City register impressive away victory over European champions
UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 10 December 2013, 19.45 KO
City: Hart, Richards (Zabaleta 16), Kolarov (c), Demichelis, Lescott, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner, Navas, Silva (Negredo 73), Dzeko (Rodwell 88)
Unused: Pantilimon, Boyata, Kompany, Aguero
Goals: Silva (28), Kolarov (pen 59), Milner (62)
Booked: Dzeko, Milner, Fernandinho, Zabaleta
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta
The impression that it was going to be a long night for the visitors was there from the off, as Bayern quickly took control of possession and pinned City back into their own penalty area. With just five minutes played, the first real chance sprung the opening goal – Muller, who looked just offside, got in behind Kolarov and beat Hart on a one-on-one.
City were all at sea and it was two after ten minutes. Hart had been alert to touch the ball onto the post, but from the resulting corner Lescott and Garcia fumbled over a clearance. It landed to Mandzukic, whose shot landed to the feet of Gotze. He was never going to miss facing Hart, as he was played on by Demichelis.
Milner came close to pulling a goal back after Dzeko nodded a Navas cross back to the midfielder, but it was saved by Neuer. From the resulting break, the Blues lost Richards – who had pulled up previously with a muscle injury, and in the sprint to get to the ball first seemingly made it worse.
With the half hour approaching, Bayern slowed their tempo down and City picked it up. A spell of possession allowed Navas to cross from the right and it bounced through to Milner on the left. He nodded it back to the middle, where Silva was unmarked to slot it under Neuer.
A cute through ball from Ribery picked out Gotze in behind Zabaleta, as Muller was offside in the middle and the City players stopped. Hart, however, stayed big and was off his line swiftly to make the save – and he won the goal kick, deflecting the ball behind back off the striker. Seconds later, it took a last-gasp block from Demichelis to stop Muller pulling the trigger facing the City keeper on a one-on-one.
Five minutes into the second half, and both sides had been feeling their way back into the match. Kolarov was needed to tidy up a skewed Demichelis clearance, after Zabaleta had blocked an Alaba cross. Some neat work by Milner and Silva forged a chance for Dzeko to shoot – but Neuer gathered his near-post effort at the second attempt.
With the hour mark approaching, City were handed the chance on a plate to pull level. Silva slipped Milner into the inside left channel and he had his ankles clipped by Dante – who was lucky not to see a second yellow card – and the referee pointed to the spot. Kolarov stepped up and sent Neuer the wrong way.
Three minutes later and City had the lead. Silva threaded Navas through on the right flank and he crossed low towards Dzeko. It should have been cleared ahead of the striker by Boateng, but he missed it completely and it fell to Milner, who slotted first time across Neuer and into the bottom corner.
With ten minutes to play, Negredo’s pressure on Dante bought him a chance to shoot on goal. He nicked the ball from the defender and was clean through wide on the left. His shot to the far corner was just – just – saved by Neuer’s trailing leg.
In the end, City came back from two goals behind and completed three away wins in the Champions League – they were one goal away from topping the group.