If the sending off of Fernandinho was unecessary, the red card given to Yaya Toure was the result of sheer frustration. Two red cards for the hosts as they imploded on a cold night in Manchester. Fireworks were expected but not to the extent on display at the Etihad on this Bonfire night. Admittedly, CSKA could have ended a man down also, but Samir Nasri was fortunate not to be a third City player hopping into an early bath. The Premier League champions showed no composure as they lost their heads at home. The refereeing was both inconsistent and at times, quizzical, but City had plenty of chances to put the match beyond doubt. The fact was they were beaten by the better side on the night, and Sunday’s derby win must seem an eternity away now.
Having squandered a two-goal advantage in front of a near empty stadium in Moscow, Manuel Pellegrini’s men would have been keen to prove a point in front of their own fans. Instead they were caught out with less than two minutes on the clock as Seydou Doumbia scythed through the City defences to put the visitors a goal up. Toure equalised six minutes later before Doumbia restored his sides advantage with another fine effort to leave City on the brink of elimination as what should have been the hosts proving a point turned into a nightmare for Pellegrini’s players. Credit must go to CSKA as they came flying out of the blocks and were keen to take the game to the Premier League champions. They showed plenty of spirit and had the confidence of their opponents being under pressure to get a result. City now face the prospect of having to get a result out against Bayern Munich in order to ensure safe passage into the knockout stages.
Two points from four matches and bottom of the group will not make nice reading for City fans, and their continued woes in Europe will leave many scratching their heads. It doesn’t make much sense as to why City struggle in the Champions League after winning the English league. Something doesn’t transfer from domestic to European form, but they now must get points off German champions Bayern Munich to keep their slim European hopes alive. An early exit will devastating for the blue half of Manchester and their expectant fan, as they continue to leave fans with more questions than answers.
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