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)
Man City v Villarreal line-ups Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Johnson, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Milner, Savic, Aguero, Barry, Clichy. Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Zapata, Marchena, Rodriguez, Catala, Valero, Bruno, Perez, De Guzman, Cani, Rossi. Subs: Cesar, Musacchio, Mario, Wakaso, Bordas, Gullon, Joselu. Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)
1921: There is a fascinating night in prospect elsewhere in the Champions League too. In Group A, second-placed Napoli are at home to table-toppers and current Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. Earlier, CSKA Moscow's 3-0 win over Trabzonspor lifted them off the bottom and to the top of Group B. Seydou Doumbia scored twice in the Russian capital. They could lose their status if either Inter Milan or Lille win their match in Italy. Basel and Benfica find themselves heading the Group C pack - they face each other in Switzerland. One of the matches of the night is in Spain, where Group D leaders Real Madrid face second-placed Lyon. Dinamo Zagreb are at home to Ajax in the other match.
1919: It's not ALL about Manchester tonight. There is pretty much a full programme in the Championship, with some very tasty looking fixtures. The pick of them is Southampton versus West Ham - the top two in the table - locking horns at St Mary's, while third-placed Middlesbrough, the only unbeaten team in the division, take on struggling Nottingham Forest."
philbeck10 on Twitter:
"3 points needed for both Manc clubs tonight, although City need them more - Can't see them winning any of the remaining 3."
SC OTELUL GALATI v MAN UTD TEAM NEWS Arindam Rej reports: "Manchester United start with Wayne Rooney as expected, after his substitute appearance at Liverpool, and Nemanja Vidic is back too. The Serbian defender returns from the calf injury that has kept him out of United's side since the Premier League's opening day. United make nine changes from the starting line-up in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool, with Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling the survivors. Otelul are boosted by the return of Romania right-back Cornel Rapa from injury."
MAN CITY v VILLARREAL TEAM NEWS Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Etihad Stadium:
"Manchester City have Edin Dzeko on his own up front against Villarreal - with Sergio Aguero on the bench as he continues his recover from a groin injury and Mario Balotelli serves the final game of his European ban. David Silva and Samir Nasri both start while Roberto Mancini replaces Micah Richards and Gael Clichy with Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov." Former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi is up front for Villarreal, who are missing the likes of Marcos Senna and Angel Lopez through injury.
1911: Here's an omen, if you like that kind of thing. The last time United failed to win their first two Champions League group games was in 1998/99, and you all (hopefully) know
what happened next.
alexgress on Twitter:
"Bold move for Mancini, then again David Silva and Samir Nasri are like strikers themselves! City to win 2-1."
iTomNewbold on Twitter:
"Strong line-up tonight, hoping to crush Galati, and be brimming with confidence for Saturday. Come on United!"
1904: The biggest news in Manchester today has been confirmation that the
are reforming. I'd be interested to know what the Villarreal contingent have made of that, and also the Manchester weather over the past couple of days. It's dry now, but there was every type of rain coming down earlier - including horizontal. A yellow submarine would have come in very handy.
MAN CITY v VILLARREAL (GROUP A, 1945 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Etihad Stadium: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is brutally honest about Manchester City's requirements against Villarreall, saying: "It is not important that we play well, it is just important that we win. I think we are strong enough." As for his Villarreal counterpart Juan Carlos Garrido, he says: "We need to show bravery, guts and the players need to want the ball all the time against every team."
SC OTELUL GALATI v MAN UTD (1945 BST) Arindam Rej reports: "Both managers in Bucharest have been sounding like Aretha Franklin, focusing on respect. Otelul were accused of being too respectful to Benfica when losing to them, but manager Dorinel Munteanu says: "It will not be like that again. I am convinced of that." Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, needs to ensure his team does show respect. He admitted: "Against Basle we became very complacent and it's not a tournament where you can afford to be."
1902: If you don't know much about United's opponents SC Otelul Galati tonight, then you are not alone.
Get the FULL lowdown on the Steelworkers here,
but the first thing you should know is that they are not playing at their own ground tonight. Stadium Otelul, which holds 13,923 fans and only had floodlights installed last year, does not meet Uefa standards so United are in action at the 55,600-capacity Bucharest National Stadium instead.
TraumaticThrash on Twitter:
"Champions League night! Hope United can get a good win under their belt before meeting City this weekend!"
1856: So, are we talking two wins tonight, or is that too much to ask? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK).
BREAKING MAN CITY TEAM NEWS Edin Dzeko starts on his own up front, with fit-again striker Sergio Aguero on the bench. Adam Johnson, David Silva and Samir Nasri make up an attacking trio in midfield.
BREAKING MAN UTD TEAM NEWS Nemanja Vidic starts his first game since the first day of the season, and captains a Manchester United side that includes nine changes from the one that lined up against Liverpool on Saturday. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez are up front.
MAN CITY v VILLARREAL (GROUP A, 1945 BST) Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports from the Etihad Stadium:
"Manchester City continue their quest for a first Champions League win at home to La Liga's Villarreal. A draw at home to Napoli and defeat against Bayern Munich in Germany has increased the pressure on Roberto Mancini's side to record victory at the third time of asking. City may be top of the Premier League, but the Champions League has brought added glamour to the rapid rise of this club - and they will desperate to ensure their campaign does not become an anti-climax."
SC OTELUL GALATI v MAN UTD (1945 BST) Arindam Rej reports: "Sir Alex Ferguson will give Wayne Rooney a gentle re-introduction to the starting XI against struggling Otelul Galati. After two draws for United in the Champions League, this match - against a mid-table Romanian side - is an opportunity to recover. Otelul are 13 points behind domestic leaders Dinamo Bucharest after 10 games and have lost both their Champions League outings. But their manager is scourge of England, Dorinel Munteanu, a 1998 and 2000 Romania veteran."
1848: And it has to be, it really does. In fact, tonight is essentially must-win for Manchester City AND Manchester United. Their opponents, Villarreal and SC Otelul Galati, are pointless, bottom of their respective groups, and struggling for any sort of form in Spain and Romania this season. No room for any slip-ups here.
1845: For Premier League pacesetters, read Champions League slackers. Yep, they might be unbeaten domestically but both Manchester clubs are without win in Europe this season. Tonight is probably a good time to put that right, then...
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