FT: Manchester City 2 Ajax 2

Van Rhijn is all over Balotelli. It was a stone wall penalty and City are left to rue the decision from the referee to award full time rather than give a spot kick. What a finale and what a game at the Etihad Stadium, with a commendable comeback from City that sees them salvage some hoping of progression to the knockout stages. Thanks for your company tonight and I'll see you all soon.

Balotelli was tugged in the area but right as it happened the referee blows for full time and City are furious!

Last chance for City from a free-kick inside their own half!

A last minute change for the visitors now as Boerrigter comes off for Sana.

Fischer's knock down allows Eriksen to shoot, and he lets rip with a fierce effort that draws a fine save fron Hart.

Three minutes of added time to be played.

Aguero twists but can't find a team-mate due to impressive Ajax marking. Moments later, Dzeko looks for the run of Nasri but Vermeer snatches it out of the forward's path.

A terrific ball from Toure finds Dzeko, but just as Aguero pokes the ball home, the offside flag haunts City once more and the goal isn't given.

Poulsen is hauled off with Fischer taking his place late on.

Clichy looks to find Kolarov in behind Boerrigter, but the Ajax man spots the danger and concedes the corner. From the cross in, Kompany gets his head to the ball but can't direct it at goal.

City turn to three at the back once more as Barry comes off for Kolarov.

Yellow card for Poulsen for a tug on the shirt of Balotelli.

At the other end, an Eriksen corner finds De Jong once more, but he is marked much better by Clichy this time, and the resulting pressure forces his header over the bar.

Blind heads away Nasri's delivery, and after neat hold-up play from Boerrigter, Kompany commits a foul on the forward.

Poulsen slides in on Aguero, coming quite close to winning the ball, but he takes out the City man first and that's a free-kick.

Kompany sticks out a leg and is fortunate to make contact with Van Rhijn's ball. Ajax's attacking threat has been limited this half but they still look very dangerous when they do venture forward.

Nasri's free-kick is met by a terrific header from Toure but Vermeer parries it away superbly! A crucial save from the Ajax keeper but the hosts are swarming like flies around the visitors' box.

Babel clatters into the oncoming Zabaleta, who has been a terrific attacking outlet for his team tonight, winning a free-kick 30 yards out.

Enoh replaces Schone in the first Ajax changes of the night.

Lovely stuff once more from the hosts. Balotelli spots Aguero's run, but as Nasri charges into the six-yard box, that flag prevents City once more.

Moisander's pinpoint tackle prevents Aguero being fed in, while moments later, Zabaleta is caught offside in a slightly harsh decision from Barry's knock down.

A lovely move from City results in Aguero being played in, before calmly slotting past Vermeer to give City a massive Champions League lifeline!


Dzeko is flagged offside after Aguero's through ball, and the City fans' frustrations are starting to grow as Babel draws a foul down the touchline from Zabaleta.

De Jong's excellent free-kick finds a strong hand from Hart, resulting in an Ajax throw-in. Boerrigter delivers from the right, but Kompany stays strong to head away.

Poulsen plays in De Jong but the forward just can't flick the ball into his path and Zabaleta comes across to claim back possession. Moments later, Toure's careless challenge on Schone concedes a free-kick 25 yards out.

Eriksen's masterful ball into Babel is cleared, before Zabaleta takes a risk with a clearance in the near post that goes for a corner.

Van Rhijn exchanges passes with Schone, but Clichy stays alert to a return ball and does even better not to concede a corner.

Tevez's game comes to an end, with recent super-sub Dzeko taking his place.

A patient, tidy piece of passing from City ends with Barry lining up to shoot. He goes with his right foot though, and somewhat predictably, it's a horrible effort that flies wide.

Schone takes his time clearing, but gets the ball away eventually, before Aguero's frustration continues to grow as Ajax are awarded a throw-in much to his chagrin.

Boerrigter leads the attack for Ajax, and after running to the byline, his delivery is cut out by a timely challenge from Nastasic.

Barry nearly finds Zabaleta with an exquisite pass, but the right-back had initially halted his run and in the end that gives Vermeer more time to gather the ball.

Toure chips in to Nasri at the far post but he is well marshalled by Moisander, as Ajax continue to defend their lead valiantly.

Boerrigter chases Poulsen's pass, but the pace of the ball takes it into Hart's hands. City break and Aguero nips past Vermeer, before incredibly tripping again on the byline and the Ajax goalkeeper recovers to gather the ball.

A divine turn from Balotelli sees him skip past Van Rhijn, but solid defending from Alderweireld ends the threat from City, for the time being anyway.

Babel gains control as Ajax break, with De Jong's thunderous drive parried well by Hart, who then does well to claim the spilled ball.

Good stuff from City as Toure earns a corner after Moisander's clearance. Alderweireld gets his head to it at the near post but Ajax remain penned in for the time being.

Balotelli plays a one-two with Aguero, but his resulting delivery into the box is poor, despite being picked up by Aguero in the end as City retain possession in Ajax's half.

Toure's drive clips a head in the wall, but as Aguero pokes the ball past Vermeer, the offside flag is raised and City are denied an equaliser.

Barry squeezes the ball through to Aguero, but Balotelli's attempts to find a yard to shoot are thwarted, before Tevez keeps the attack alive by earning a free-kick 20 yards from goal.

A wonderful free-kick from Barry lands in the path of a Nastasic volley who makes good contact on the ball but scoops it narrowly over the bar.

Alderweireld is perhaps lucky not to be booked after a lovely touch from Aguero found him skip past the defender. Aguero went down in agony but appears to be fine to continue.

Balotelli catches Schone, in what looked a sore one, as Ajax play the free-kick down the line where Clichy muscles out Goerrigter to win a throw-in.

Aguero again loses his footing at the vital time as he cuts inside Alderweireld but tripped before what would have been an attempted shot on goal.

Vermeer catches the ball from the free-kick confidently, with Balotelli nearly the chance to make an instant impact.

First booking of the night goes to Blind who catches Nasri with a rough tackle on the touchline.

Ajax get the second half underway.

It's Super Mario time. Balotelli is on with Garcia the man replaced.

Jake Slater writes: "City need to keep hold of the ball! Tevez and Aguero, two of the best strikers in the World don't look interested! City too sloppy at the back, have they given up? 3-1 Ajax my prediction!"

Two corners caught Manchester City sleeping as Ajax took a 2-0 lead but Toure's goal gives the hosts some hope, but they still have to come from behind to ensure any hope of progression to the knockout stages. Send your second half predictions to jack.woodfield@bskyb.com

HALF TIME. Manchester City 1 Ajax 2.

Garcia tries to force the ball forward, with Clichy found on the overlap as Alderweireld concedes a corner right before half time.

Eriksen displays a skilful touch to control Blind's ball, but Ajax lose control after a loose pass from Schone as City regain possession.

The atmosphere is being generated soley by the Ajax fans at the moment, but City can't be faulted on their effort with Toure and Aguero working their socks off to find openings in the final third.

Toure scoops the ball up towards Aguero, but Moisander is rock solid to beat the striker in the air, with Poulsen sweeping up the danger.

Tevez takes a tumble under Alderweireld while trying to feed Aguero, a decision which goes against the City striker, and does seem a tad harsh.

Barry claims a corner, but Van Rhijn does enough to prevent the ball crossing the line. Toure then aims a header at goal from Nasri's cross but it's straight down the throat of Vermeer.

Boerrigter takes aim on the edge of the box, curling a pacey ball towards the top corner but ending up firing the ball quite wide.

Poulsen takes charge as Barry loses concentration, linking up with Blind, who carries Ajax forward until good hussling from Zabaleta forces the visitors back up the pitch.

Clichy cuts out an impressive delivery from Blind in towards Boerrigter, with the game really becoming competetive now as both teams look likely to netting another before half time.

De Jong rifles a fierce effort at goal, with Hart scrambling at the near post but ending up relieved to see it drift wide.

Tevez charges forward, making a lovely run, but he is eventually cut off by a wave of Ajax bodies as the move breaks down.

A wonderful Ajax move sees De Jong slip in Babel, but just as Hart makes a tremendous save, the offside flag is raised anyway.

Nasri and Clichy exchange passes, before Nasri gets involved and feeds in Zabaleta at the far post who can only aim a weak header into the arms of Vermeer.

Ajax deal with the corner and find themselves on the front foot, as De Jong leads the way before Van Rhijn's ball from the right ends up with the fans behind goal.

Van Rhijn makes a brilliant clearance on the line, after a threatening City attack results in a corner.

Top tackle from Toure to win back possession, with Moisander then called into action to prevent a ball over the top from Aguero reaching Tevez.

Boerrigter whips a peach of a cross into De Jong, but Kompany positions himself well to clear away as the visitors enjoy a spell of possession.

Aguero makes a run in behind Alderweireld but the defender stays alert, doing superbly to cut out a threaded ball by Tevez.

Crikey, what a goal. Nasri's ball is headed behind by Alderweireld but only into the path of Toure, who controls with his chest before lashing home a terrific volley past Vermeer. City have lift off!


Balotelli is already warming up for City, while on the pitch, Aguero breaks clear but loses his footing at the vital time which allows Moisander to take control.

Great chance for City. A wonderful ball from Tevez causes carnage until Alderweireld sweeps away spectacularly with Aguero looming.

It's happened again! It's poor marking from City, as De Jong slips into the near post without a fuss and heads past Hart to give City a mountainous task to stay in the Champions League now.


The lively Babel earns Ajax another corner - with Mancini clearly lashing instructions at his team to defend better this time.

Van Rhijn smuggles away the ball for Ajax, with City's narrow attack easily cleared in the end by the defender.

Schone looks to sneak in between Kompany and Nastasic from Van Rhijn's delivery, but the cross sails too high for him to reach and it's a City goal kick.

Boerrigter collides with Barry, conceding a foul, and City, who started the game so brightly, resume their pressing in Ajax's half.

Tevez wins City a corner, with Nastasic nearly making immediate amends after poking the ball at goal - which is claimed well by Vermeer.

City fail to clear their lines from the corner and De Jong pounces at the near post with a sublime finish into the top left corner. What a start for the Dutch champions!


Van Rhijn's delivery forces a clumsy clearance from Nastasic, who presents the visitors with an unnecessary corner.

Zabaleta makes a run inbetween Ajax's centre-backs, and he rattles a shot away from Barry's ball which ends up well over the bar.

City force Ajax into some tight defending after the visitors lost possession from the corner, with Poulsen then penalised for a trip on Barry.

Aguero goes for goal after a sterling run from Barry, the striker's curling effort taking a touch and going for a corner.

It's Aguero this time who charges at Vermeer, but the Ajax keeper is again unfazed as he clears calmly.

Vermeer experiences a nervy moment as Tevez gives chase to Clichy's ball over the top, the Ajax keeper positioning himself expertly to win the ball.

Babel runs at Kompany, but the City captain times his interception well to dispossess the Ajax forward.

A lovely turn from Aguero sets City forward, but Nasri is blocked off on the edge of the area, with Moisander making the decisive tackle.

Man City kick off and get the game underway.

Ian Ashman is also feeling confident. He writes: "I think my beloved Blues will be to strong for the Amsterdammers tonight. I can foresee a 2-0 win for Mancini's men."

Matt Stafford is: "Very happy with the starting eleven, exactly the team I would have chosen. Great to see Maicon on the bench. But who is Meppen-Walter??? Man City to win it 4-2."

The man in the middle tonight is the one and only Peter Rasmussen (Denmark).

Ajax: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Schone, Boerrigter, Eriksen, Babel. Subs: Cillessen, Enoh, Sana, Veltman, Denswil, Dijks, Fischer.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Barry, Nasri, Toure, Aguero, Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Dzeko, Sinclair, Kolarov, Balotelli, Meppen-Walter.

Here are the teams...

On the betting front, Manchester City are 2/5 to win this crucial encounter against Ajax (13/2). The Eredivisie side won on their last visit to Manchester, edging United in the Europa League last season and will be content with a draw (18/5) to keep their qualification hopes alive. Sergio Aguero has been price-boosted to 4/1 to open the scoring for the home side and Siem De Jong is 10/1 to bag the opener after getting on the scoresheet in the Amsterdam ArenA.

Good evening one and all and welcome to the Etihad Stadium for the Champions League Group D clash between Manchester City and Ajax. Victory is imperative tonight if City are to hold any hope of qualifying for the knockout stages and you can send your thoughts along the way to jack.woodfield@bskyb.com

Kick-off is at 1945 GMT.

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