For the third year in four City seem determined not to worry members of the Champions League cup scheme’s bank accounts beyond the group stage after a late penalty in Moscow forced City to settle for a point.
Manuel Pellegrni made five changes from the weekend changing three of of the back four and restoring both Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure to the starting line up. CSKA Moscow started the first half brightly and had a couple of sighters at goal but neither really troubled Joe Hart as both went well wired with the England No.1 covering his goal well. City started more cautiously, seemingly content with discovering what CSKA had to offer.
However they grew into the game and began to dominate in the final third with the home side putting all eleven behind the ball every time City crossed the half way line in possession. Zabaleta’s early chance were signs of what was to come.
The lead came from a wonderful through ball from which found Dzeko, the Big Bosnian selflessly squared it to Kun giving him as easy a goal as he will ever score. The second arrived soon after with a whipped in ball from Yaya Toure to Zabaleta at the far post, who was slightly offside, he knocked it down to Aguero whose shot trundled across the goal and was tapped in by the irrepressible Milner at the far post.
It should have been three immediately afterwards as Silva broke down the left, found Kolarov whose trademark cross along the six yard line found Dzeko, who was hacked down before he could apply the finishing touch, and then cannoned against the post by Milner, who himself was hacked down in the area. It should then have been four as another Kolarov cross just evaded Sergio at the far post on the stroke of half time.
In the second half it was a different story as City switched off and allowed several long range shots just off target but didn’t head the warnings of the CSKA threat. The first goal came from a loose pass from Mangala gave away possession, CSKA raced down and the right and a squared pass allowed Doumbia a tap in. A finish made more miraculous by the double leg fracture he’d suffered from Fernando’s tackle mere minutes before.
Having lowered their tempo City couldn’t get going again and created little of note whilst ringing the changes and their play became scrappier and as they became increasingly more complacent they failed to retain possession.
Inevitably the leveller came five minutes from time, a ball came across the area from the left, Kolarov stepped in front of Doumbia who hit the deck the flourish of Ashley Young and the Hungarian Referee awarded the spot kick. Nacho fired it high and to Hart’s right, he guessed right but he had no chance.
Jovetic immediately came into the fray but despite this in the final minutes the team showed no cohesion to try and find a third goal.
Overall, attacking wise in the first half City were excellent, second half they ran out of steam. First hald the defence looked comfortable but to be two up away from home they should have been able to shut up shop and see the game out. Frankly too many performances were sub par, didn’t lift their game at 2-1 and we were punished. People will point to two penalties at each end that cost City but that simply covers up the fact that they did not play for 45 minutes. One thing is for certain, Yaya Toure is going to shoulder a lot of blame.