Pellegrini's side fall short once again in Europe
After Manchester City's last minute loss to Bayern Munich, Roma were the next team in line for Manuel Pellegrini's side. The Italians arrived at the Etihad in excellent form, having won their first six games of the season, but were missing several key players. With Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Leandro Castan out, it was as good a time as ever for City to play them. However, City's struggles in this competition continued, with the Blues looking a shadow of the side they are in the Premier League.
Pellegrini boldly opted for two strikers, with both Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero starting whilst Stevan Jovetic had to settle for a place on the bench. In midfield, Jesus Navas was perhaps surprisingly selected ahead of the in-form James Milner.
City started well, winning a penalty within the first four minutes after Maicon was judged to have pulled back Sergio Aguero. There was an argument that the former City player could have been sent off, as he was technically the last man, but the referee decided that a yellow card would suffice. Aguero himself got up and dispatched the penalty low and hard into the bottom right corner. It was a dream start for City, but very quickly they found themselves pegged back.
The midfield three of Roma caused City all sorts of problems, passing and moving at speed, and Yaya Toure and Fernandinho couldn't get close to the ball. Pjanic, in particular, impressed, and he helped create the equaliser. His through ball to Florenzi was flicked onto Totti before the Italian genius chipped the ball over the oncoming Joe Hart for a deserved equaliser. It was all square at half time, and it was looking like one of those nights again for City in Europe.
Pellegrini opted to replace the largely ineffective Jesus Navas with James Milner, and immediately City looked a better side. The Blues had more control over the game, and were able to keep the ball rather than chasing it. However, despite all of City's second half possession, chances were few and far between. Roma seemed happy to take a point, but still had frightening pace on the break with the likes of Iturbe and the excellent Gervinho.
City's best chance fell to David Silva, but the Spaniard was unable to guide home Pablo Zabaleta's cross from a tight angle. It finished 1-1, and is a result that leaves City with a huge task in order to qualify. They have to show more character, desire and confidence, or else their Champions League dream may end yet again at the group stage.