Sporting Lisbon beats City 1-0 in Europa League

Sporting Lisbon defender Xandao scored with an audacious

back-heeled shot in a 1-0 win over Manchester City on Thursday in

the first leg of the last 16 of the Europa League.

Xandao pounced in the 51st minute in a goalmouth scramble after

‘keeper Joe Hart had failed to hold Matias Fernandez’s dipping free

kick or palm it safely out.

Sporting, lying fourth in its domestic championship and playing

under its second manager this season, proved to be a tough

adversary and had Man City on the ropes for long spells.

City tried to slow the pace of the game in the first half, but

after falling behind the Premier League leaders sharpened their

attack by introducing Samir Nasri and Mario Balotelli, who hit the

goal frame with a late header.

City had an early setback when central defender Vincent Kompany

went off injured within the first 10 minutes and was replaced by

Joleon Lescott.

Hart blocked Joao Pereira’s early effort as Sporting pressed

forward. But at the other end, goalkeeper Rui Patricio stuck out a

leg to stop Kolo Toure’s header.

City midfielder Gareth Barry’s shot from the edge of the area

scraped the post in the 24th.

Sporting grew bolder after Xandao’s strike. Ricky van

Wolfswinkel was unmarked and looked certain to make it 2-0 when he

received the ball inside the area from Emiliano Insua, but the

Dutch striker shot weakly toward Hart.

Roberto Mancini’s substitutions restored the balance of the game

as City created a series of chances, however a sliding tackle by

Xandao denied Sergio Aguero in the closing minutes.

The second leg in Manchester is next Thursday.