City off to disappointing start in Champions League
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 15 September 2015, 19.45 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (c) (Otamendi 75), Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Nasri (Aguero 82), Silva, Sterling (De Bruyne 71), Bony
Unused: Caballero, Demichelis, Fernando, Navas
Goals: Chiellini, og (57)
Referee: Damir Skomina
Man of the match: Fernandinho
City's European struggles continued last night, as Juventus came from a goal behind to win the opening game of Group D courtesy of strikes from Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata. The Blues have now won just five home games out of 15 in the competition since 2011, and the defeat represents a significant blow in City's prospects of qualifying for the knock out stages.
Raheem Sterling and David Silva had recovered from the minor knocks that kept them out of the weekend victory at Crystal Palace, and Sergio Aguero was a surprise inclusion on the bench. It had been assumed that he would be unavailable following the injury incurred at Selhurst Park, but the Argentinian striker recovered quicker than expected. Kevin De Bruyne also started on the bench, despite an impressive debut against Palace.
City started the game brightly, and perhaps should have taken the lead after just two minutes, with Gianluigi Buffon saving well from Raheem Sterling. The Blues dominated possession in the first half, but created few other opportunities of note. Wilfried Bony looked increasingly isolated as a lone striker, and City's best efforts came from the impressive Fernandinho. The Brazilian has started the season in fine form, and was arguably City's best player on the night.
The teams went in level at half-time, but City broke the deadlock 12 minutes into the second half when Giorgio Chiellini headed into his own net under pressure from Vincent Kompany. The Italians were aggrieved, having felt that Chiellini was fouled, but responded emphatically to record their first victory of the season. A superb ball from Paul Pogba, linked with a move to The Etihad for much of the summer, was finished neatly by Madzuukic, who stole in behind Eliaquim Nagala.
Ten minutes later, Morata secured the victory with a stunning left footed strike that flashed in off the post, leaving Joe Hart no chance. City rallied late on, and Buffon saved well from a long distance Yaya Toure effort, but Juventus held on to secure all three points. It was a disappointing start to the campaign from Pellegrini's side, who now need to win in Monchengladbach in a fortnight's time to stand a realistic chance of progressing to the last 16.