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Manchester City Stumbles Again in Champions League

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Manchester City – (Photo: Chico101.deviantart.com)

While they continue to suffer from being handed tough UEFA Champions League groups stages matchups, Man City has done themselves no favors in the way they have started their European campaign this season.  In a competition where success has still eluded them despite their massive financial overhaul 6 years ago, the Blues of Manchester would have liked to have gotten this year off to a better start.  Through 3 games they sit in 3rd with just 2 points!  But while the poor run of results is a setback, there is still hope yet that Man City will qualify for the knockout rounds of Europe’s finest soccer competition.

City got the Champions League off to a tough start squaring up against Bayern Munich and half of the World Cup winning Germany National Team squad.  In Munich, Man City held on for nearly the whole match only to lose in the 90th minute via a late goal by Jerome Boateng.  From escaping Germany with a point away to the top seeded club in the group to a heartbreaking loss, it was the worst way to kick-start the campaign.

However, losing to your hardest opponent away isn’t the end of the world, and one would have expected Man City to come roaring back with their second match at home to AS Roma.  It was not to be.  The Italian club now features several Premier League veterans like Ashley Cole, Gervinho, and Gervinho, not to mention world-class stars like Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic.  In a game City largely controlled, they just couldn’t find the difference and stuttered to a 1-1 draw.

But their third match today has to be the most disappointing result.  While Bayern Munich and AS Roma are heavyweights in major soccer leagues like Serie A and the Bundesliga, CSKA Moscow is from Russia, where soccer is far less competitive.  Away from home, City went up 2-0 at halftime only to collapse once again.  The tragic moment would come in the 86th minute, when a penalty was awarded to the Russians.  Bebras Natcho scored the PK and tied the game up.  The final 2-2 result has now left Manchester City fans scratching their heads and bemoaning another falter in European soccer.

There is still hope yet as City will have 2 home matches ahead, but they desperately will need to win those games.  A trip to Roma with everything on the line is not ideal, but chances are it could decide the team’s fate.  With players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, and Joe Hart you’d expect the team to be flying, but it just feels like a concerning bout of weakness envelopes this club in the Champions League.  Such late disappointments have squandered a full 3 points from their clutches that would have given them a shot at winning the group.

And here lies the real challenge for City.  Even should they rally to finish 2nd in their group (which seems most likely), they will face a group winner like Real Madrid or Barcelona in the round of 16, similar to last year when they were eliminated at that stage by Barcelona.  Winning the group would be much more comfortable, though that hope is likely off the table at this point.  The club needs a boost of confidence in this competition and someone needs to step up and make the difference.  To me, Aguero or Toure need to take on this role.  Until such time, Manchester City will continue to flounder about in the Champions League to the chagrin of their fans and excessively affluent owners.

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Nicholas Spiller resides in LA where he dreams of musical super-stardom on his bass guitar. He also writes for Sportspiller.com and is an avid Arsenal fan!

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