What was going to be an awful night became memorable for Manchester City, the late equalizer of Leroy Sané and the winner of Raheem Sterling in the 90th minute giving him a famous victory.
This meant that although they had finished the match with 10 men who had followed Nicolás Otamendi's red card and were without him and Fernandinho, suspended for the second leg, they remained favorites to qualify for the quarterfinals. final.
All of this happened despite a controversial decision from the VAR to award Schalke the first of two penalties that seemed likely to give them the win.
For Sané, a former Schalke player, his shot – a superb free kick in the 85th minute – was particularly sweet. "It means a lot … I was a little sad for Schalke because the atmosphere was amazing as always," he said. "You can see that the will is great, we do not have to. never give up, we always want to keep fighting. "
The notable choice of Pep Guardiola was to deploy Fernandinho to the back center, as he had done for the win against Arsenal this month. There have been two changes to Chelsea's concealment in the Premier League 6-0. John Stones, injured, was replaced by Otamendi and David Silva was chosen before Oleksandr Zinchenko, who went on the bench.
Domenico Tedesco, the 33-year-old Schalke coach, has selected former downtown defender Matija Nastasic, along with Rabbi Matondo, who left Etihad last month, replacing him.
Sergio Aguero lost the first opportunity on a full and dynamic Veltins arena and then went on to shoot at the goal, which earned him a free kick from the defense. Ralf Fährmann tilted his head. A second turn followed and, although Schalke was clear, they seemed shaky.
Tedesco played a decisive role in organizing Schalke in a 5-4-1 inviting City to give up the initiative. The invitation to play against the defense promptly led to an Agüero pot shot and City midfielder Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gündogan, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva took control. Schalke was limited to aerial attacks, as when Daniel Oczipka's cross-examination put Fernandinho to the test, who cleared the ball.
When City took the lead, David Silva insisted on perseverance. After Schalke found himself in trouble, he chased Salif Sané, stole the balloon and squared it with Aguero, who did not miss it.
City soon failed to double in advance. Fernandinho made an interception and advanced before delivering a defensive ball to David Silva. The Spaniard turned that towards Sterling but, instead of aiming, he dragged and his return to David Silva allowed the hosts to escape.
City looked far away from being tight, however, when Schalke attacked them. There was the disturbing sight of Aymeric Laporte settling as Weston McKennie entered the area and, although he had not touched the American, the Frenchman had received a stern message from Guardiola.
After the disaster, De Bruyne lost possession, an object of collection, almost halfway. This led to a shot by Caligiuri, how far VAR intervened.
The attack hit Otamendi's right arm and Schalke used a penalty. The quasi-farce followed while, pending the verdict, the referee, Carlos del Cerro Grande, had a long talk with the captains, Fährmann and David Silva. Finally, after three minutes of delay, Del Cerro Grande indicated the penalty spot and Nabil Bentaleb sent Ederson the wrong way.
It was not the end of the drama of the first half either. On a free kick, Fernandinho was penalized for pushing Salif Sané – which means he missed the return match – and a second penalty was imposed. Bentaleb increased again to give Schalke a 2-1 lead.
City had to regroup for the second semester. They started brilliantly, with the De Bruyne cliché followed by a break in the city when Agüero found Sterling, who ran into a dead end and was dispossessed. Aguero was guilty of the same mistake a little later.
But those opportunities stemmed from what City had done as his manager always asked. The lack was the end product. The closing before the goal was to be rediscovered, but the quality was absent when Otamendi shot Guido Burgstaller in 68 minutes and saw a second yellow.
Towards the end, Guardiola replaced Agüero with Sané and he was the German with this superb long-distance set, then Sterling, who picked up Ederson's long pass and gave Fährmann a whim in 90 minutes. much more pleasant.