Controversial late penalty punishes lacklustre City
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 21 October 2014, 17.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando (Jovetic 86), Toure, Silva (Fernandinho 78), Milner, Aguero, Dzeko (Navas 72)
Unused: Caballero, Clichy, Sagna, Demichelis
Goals: Aguero (29), Milner (38)
Referee: Istvan Vad
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero
The Champions League again proved troublesome for City, with the Blues inexplicably dropping two points away to CSKA Moscow.
There were changes all over the pitch, most notably in defence, where Zabaleta, Mangala and Kolarov replaced Sagna, Demichelis and Clichy. In midfield, Yaya Toure partnered Fernando, with Silva and Milner starting out wide. Manuel Pellegrini again stuck to his principles, opting for Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero upfront.
In truth, City's front two combined very well, with both Aguero and Dzeko making excellent runs and causing the CSKA Moscow defence all sorts of problems. After 29 minutes City made the breakthrough when Silva floated an excellent ball over the Moscow defence to put Dzeko clean through. The Bosnian opted to unselfishly square the ball to Sergio Aguero for a simple tap in, and City were more than good value for their lead.
The Blues continued to pass and move the ball well, and doubled their lead soon after. This time Pablo Zabaleta headed down Toure's excellent through ball to Sergio Aguero, whose volleyed attempt was converted at the far post by James Milner. City went in at half time 2-0 up, and looking like they were going to win the game at a canter.
As the second half started, City became increasingly sloppy in possession. There was no movement, the crisp passing had gone, and possession was frequently squandered. It was no surprise that CSKA grew into the game, and they reduced the deficit in the 64th minute after Doumbia tapped in Musa's cross. As a result, City reverted to one striker, with Fernandinho coming in to help solidify the midfield. The change didn't seem to work, and in the 86th minute, CSKA were given an outrageous penalty. No Moscow player even appealed but Natcho stepped up, and converted with aplomb to leaving City with a mountain to climb if they are to reach the group stages.