It was a breathtaking game. A stunning rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone at Celtic Park quickly gave way to another superb European night of football in Glasgow as the top sides in England and Scotland faced off, drawing in the most exciting of styles.
On the 50th anniversary of the beginning of their European Cup campaign that saw them become the first British side to lift the big-eared trophy, it was a display that any Celtic fan will be proud of. Summer signing Mousa Dembele gave the Hoops a third-minute lead, the first of three times that they would be in front, with a hint of offside about his chest past Claudio Bravo.
Celtic and City draw in spectacular style
Chances were most certainly not at a premium, both side's attacking talent and determination combining with defensive errors aplenty. Fernandinho scuffed a shot past Craig Gordon, Raheem Sterling's scored at both ends in the space of eight minutes before the cycle was repeated in its intensity and end-to-end nature after the break, much needed for any spectators.
Dembele struck a second time, only two minutes into the second half, capitalising on an error from Aleksandar Kolarov. Nolito hit a third equaliser past Gordon only seven minutes later.
Celtic's early dominance may have come from the spectacular display of noise and tifo at Celtic Park, which spurred both sides on throughout the match. Scott Sinclair, the ex-City winger, floated a free-kick inside City's penalty area, beginning a training ground routine as Forrest hooked it back across goal and Dembele unwittingly chested it past Bravo after a header from Sviatchenko, from an offside position.
With the atmosphere building further, City looked feeble in defence and conceded a multitude of set-pieces that put a confidence-lacking defence under immense pressure. Such was the intensity of chances in this game that the 11 minutes between Celtic's opener and City's equaliser felt like the entirety of an average game. This is the Champions League, though. Sterling poked a ball across goal moments after Silva had been denied by a challenge from Sviatchenko.
Fernandinho equalises after intense start
Kolarov took aim, optimistically, from outside the penalty area. Celtic's failure to push up after the ball was cleared allowed Fernandinho to take all the power out of Kolarov's misplaced shot and scuff a shot past Gordon to temporarily silence Celtic Park.
After a momentary minute without an attack from either side, Celtic suddenly broke out into a fast-paced attack. Rogic moved swiftly into a hole that will have been far too big for Pep Guardiola's liking in midfield, offloading to the 19-year-old Tierney who moved inside the penalty area and aimed a cross, only for Sterling to deflect it into his own goal.
Nothing, it seems, could stop either of those two sides from thinking they could win this game. After another blow, City were back level, and Sterling, in particular, had made up for his unfortunate error. After being fed through by David Silva, Sterling fought off two defenders well before leaving the goalkeeper half-stranded on his feet and finishing, as he slipped, for a second equaliser of the night.
Nicolas Otamendi almost learnt from Dembele's opener as he headed a mishit volley from Sterling just wide. For the entirety of 17 minutes, neither side could score another. The half-time break couldn't stop the positivity shown from both sides, though.
Dembele had his second only two minutes after coming back onto the pitch, some fans yet to return to their seats. Reacting quickly to a terrible failure to clear the ball from Kolarov, the young striker scissor kicked past Bravo for his second, Celtic's third.
Instead of gaining more confidence, Celtic were pinned back by a City side showing impressive grit. Sterling, forgetting about his own goal, was in fine form, setting up Nolito for a volley that Lustig cleared well off the line. Sergio Aguero had to be involved at some point, though, having been quiet. He combined excellently with the ever-excellent David Silva before Gordon saved Aguero's shot, only for Nolito to bundle home for a sixth goal of the evening.
City come close to winner
Chances continued to come quickly after each other, although City looked very much more likely to net a winner as the game entered it's closing stages, Dembele looking isolated for Celtic. Yet chances were at both ends, Brendan Rodgers refusing to accept a draw with attacking substitutions like City's own Patrick Roberts, on loan at Celtic Park, coming on. The atmosphere continued, from both home and away supporters, to build. Instead of celebrations, though, sighs of relief at the clearance of every cross were common.
Craig Gordon's strong hand on Nolito's shot in the final minute of normal time drew the biggest sigh from the Celtic crowd, leaving City with a chance from a corner. Dembele headed away with power, but City continued, Fernando striking over the crossbar with the final kick of the game, a spectacular game, one that will be remembered for many years at Celtic Park.