... but shockingly biased reporting by sad RTE pundits means truth is first casualty.
Paris St Germain 2 – 2 Manchester City
In an absurd European campaign, which has already seen Wolfsburg defeat Real Madrid 2-0 in a surprise quarter final result, not to mention an absurd season domestically, which has seen Leicester rise above title challengers Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City, as Liverpool and Chelsea languish in 9th and 10th respectively, why would we be surprised that an April night in Paris would be any less absurd???
So as punters tuned in last night to watch the last English club in Europe was there any mention of the fact that City last lifted a trophy in Europe when the club won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970?
Was there any mention that this was the biggest night in the club’s history in terms of European ventures since 1970? Was there any mention that since the days of Mick Summerbee, Franny Lee, and Colin Bell, City had actually reached a European quarter final – namely in the UEFA Cup in 2009 under Stuart Pearce, only to be knocked out by Martin Jol’s Hamburg side?
Nope, nope, and nope.
Barely a cursory snort in the direction of Manchester City’s European history, both in the past, and in more recent times.
Sadly, it was quickly evident that this was not going to be a night of truthful reporting or accuracy or even basic fairness in commentary.
Journalistic integrity was to be sacrificed in favour of lowest common denominator diatribe.
For starters, the comments and analysis of the pundits on Irish terrestrial television could only be regarded by any sane observer, as shockingly biased. Trying to be nice, I would say just perhaps misguided or lamentable.
But cut through the veneer of the finely polished bullshit, and you will understand that the bitter overtones from the cast offs trying to appease the hoardes of Man United and Liverpool supporters watching, mean that the very few who do make it into the media would find it impossible to dispense with their pre-planned anti-City agenda.
Therein, you might get something more like the actual picture. The hate was real!
Take Damien Duff. Nice player in his day, skilful, and easy on the eye, but sadly about as articulate as a blister on your foot.
Sadlier (who?) a very nice man again but at best his career must have been epitomised by appearing for Millwall?
And then Didi Hamann, about the only person on the panel capable of commanding any kind of respect, having played for City, and won trophies with Liverpool and Germany.
Interestingly, prior to the big kick-off and Hamann alone predicted City would get a draw and win the second leg at home, but this opinion went down like a fart in a lift with the established dicks presiding over what passed for acceptable punditry.
Sadlier scoffed at that and said there was a good reason PSG were nailed on favourites. He did not explain what that reason was, but was very convincing about why City would be vanquished.
And Duff plainly didn’t give City a chance but judging by his eye movements, spoke as if trying to remember what he had been told to say, from a rehearsed pitch, as it were.
So aside from the fact it was City’s biggest match in European football in 46 years, a fact which was sadly omitted by the forgettably talented pundits and commentators, and within a minute, on the pitch, Aguero was dragged down by Luiz as he turned in on goal.
Although he was the last defender, only a yellow card was given.
Okay, first minute, any ref would bottle sending off the last defender with seconds on the clock, but none of the commentators raised this point. On 7 minutes, and PSG had a good penalty shout, but the attacking player blatantly dives, yet escapes a yellow card. Then, on 12mins, Luiz (yet again at the centre of things) blatantly throws himself to the floor, in the box, after a PSG corner was not cleared, and the ref points to the spot!
City players were clearly aghast at the injustice, but not a single commentator mentioned the truth – it was a blatant dive – the guy threw himself to the floor!
Nobody told it like it was, rather, they chose to wax lyrical about Ibrahimovic, the Paris striker.
Even more absurdly, and to the dismay of the anti-City pundits, Joe Hart brilliantly dives down to his right to save the resulting penalty from picture postcard figure Zlatan, whose ego, they say, is as huge as the pitch he is playing on, yet because he is against City, commands gestures and compliments of strong approval from commentators George Hamilton and Jim Beglin.
Meanwhile, replays show that David Luiz looked very guilty about the penalty. The truth was that it was a dive, and NEVER a penalty in a million years.
BUT NOBODY SAID IT.
Or mentioned it was actually a brilliant save, and that JUSTICE had been done.
On 20minutes and David Silva headed wide from a Navas cross and City look sharp and dangerous. Despite the fact that it was a nice one-touch movement and brilliant counter attack, it was reported as terrible miss by Silva.
This single moment epitomised the sickeningly biased and overtly prejudiced reporting in favour of PSG. It was as if the Irish media had been commanded to put City down at every opportunity.
The Paris players were profligate, and gave possession away on several occasions, yet nobody dared call the spade a spade.
The opposite, in fact.
Each failed Paris attack was referred to with diligent reverence, again epitomised on 24th minute when a brilliant sliding tackle by Fernandhino to break up PSG attacking play was not even acknowledged!
Within a minute, Ibrahimovic was put through and blazed over.
“We all expected the net to bulge,” said a disappointed Jim Beglin.
“An attempt at redemption” claimed George Hamilton, not even thinking for a second that some attempt at neutral and unbiased reporting might be recommended.
These clever gentlemen had clearly already read the pre-planned anti-City agenda to satiate the rags and dippers tuning in to watch City lose, and I would go as far as to claim that RTE were actually infringing upon any sense of decency in the way the match was being reported.
But like the protests and marches by the Irish people, disgusted at the failed governments attempts to push through illegal water charges, the reporting of the truth was second to the agenda.
The 26th minute saw yet another corner for City and bearded defender Otamendi took out two PSG players in his attempt to connect with it.
On the stroke of half an hour played and Luiz headbutts Navas in the back of the head after a City throw after PSG had knocked the ball out of play for the umpteenth time. Not even a free kick was given.
Then on 32mins Cavani wins a free kick after he is tripped by Silva about 30 yards out. After the sad commentator mentions “redemption” for the third time, Ibrahimovic fires his shot into the wall.
On 34mins possession stats show that PSG have had 64% possession but City, with only 36%, have had more corners and carry a threat.
On 35mins City midfielder Fernando is booked, but it was clear that David Luiz actually dived. The commentator is again afraid to tell it how it is, but refers to the incident as “clever play” by Luiz, to “fall into his leg” (Beglin). At this point, Luiz is on three yellow cards but his cheating is not brought up by the panel in any way.
Then on 38mins City break again and this time, after Fernando breaks up play and Fernandhino strides forward, a chance is created for the Ginger Ninja, who smashes the ball past the PSG keeper, with a brilliant, powerful strike.
But wait, what’s this?
Oh, the Irish pundits claim Luiz was defending badly, so it was nothing to do with a brilliant break by City and a brilliant goal by de Bruyne - silly me! 39mins : 1-0 City
On 41mins, Hart plays the ball to Fernando on the edge of the box. He then decides to play the ball off the advancing Ibrahimovic, who deflects the ball into the goal.
42mins – 1-1. Comedy defending from City.
And the pundits mention “redemption” for a fourth time, as if Zlatan is the Messiah reincarnate. Of course the Paris fans are buoyant at the ridiculous self-destruct defending from City.
On 44mins PSG defender Thiago Motta appears to handle in the box, from a Navas cross, but the incident is not mentioned, and no replay ensues to establish if it should have been a penalty.
During the half time break the usual anti-City criticism ensues and I try not to let it irritate me before we are underway again into the second half, whereby Matuidi is booked for a foul on Otamendi, whom Beglin has the temerity to suggest, after David Luiz’s antics, actually dived!
On 50mins PSG striker Cavani heads over, after a cross from the left after City give the ball away yet again. On 53 mins Fernandhino shoots wide after some nice link up play by Aguero and Silva.
55mins and a great header out by Mangala, under pressure as di Maria threatens..
56mins and a great tackle by Thiago Silva on de Bruyne as City counter.
End to end stuff.
60mins and a PSG corner results in a header on goal, saved by Hart, rebound tapped in by Rabiot.
2-1 to the home team, and the Parc de Princes erupts.
Sloppy defending again from City.
62mins – after a City break down the left resulting in a blocked shot after a Clichy cross, Paris break and a Cavani shot hits the ground and goes over after Ibrahimovic’s header hits the bar.
Laurent Blanc prowls the touchline like a tiger, clearly unimpressed.
Beglin predicts a third goal for PSG will come, and in fairness, City are under the cosh.
69mins and City counter, with Navas firing over. Further City possession ends up in a corner on the right, which comes to nothing, before a break on 72mins with Sagna down the right leads to a cross which PSG fail to defend.
The ball bobbles to Fernandhino, whose shot is deflected in before Silva can pounce on it anyway.
2-2. And City fans singing their hearts out are drowned out by home fans whistling.
Delph comes on for KDB for City and van der Viel and Lucas come on for PSG.
On 80mins City break with Jesus but the attack peters out (sorry!)
83mins and Mangala is booked for a late one on impressive Matuidi and on 86mins Navas is booked. Bony comes on for Silva, and Kolarov comes on for Aguero, as This Charming Man, Manuel Pellegrini, uses his experience to guide City to a historic 2-2 draw and within a home leg of a dream Champions League semi-final.
Now who would begrudge us that, I wonder??
CJA, April 2016.