Live Commentary: Manchester City 2-2 Ajax - as it happened

Siem de Jong
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the Champions League Group D clash between Manchester City and Ajax at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City welcomed Dutch outfit Ajax to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday needing the three points to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

They made the worse possible start, however, when Siem de Jong put Ajax 2-0 ahead inside 17 minutes, but Yaya Toure had one back for the home side five minutes later.

Sergio Aguero levelled for the City in the second period, but they could not force the equaliser. Roberto Mancini's side can still qualify with two wins, but it will depend on other results.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary below.


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6.45pmHello all! The Champions League is upon us once more and if ever there was a must-win match for City, then it would be this evening. However, Ajax will be out to spoil the night for Roberto Mancini and his side.

6.48pmAs mentioned, City have collected just one point from their opening three matches and they trail leaders Borussia Dortmund by six points with three matches to play. However, it could have been worse if they hadn't rescued a late point against the German outfit in their second game. The team news is just filtering through and we will bring you up-to-date in the next few moments.

6.51pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero start up front for Manchester City. Meanwhile, Javi Garcia is in midfield. Ajax name Ryan Babel and Christian Eriksen in a strong starting side.

6.54pmTeams:

Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Barry, Toure; Nasri, Aguero, Tevez

Ajax: Vermeer; Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind; Schone, Poulsen, De Jong; Boerrigter, Eriksen, Babel


6.57pmSo there we have it. Pablo Zabaleta also returns to the City side. However, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli will both start on the bench. Meanwhile, Ajax have named their strongest available side.

7pmCity still have to travel to Dortmund to take on the German champions, before facing a home tie against an improving Real Madrid. They really were drawn the short straw in this group, but this is football at the top level. You have to negotiate this type of opposition.

7.03pmJust a side note on tonight's match. Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany are both on two yellow cards and another this evening would see them ruled out of the Dortmund match. Life is hard enough for City at the moment without losing arguably their two best players.

7.06pmHowever, Ajax are no strangers to tough Champions League groups. They were drawn against Real Madrid, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb last season. But they did manage to secure eight points before dropping into the Europa League where they were eliminated by Manchester United.

7.09pmIn terms of both teams' domestic form. City currently sit third in the Premier League table following an unbeaten start to the season. But it would be fair to state that they have struggled to hit their best form thus far. A stuttering 0-draw against West Ham United on Saturday a prime example of this.

7.12pmAjax, meanwhile, have struggled for consistency in the early stages of their league campaign and they currently sit fifth in the Dutch Eredivisie. Some nine points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven and they were beaten 2-0 by Vitesse on Saturday.

7.15pmIt shouldn't be the case that European teams only perform to their best against top opposition, but that is simply the case. Ajax proved that they can compete with City with a 3-1 victory in the last match. But they are the huge underdogs this evening.

7.18pmMeanwhile, City boss Mancini was riled yesterday by reporters questioning his staying power at the club. He responded: "I don't understand why you continue to ask me about last year, last month. This is finished. Why? Why, for which reason? Why do you continue to ask me: 'Last year you had a chance to go?' I stay here because my work is here. I worked for two years. I built with the chairman and the owner, this team. We won three trophies in two years. For 50 years we didn't win. Never."

7.21pmThere is pressure on Mancini, make no mistake about that. He has won the Premier League and FA Cup in recent seasons, but the simple fact of the matter is that they have not performed in this competition. Questions should be expected after spending such an astronomical amount of money since taking over the club.

7.24pmThat said, City's European record at home is impressive. They have played 35 home matches in European competition and lost just once. They have also not lost to an overseas team with the singular defeat coming against Chelsea.

7.27pmMeanwhile, Ajax have won only two of their 11 European away games in England, but as mentioned, they will be buoyed by their performance against Manchester United last season when they recorded a 2-1 win over the then Premier League champions.

7.30pmThe task ahead of City is vast. Only eight teams with one point or fewer after three games of a group have qualified for the latter stages. The last being Panathinaikos in 2008, but Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool have also achieved that feat.

7.33pmRight, we are just over 10 minutes from the start of play on this huge European night. My prediction for the evening is a 3-1 win for City. I just cannot see a way how they don't win this match.

7.36pmJust a reminder that Arsenal are also in action this evening as they travel to Schalke 04. Arsene Wenger's side are in a spot of trouble in their group and also need to pick up the three points.

7.39pmLittle over five minutes until the action will get underway. City simply have to win this match or their Champions League dream is over for another season. They will still be in the picture with a draw, but it would take a miracle.

7.42pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. There are a lot of serious faces on display this evening. We have just seen a picture of the Ajax staff, Frank de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars. What a trio that is by the way.

7.44pmHandshakes? Check. Flags exchanged? Check. Manchester expects this evening. It is a must-win match. Surely they will not lose? Will they? Stay with us as the night unfolds.

1 minCity get us underway on this mild evening in Manchester. They simply have to win. The crowd are up for this. But are the players? We will soon find out.

3 minDecent start from the away side as Ryan Babel picks up possession and attacks Pablo Zabaleta down the left. However, the City defender clears the danger before Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure enjoy some early possession in midfield.

4 minCity respond immediately as Toure drives into the Ajax box, but Niklas Moisander clears the danger. Meanwhile, Samir cannot find the run of Zabaleta out wide. End-to-end start here.

6 minAjax have come to play this evening make no mistake about that. They are a really nice footballing side. However, City are enjoying more of the possession. Decent start to the match.

7 minHalf-chance for City as Tevez finds Aguero outside the box, but the striker's effort is deflected for a corner - which is gathered by Kenneth Vermeer.

9 minChance! Biggest opportunity of the match thus far falls to Zabaleta as he collects a Tevez pass, but he can only fire over the crossbar from inside the box. The pressure is all one-way at the moment.

10 minGOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Ajax (De Jong)

10 minAjax take the lead in Manchester as Siem de Jong taps home from close range following a corner. Nightmare start for City.

12 minOh my word. That is such a poor goal to concede. City were simply not conceding from corners last season. Something is not right with Mancini's side this season. Can they respond?

13 minHalf-chance for City as Matija Nastasic pounces on a loose ball inside the box, but Vermeer gathers the danger with ease. But the pressure remains from City.

15 minAjax continue to frustrate the home side with a series of smart challenges around their own penalty area. There is simply no way through at the moment. But there is a long way to go in this match.

17 minMancini slumps into his seat as another City attack breaks down. Meanwhile, Ajax force another corner as Babel runs at Kompany.

17 minGOAL! Manchester City 0-2 Ajax (De Jong)

17 minOh my word! Ajax secure a two-goal lead as De Jong thumps his header past Hart. Where was the City defending? This is a real smash and grab from Ajax.

19 minCity continue to attack with bodies, but Ajax are so organised in defence and clear the danger. Manchester United went 2-0 down two weeks ago but came back. Will City do the same? They have to.

21 minBoth sides are just exchanging spells of possession at the moment. It isn't particularly pretty to watch, but Ajax will not mind one bit. They have the lead. The Dutch club are defending so deep.

22 minMancini scribbles on his notepad with David Platt looking on. I can only imagine what he is writing down as another City attack breaks down.

22 minGOAL! Manchester City 1-2 Ajax (Toure)

22 minWhat was I saying? City are back in this as Toure collects the ball on his chest before smashing a wonderful volley into the back of the net.

24 minNow we have a real match on our hands. Ajax just need to settle with the ball in the next few moments. However, the crowd are up for this one now.

26 minAjax have just taken the sting out of the match in recent minutes with an extended spell of possession. However, City look a different team from the side that fell 2-0 behind.

28 minHalf-chance for the Dutch outfit as Ricardo van Rhijn fires a low cross into the box, but Ryan Babel just cannot make contact. Meanwhile, Kompany sets up another City attack with a ranging ball.

30 minChance! Big opportunity for the home side to level as Zabaleta stands a cross up to the far post, but Daley Blind makes an important defensive header to clear the danger. Although the whistle had already gone for a foul by Gareth Barry.

32 minZABALETA! It is all City at the moment as Garcia picks out Zabaleta in the box with a searching cross, but the defender can only head straight at Vermeer. It is all one-way traffic at the moment.

34 minAgain City flood forward as Tevez beats two defenders, but his pass just would not fall for Sergio Aguero inside the box. Ajax have done well to settle since conceding.

36 minDe Jong continues to cause City problems as he picks up possession outside the box, but his shot is wide of Hart's goal. The midfielder looks a real player from what I have seen of him thus far this season.

38 minThe match has just become ever so sloppy in the past few moments with Barry and Garcia both guilty of handing possession to Ajax. The Dutch club are the better side on the ball that is for certain.

40 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Derk Boerrigter strikes an effort from distance. However, it was always moving wide of the post. Little under five minutes of the half remaining.

42 minCity continue to pressure in the latter stages of the opening period. However, the Ajax defence is so organised and compact. They are a really tidy European outfit.

44 minThe seconds drift away as Ajax keep possession in their own half. I shouldn't think we will have too much stoppage time added at the end of the opening period.

45 minThe fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute as City force a corner. However, Vermeer clears the danger as he whistle blows.

HALF-TIMEManchester City 1-2 Ajax

8.32pmSo there we have it. Two goals from De Jong inside 17 minutes handed Ajax a 2-0 lead over City. However, Toure pulled one back for the home side after 22 minutes.

8.36pmIt had been expected that City would push on after scoring their first, but Ajax have kept possession with confidence since the Toure strike. Meanwhile, it was more poor City defending that contributed to them falling behind.

8.40pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the opening half of football. City have shaded possession with 52%, while they have managed five shots to Ajax's four. However, the Dutch club have certainly passed the ball better.

48 minCity start the half on the attack as Blind fells Nasri on the right. However, Tevez's free kick is collected by Vermeer before Aguero slips in front of goal.

8.46pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the second period. City simply have to respond. They are bringing on Mario Balotelli.

46 minAjax kick us off in the second period. Just to confirm Balotelli has replaced Garcia at the break. Can the Italian repay his side this evening? Stay with us the remainder of the evening.

50 minAguero takes a heavy one from Alderweireld as the Argentine drives down the right. It was a nasty one from the defender. City have a free kick on the edge of the area in a wide position.

58 minStill the pressure remains from City as Toure picks up the ball on the edge of the box before driving into the area, but his cross is cleared for a corner.

52 minHalf-chance for City as Tevez whips the free kick into the danger area, but Nastasic's effort is wide of the post. Ajax have just become slightly ragged in this second period.

54 minCity continue to force a host of free kicks around the edge of the Ajax box. But the quality has been poor thus far as Toure fires over the crossbar. It simply has to be better than that.

56 minCity have the ball in the back of the net as Aguero converts from close range, but the flag is raised. However, it is all one-way traffic at the moment. It is the first time tonight that Ajax look as if they are struggling.

58 minStill the pressure remains from City as Toure picks up the ball on the edge of the box before driving into the area, but his cross is cleared for a corner.

60 minHalf-chance for the away side as De Jong strikes a thumping effort from distance, but Hart gathers the danger. The match is so open at the moment. Little under 30 minutes of normal time remaining. They need two goals.

62 minAGUERO! Oh my word. Wonderful chance for the home side as Aguero rounds the goalkeeper, but he slips at the vital moment and Blind clears. Incredible scenes here.

64 minCity continue to force the issue but there is something about this Ajax side. They are so comfortable in possession. But you just get the feeling that there are more goals to come this evening.

66 minAjax keep up their attacking intent as they force a corner via Nastasic, but the danger is cleared as City set up an attack of their own. Little under 25 minutes of normal time remaining in this one.

67 minHalf-chance for City once more as Barry collects possession outside the box, but he fires wide. Meanwhile, change for the home side as Edin Dzeko replaces Tevez. Can he inspire his team from the bench once more?

69 minHalf-chance for Ajax as De Jong strikes from distance once more, but Hart tips it wide for a corner. Meanwhile, Aguero breaks and finds Dzeko, but Ajax are back in numbers.

71 minAjax have just started to take control of the possession once more in the last few minutes. They are so tidy on the ball and it is making it hard for the home side.

73 minChance! Another effort comes from De Jong as he strikes a free kick from distance, but Hart palms the danger clear. Meanwhile, the away supporters are making the noise this evening.

74 minIt's really sloppy from City as Nastasic attempts to find the run of Dzeko, but the striker is offside. Meanwhile, Babel wins a free kick down the other end. City have 15 minutes left to score two goals.

74 minGOAL! Manchester City 2-2 Ajax (Aguero)

74 minCity level the tie at 2-2 as Aguero meets a Balotelli header and thumps the ball into the back of the net. Game on!

76 minIsn't that just football? In the period that Ajax had started to control possession, City go down the other end and score. It is all one-way traffic at the moment. Stay with us for the remainder.

78 minAjax just cannot keep the ball at the moment as City continue to flood forward with numbers. Meanwhile, change for the home side as Lasse Schone is replaced by Eyong Enoh.

80 minIt's sloppy from Ajax as Babel brings Zabaleta down on the right to concede a free kick. However, Vermeer makes a diving save to deny Balotelli from close range.

82 minAjax continue to launch counter attacks at every opportunity, but they are leaving gaps and City are exploiting them. However, time is not on the home team's side.

84 minCity remain on the attack as they force free kick after free kick. But Ajax continue to defend the danger as Blind heads clear. But the pressure remains.

86 minAnother half-chance for Ajax as De Jong meets an Eriksen corner, but Clichy is on hand to make the clearance. Meanwhile, another Poulsen challenge forces a free kick outside the box as Barry makes way for Aleksandar Kolarov.

88 minChance! Big chance for the home side as Kolarov whips a low cross into the box, but the danger is cleared. Meanwhile, change for Ajax as Viktor Fischer replaces Poulsen.

88 minCity have the ball in the back of the net as Aguero converts from close range, but Kolarov was offside when he played the cross. Little under two minutes of normal time to play.

90 minThe fourth official indicates that we will play three minutes of added time. There is still time for either side to win this one.

90 min+2Still City pressure but Ajax have remained so dogged in defence. Vermeer has possession in his hands with little over one minute remaining and finds Eriksen, but his effort is pushed over the crossbar. This one is over. Unless...

90 min+3Final change of the evening for the away side as Tobias Sana replaces Boerrigter. Not long left here. Controversy here as Balotelli is dragged to the ground inside the box, but the referee blows the final whistle!

FULL-TIMEManchester City 2-2 Ajax

9.35pmOh my word! How has the referee not given a penalty? That is incredible. But it does not matter now. The match ends 2-2. City can still qualify with two wins but it will depend on other results.

9.38pmThanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us again for Champions League football tomorrow. Until then!

A depressed Roberto Mancini
Read Next:
Match Analysis: Ajax 3-1 Man City
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City66001851318
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs6420103714
3Everton7421115614
4Arsenal6411157813
5Liverpool6411169713
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd6402127512
7Crystal Palace7322118311
8Chelsea6312109110
9Southampton62227618
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom62227618
11Watford62131011-17
12Leicester CityLeicester6213811-37
13Burnley621358-37
14Hull City6213712-57
15Bournemouth621349-57
16Middlesbrough612369-35
17Swansea CitySwansea6114510-54
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6105716-93
19Stoke CityStoke6024415-112
20Sunderland6015512-71