Goalkeeper Joe Hart had no protection against a dipping, travelling Ronaldo strike. Vincent Kompany and his ‘keeper were left aghast. Twice City had led against a Real Madrid side everyone suggested was close to a mutiny against their coach, Jose Mourinho. Twice City gave up that lead. In the end they lost 3-2.
After the match Mourniho stated that his side had found their “DNA” again, before grinning over his final thought. “In my brains were a few computers,” the Portuguese said playfully. “’Delete, delete’ everything that was ready to be written and write again.”
The match was indeed a copy writer’s nightmare, with several re-edits being forced by the late flurry of goals. However, this was not the most novel story of the match.
Nor was the ejection of rebellious City idol Liam Gallagher, who was sent from the Bernabeu for “indecorous behaviour.” There is no confirmation of just how rowdy the former Oasis front man was, but it is certainly not out of character.
Instead, the most unusual incident on this night of big-top football was the interjection of Man City fans in a television broadcast.
ITV in the UK shows Champions League matches, and they rely on former rivals Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira for their in-house analysis. Last night they were doing this pitch-side.
So after the match the pair was asked to summarize what they had seen. The problem was that Patrick Vieira, an employee of City, was standing beside an icon of Manchester United. One which admitted to deliberately and savagely attempting to break Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland’s leg in 2001.
In his autobiography, Keane talked about repaying Haaland for comments he made in 1997. He admitted to his intentions years later. “I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***…. Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse.”
Such odious actions live long in the memory, it seems. So last night, as the broadcast was running, Keane was harangued from the stands. Shouts of “There’s only one Alfie Haaland” and “Keane is a w*****” rained down upon him.
Despite City taking no points from the opening weekend of the Champions League, Vieira may at least have a wee smile to himself thinking about this.
What a first night…