The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar on Saturday with more major events and competitions being disrupted.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the globe, it has resulted in the postponement of competitions worldwide as governments attempt to combat the pandemic.

A small number of events still went ahead, but sports stars, teams and indeed supporters were otherwise left to find other means of entertainment.

With the number of confirmed cases worldwide now totalling over 155,000, we round up all the latest news and updates.

 

Germany's prestige friendly with Italy later this month became the latest football fixture to bite the dust, with the majority of upcoming international matches having now been wiped out.

More major organisations have halted all footballing activities until a later date, including Qatar, Morocco and Egypt.

A small number of competitions, most notably the A-League, Russian Premier League and Mexico's Liga MX, did manage to go ahead as planned.

Indeed, NRL games also avoided the cut, as did a handful of Super Rugby matches before an indefinite ban was put in place later in the day.

Another competition to fall was Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand, which was already being played behind closed doors.

With New Zealand's government introducing strict protocols to attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the Black Caps – along with Super Rugby side Highlanders – returned home from Australia and Argentina respectively in order to beat the new restrictions, which will mean any new arrival to the country, even if they are a citizen, has to self-isolate for 14 days.

With the top-four tiers of English football being shelved until at least early April, there was plenty of focus on the National League as six games were given the green light.

There was some controversy in Argentina as River Plate's Copa Superliga clash with Atletico Tucuman was suspended after the home side refused to open their stadium.

Independiente's tie with Velez Sarsfield was played out in full, albeit behind closed doors, with the hosts claiming a 1-0 victory.

In Italy, Napoli urged their supporters to sing from their balconies in unison as Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and two more Sampdoria players tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy revealed a negative test result after recently self-isolating, but Carlo Ancelotti and Angelo Ogbonna questioned the Premier League's handling of the outbreak, while Jordan Pickford denied reports he is self-isolating.

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed the competition should be "void" – a suggestion Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher quickly dismissed.

The lack of football did not stop certain clubs from keeping supporters entertained, though, with LaLiga side Leganes posting live updates of a fictitious match against Real Valladolid, which they won 2-1.

Perhaps inspired by their Spanish counterparts, Southampton got Manchester City involved in an online game of noughts and crosses to help fill the void.

The downtime also gave football stars a chance to recuperate, with Sergio Ramos and Alexis Sanchez among those to post images of their extra-curricular activities.

Others, such as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, opted to use social media to educate their followers on how to properly wash their hands, while Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi used his profile to echo the sentiments of Cristiano Ronaldo in calling for people to follow the guidance of health organisations.

As Ronaldo and Jurgen Klopp were praised by the World Health Organisation for "protecting people from coronavirus", former United States president Barack Obama hailed a host of NBA stars – including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson – for donating large amounts to help support arena staff during the league's hiatus.

UFC superstar Conor McGregor labelled the pandemic "a stupid f****** virus", but later moved to clarify his aunt did not die after contracting the disease after previously suggesting as such.

And in more positive news, Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe revealed his country still plan for the 2020 Olympic Games to go ahead in Tokyo, starting in late July.

The International Olympic Committee will have the final say, but ABE is confident the Games will be staged "without problem".

Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy has thanked fans for their support and confirmed "those around me" have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Mendy was widely reported to be the City player who self-isolated as a precaution earlier this week, after a member of their family fell ill and was tested for COVID-19.

In an Instagram post on Saturday that confirmed he had been placed in quarantine, the France international shared an update and urged his followers to heed instructions given by the World Health Organization (WHO), who are seeking to minimise the spread of a virus that has led to over 5,000 deaths around the world.

"First of all, I would like to thank you for your numerous messages of support following the news about my quarantine," wrote Mendy.

"Today, the results were negative for those around me, but it is important that everyone takes their responsibilities in this delicate period, to protect you but above all to protect the weakest in the face of the epidemic.

"I therefore invite you to follow the instructions given by the WHO in order to stop the spread of the virus as quickly as possible and to get back to normal."

It is not clear when City will return to competitive action, with the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid having been postponed and the Premier League also suspended until at least April 3.

Premier League fixtures are to go ahead as planned, with no games played behind closed doors, despite fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Sporting events and competitions across the globe have been either postponed or cancelled altogether as governments and organisations attempt to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday the British government would not yet be cancelling large-scale public events, though that is subject to change.

Following this announcement, the Premier League – now the only major European league not to either postpone entire rounds of fixtures or play matches behind closed doors – confirmed this weekend's round of fixtures would go ahead.

The Merseyside derby is among the latest round of games, with Liverpool just two wins away from clinching a first league title since 1990.

"Following the latest update from government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend," a statement on the league's official website read.

"While the prime minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

"We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change. 

"The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly."

Shortly after the statement was released, Arsenal confirmed head coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus.

Arsenal's London Colney training centre was closed, with Arteta the first confirmed case in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Manchester City player – reported to be Benjamin Mendy – is self-isolating after a member of their family fell ill and was tested.

Brendan Rodgers earlier confirmed three Leicester City players had also self-isolated after showing coronavirus symptoms.

The English Football League has also confirmed matches will continue to take place until it is advised otherwise.

A Manchester City player is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of their family fell ill and was tested for coronavirus.

The player in question was not named by the club, but according to multiple media reports it is first-team left-back Benjamin Mendy.

A club spokesperson said: "The club is aware that a family member of a senior men's team player is in hospital with symptoms of a respiratory illness.

"He has undergone tests at hospital, one of which is for COVID-19. Until the results are known, the player in question is self-isolating as a precaution."

City face Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday and were due to take on Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

However, that match was postponed after Madrid went into quarantine in the wake of one of the club's basketball players testing positive for coronavirus.

The United Kingdom has had 590 confirms cases of COVID-19 infection and 10 deaths from the virus.

Aymeric Laporte was named in the starting line-up for Manchester City's Premier League trip to Sheffield United on Tuesday, completing his return from a knee injury.

City have been short at centre-back since Laporte sustained cartilage and meniscus damage in a 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on August 31, having failed to replace Vincent Kompany.

However, the 25-year-old was handed his first appearance in almost five months as one of seven changes made by Pep Guardiola for the game at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

Laporte was set to partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back, with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kyle Walker taking the full-back positions.

Fernandinho, who has been used in defence for much of the campaign, had an opportunity to return to midfield alongside Rodrigo.

Sergio Aguero started on the bench, with Gabriel Jesus leading the line and flanked by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.

Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva dropped to the bench, while David Silva was not included in the matchday squad.

John Stones and Benjamin Mendy sustained muscle injuries in Saturday's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday and were not involved on Tuesday.

Benjamin Mendy urged Manchester City to avoid dwelling on predictions of doom for their title defence following Saturday's dispiriting draw against Crystal Palace.

City squandered two precious points at the Etihad Stadium after Fernandinho's 90th-minute own goal forced a 2-2 draw.

Pep Guardiola's men had come from behind to take a late lead but ultimately missed a chance to reduce Liverpool's advantage at the top, which could be extended to 16 points on Sunday.

Mendy admitted his team-mates felt "sad" at full-time, but the left-back backed the Premier League champions to block out criticism.

"When another team is doing well you can't be upset or angry," Mendy said, insisting City would "deal well" with the latest setback in their bid to catch the Reds.

"We know when you start the season, after winning the league, you have to win most of the games. This is the truth, no-one can complain. [Liverpool] are a good team, strong team who win, win and win.

"So, in our dressing room, we try to focus on us.

"All the people say Man City are finished, they're finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, and fight until the league is finished."

Beginning with Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United, City have at least six domestic games - and a seventh if they progress to round five of the FA Cup - to address their deficiencies before facing Real Madrid in the first leg of a much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie.

Mendy said the countdown to that Santiago Bernabeu blockbuster would elevate the team's motivation levels.

"That will be another kind of game – Champions League, big game," he said.

"Every game is big, but everyone knows that this game will be watched by everyone so mentally you have a feeling, the atmosphere, how you come to the game puts you on fire, [gets you] excited.

"We will be focused on Sheffield now."

As Manchester City continue to toil defensively in the absence of lynchpin Aymeric Laporte, the switch to a back three against Everton may not have represented the most obvious solution.

So largely desperate have Nicolas Otamendi's performances been this season, City's sole fit senior centre-back only made the bench against Sheffield United on Sunday, two days on from a 90-minute shift in the dramatic collapse at Wolves.

Injury meant there would be no recall for the Argentina defender on New Year's Day, so Pep Guardiola was again struggling to find a central pair, let alone a trio.

But faced with the nous of Carlo Ancelotti, a coach he spent much of the week lauding, Guardiola decided to make the bold call.

Teenager Eric Garcia kept his place following his full Premier League debut against the Blades, and he was joined by midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri.

A 2-1 City victory was the result, and the wider positives were clear to see as the champions stretched Everton to breaking point, a change in defence bringing a new dynamic to their forward line.

City are one of the best attacking outfits in world football, so improvements in that respect are always likely to be marginal. But there is no doubt Guardiola has had issues at full-back this season.

Kyle Walker might be playing as "the best Kyle I have faced" - Guardiola's words - but pre-season signing Joao Cancelo has struggled to establish himself.

Bought from Juventus just months ago, the right-back has been linked with former club Valencia and Bayern Munich, and discussion of his future took up a chunk of his manager's pre-match news conference.

"We buy players for many years, not for six months," said Guardiola, before handing Cancelo just his fifth league start against Everton.

On the opposite flank, Benjamin Mendy - brought in at huge cost in 2017 - has endured a tough campaign. Injuries halted his initial fine form upon his arrival in Manchester, and displays in 2019-20 have been extremely ordinary for the most part.

But both Cancelo and Mendy certainly saw benefit in this new system, given the freedom of the flanks as Rodri and Garcia stepped forward and Fernandinho anchored the side, the three covering for their wing-back colleagues.

Cancelo linked well with Riyad Mahrez and played a key role in the Phil Foden goal that was disallowed in the now customary stretch of VAR farce in the first half.

Meanwhile, Mendy, even up against two talented right-backs in Djibril Sidibe and Seamus Coleman, enjoyed himself going forward, moving the ball at greater speed than in previous miserable performances.

The France international created three chances - as many as any team-mate - while Cancelo supplied two.

Beyond the added threat of support from the previously limited pair, the set-up accommodated different roles for the likes of Mahrez and Foden.

The nominal wingers in this formation instead found space inside, Mahrez teeing up Gabriel Jesus' second. The Brazilian's first came from an Ilkay Gundogan pass, the midfielder let off the leash a little with three men behind him.

It was a system that had to sustain a testing finale, hampered by the predictably unpredictable Claudio Bravo, while crosses remained a source of concern for the diminutive defence into the closing stages, but Guardiola's men held on.

Openly already planning for next season but without Laporte to call on, the City boss could head home encouraged by a different, still dominant, display.

Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez says he is not surprised his old club Leicester City are competing for the Premier League title again.

Brendan Rodgers' Foxes have emerged as the closest competition for Liverpool, who have a 10-point advantage at the summit.

Mahrez was one of Leicester's stars and scooped the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award when they shocked the sporting world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title under Claudio Ranieri.

The Algeria winger highlighted the form of former team-mate Jamie Vardy - five goals clear in the race for the Golden Boot - as being key for Leicester's success this term.

"I am not surprised by them; they are a good team. They have good players and Jamie Vardy is scoring a lot of goals," Mahrez said ahead of City hosting Leicester on Saturday. 

"They have a good manager. I am not surprised at all. I think [they are genuine title contenders] because they are currently second. I am so happy for them. They deserve to be successful and I am looking forward to the game. 

"We have so many good memories together from my time there. What we achieved together was unbelievable and so that club means a lot to me.” 

"My first title with Leicester is one of the medals that means the most to me. As well as the Africa Cup of Nations, which was for my country and so there is a lot of emotion, it means a lot. 

"But with Leicester, it was an unbelievable achievement, and no one thought we were going to make it."

City's inconsistent form has left them 14 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, who they pipped to the title last season.

A run of 14 successive wins to close out 2018-19 saw City edge out the Reds by 98 points to 97 and Mahrez feels that series of results indicates they champions are not yet out of the race.

"We know we are capable of doing that again," he added. "But you need to put it in on the pitch, be focused and try not to think about winning all of the games. 

"You just need to win the next one and then the next one. We are just thinking about the next game all of the time."

Pep Guardiola had high praise for Phil Foden and Benjamin Mendy after both players impressed in Manchester City's Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb.

Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick as City, who were already sure to progress from Group C, came from a goal down to win 4-1 in Croatia and complete an unbeaten group-stage campaign, but Foden was the standout performer on his 50th appearance for the club.

When it was put to Guardiola in a news conference that Foden's display was "something else" for a 19-year-old, the City manager smiled and replied: "As always."

Guardiola added: "I think when he's close to the box he's more dangerous than when he's away from the box. I think he still has to learn a little bit when he plays a little bit away [from the box]... the tempo, the spaces.

"But when he plays close to the box and he can attack the central defenders, attack the goal, he's an incredibly dangerous player. So he played really well again. Really, really well."

Mendy has struggled for fitness and form during his time at City, but Guardiola was also impressed with the former Monaco defender's display, stating: "He played his best game of the season."

However, the former Barcelona coach refused to reveal whether Mendy can consider himself the Premier League champions' first-choice left-back, with Angelino and Oleksandr Zinchenko his other options.

"They have to fight... and I will decide," said Guardiola. "Angelino, when he played, especially at Anfield in a tough game, he was incredible. We know the quality from Oleks [Zinchenko], and of course Mendy has this physicality when he's fit and especially when his mind and his head is in the right position, he's an extraordinary player."

Dinamo finished bottom of the group as a result of their defeat, when a win would have earned them second place at Atalanta's expense.

Nevertheless, coach Nenad Bjelica said: "I am proud and happy for everything we showed in these six matches. We were fighting to go through until the last half of the group stage and we played against big clubs all the way."
 

If winning ugly truly is a mark of champions, Manchester City's Premier League title challenge is very much alive.

After losing to Liverpool two weeks ago and then watching yet another late winner from Jurgen Klopp's relentless Reds at Crystal Palace earlier on Saturday, City's task against Chelsea was straightforward: don't give the leaders any more reason to believe.

Pep Guardiola's message before the game was simple, too, as the task of hauling in Liverpool was laid bare: "We have two options – give up or don't give up." Against Chelsea, they flirted with the former before choosing the latter.

Quite what the message to Benjamin Mendy was is another matter, though, and one that could have deeper implications when the title race enters its more decisive months.

Chelsea, of course, came to Etihad Stadium in buoyant mood - quite the contrast to the way they left it last season after a 6-0 humiliation of a kind rarely experienced, certainly since Roman Abramovich laid down roots in London. But this is a different Chelsea: a team playing with few expectations, bursting with confidence and chasing an eighth away win in a row in all competitions for the first time.

More to the point, there was a plan: get after Mendy. Not included against Liverpool for "tactical reasons", Mendy was part of the Chelsea blueprint from the off. Willian attacked relentlessly down the right and N'Golo Kante often joined him. With Raheem Sterling unwilling to track back, Rodri was dragged to the left to provide cover.

That was how Chelsea struck.

Mateo Kovacic played a one-two with Jorginho on halfway, and Kante set off, a diminutive whirlwind surging through the middle of the sky blue shirts onto the Kovacic pass. Rodri, out of position, did not track him; Fernandinho, emergency centre-back again, could not. Kante finished well under pressure from Mendy, who had belatedly realised the danger. It was Chelsea's second and final shot on target.

Chelsea deserved their lead. Beating City requires a careful plan and the hope of an off-day from Guardiola's men and, boy, they had that in the first half-hour. Kante has not been transformed by Frank Lampard - nobody should forget how Maurizio Sarri was often pilloried for playing the France star further forward - but he has embraced this idea of unleashing the former Leicester City man. In terms of average positions, Kante ended the first half the furthest forward of any Chelsea player. He was a weapon deployed with astute precision.

City, meanwhile, were alarmingly poor. Whatever the end result, Guardiola teams can normally be guaranteed to have more possession and run that little bit harder than their opponents. After 45 minutes, they had had 45 per cent of the ball and been outsprinted 56-50.

And yet, they were winning.

Kevin De Bruyne was wayward with his early passing but it soon became clear that, if it was going to happen for City, it would happen through him. It duly did 29 minutes in, De Bruyne dummying Jorginho and finding the net via the well-placed studs of Kurt Zouma, all after Fernandinho waded back into more comfortable midfield waters to steal possession.

For all their own problems at left-back, City identified the same weakness in Chelsea, a team who, exciting as they are, have kept only three clean sheets in the league under Lampard. Emerson Palmieri was tasked with dealing with Riyad Mahrez and simply never managed it. When he asked for help from Kovacic, they were equally obliging in allowing Mahrez to cut into the box on his left foot and finish in supreme style.

Mahrez was the main threat after the break, a clever corner giving Joao Cancelo a chance to score before a brilliant Kepa Arrizabalaga save denied him a second goal of his own. He would have had a late assist for Sterling but for a correct VAR intervention for offside.

A Chelsea comeback never really looked on and City had control once Ilkay Gundogan was introduced, even if they ended with the lowest possession figure, 46.7 per cent, that Guardiola has seen in 381 league matches in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.

They are back into third, nine points behind Liverpool, with a slight hop in their step if not quite a spring. Never mind the gap, as David Silva said on Friday; City have overturned them before.

But there is a nagging doubt about Mendy, about how he impacts the team as a whole and whether he is worth the gamble, that is more difficult to ignore.

Ederson is back in the Manchester City side to face Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.

The goalkeeper missed City's last game, a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool that left the champions nine points behind Jurgen Klopp's Reds in the Premier League table.

Ederson was withdrawn during a Champions League draw with Atalanta this month due to a thigh injury, with Kyle Walker ending the game in goal after Claudio Bravo was sent off.

The Brazil international has, as expected, been passed fit for a crunch clash with Chelsea, with Frank Lampard's side having won six straight Premier League games to move up to third in the league, above City.

Bernardo Silva is out after being banned for one game for his controversial tweet about team-mate Benjamin Mendy, while Raheem Sterling starts after being dropped for England's 7-0 win over Montenegro during the international break following an incident with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.

David Silva also returns to midfield, having been an unused substitute against Liverpool, while Riyad Mahrez starts alongside Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Fernandinho and Mendy line up in defence.

Chelsea make two changes from a victory over Crystal Palace as they aim to win eight consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time in their history.

Jorginho replaces Mason Mount in midfield and Cesar Azpilicueta comes in for Reece James at full-back.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has been given a one-match suspension as punishment for a racially insensitive tweet posted in September, the Football Association (FA) has confirmed.

The FA charged Silva at the start of October and the Portugal international has admitted a breach of the organisation's Rule E3.

Silva, 25, is set to miss City's home Premier League game against Chelsea after the international break, while he has also been fined £50,000 and must complete face-to-face education.

The former Monaco player tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of team-mate Benjamin Mendy as a youngster and a dated image from Spanish confectionary brand Conguitos that has been criticised for its racist connotations.

A statement issued by the FA read: The Manchester City midfielder's social media activity on September 22, 2019 breached FA Rule E3(1), as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, and constituted an "Aggravated Breach", which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin."

As part of Silva's submission to the FA following his charge, Mendy wrote a letter backing his close friend and insisting no offence had been taken.

Raheem Sterling also backed his team-mate publicly, although two lengthy and impassioned defences from manager Pep Guardiola in the aftermath appeared to inflame the matter.

In the Independent Regulatory Commission's written reasons provided to the FA, Silva's "exemplary previous good character" was acknowledged, along with an acceptance that "the player did not himself intend the post to be insulting or in any way racist", given he had "grown up in a country where both the brand and the character were familiar and considered inoffensive".

They added: "However, this was not a private jocular communication between two friends, The post was on a social media platform exposed to the 600,000 followers of a high-profile and well-respected professional footballer.

"It was quickly observed and reported upon by elements of the media. To his credit, the player removed the tweet from his account within a period of some 45 minutes or so."

Silva was voted City's player of the season in 2018-19 as they completed an unprecedented domestic treble, before starring in Portugal's triumph at the inaugural Nations League Finals.

He scored his fifth Premier League goal of the current campaign during last Sunday's 3-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

Benjamin Mendy has been handed a recall for France's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Albania.

The Manchester City full-back was given the nod over Real Madrid counterpart Ferland Mendy when France's squad was announced on Thursday.

Coach Didier Deschamps named a 23-man selection which includes Kylian Mbappe, who has not featured for his country since June amid injury problems.

Similar issues have hindered Benjamin Mendy, though to a much greater extent, the former Monaco star having required knee surgery during his stop-start time at the Etihad Stadium.

Benjamin Mendy last appeared at international level in the Nations League last September.

Nabil Fekir, who was absent for the previous two international matches, also returns, and N'Golo Kante is included.

Injury meant midfielder Kante could not feature in the previous international break, though he did not return to Chelsea until after the second fixture, frustrating Frank Lampard.

There is no place in the squad for Barcelona duo Ousmane Dembele or Samuel Umtiti, while Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba and Lucas Hernandez are all sidelined. 

France sit joint-top of Group H alongside Turkey, boasting a four-point lead over third-placed Iceland with two matches remaining.

Moldova visit the Stade de France on November 14, and France conclude their qualifying campaign in Albania on November 17.
 

France squad: Alphonse Areola (Real Madrid), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea); N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich); Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).

Kyle Walker revealed his training-ground mocking of the Manchester City goalkeepers contributed to his unorthodox role at Atalanta, where he found life a little tougher than anticipated.

Right-back Walker ended the match at San Siro in goal after Ederson was injured and substitute Claudio Bravo was sent off in the 1-1 draw.

The England defender was introduced in place of Riyad Mahrez and donned the gloves, remarkably making the only save of all three City keepers from Ruslan Malinovskiy's free-kick following the foul that saw Bravo dismissed.

Walker saw out the remaining nine minutes and stoppage time without conceding, before reflecting on a bizarre outing.

Asked if he had made the decision to go in goal himself or been instructed to do so, Walker told BT Sport: "I think it was a little bit of both.

"I try to sometimes banter the keepers in training, telling them to catch it and stuff. But as I found tonight, sometimes you do have to take two touches.

"All jokes aside, we came here to get a point or a victory. We knew it was going to be difficult because they play man-to-man, they're a good team and they're in the Champions League for a reason.

"To come away from here with how we ended the game with a draw is a good point, and we'll take that on now."

Defensive colleague Benjamin Mendy thanked Walker for seeing City through a tense finale.

"I think tonight was a very tough game. We knew it before the game," he said. "And how we fought until the end to keep [a point], I say thank you to Kyle.

"It's not easy to take this responsibility going to be a goalkeeper and saving the free-kick. It's one game we're going to remember going forward in this cup."

Manager Pep Guardiola added with a smile: "We had a good first half, but in the second half we suffered a lot. In the last 15 minutes we had the situation we had with the new goalkeeper in our squad."

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