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Category Archives: Champions League

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo still has room to build all-time great legacy at Juventus’ expense

For the first time in over a decade, Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t the main topic of discussion of a major cup final featuring the Portuguese star. With Real Madrid on the verge of being the first club to retain the Champions League, the Portuguese forward has occasionally floated amongst the peripheral this season.

Nevertheless, the trials and tribulations of eight years in Madrid may result in Ronaldo’s greatest achievement since moving to the Spanish capital. A La Liga/Champions League double at the expense of city rivals Atletico, and Lionel Messi’s Barcelona would validate their dominance as world football’s alpha club. All this in the latter stages of the 32-year-old’s career.

A career that was supposed to be on the decline continues to enjoy the success that many could only dream of. Ronaldo equally remains one of the key components to Zinedine Zidane’s outfit, as the transition from high-flying roaming left-sided forward to a clinical forward has been seamless.

“Obviously what I want the most is to play more freely up front,” Ronaldo said. “That is the opportunity Zinedine Zidane has been giving me as a No. 9. I play freely. I play on the wing, down the middle. I play whenever I think I should.”

From a silverware perspective, the last 12 months have been the greatest Ronaldo’s ever experienced. Yet, oddly enough, the final in Cardiff means more. Not solely to build on Real’s trophy haul, or representing the focal point in another Champions League milestone. For once, this is about Ronaldo.

No mentions of Lionel Messi. No distraction of a summer move from Old Trafford to the Santiago Bernabeu. With guidance from Zidane, Ronaldo has been working hard for this moment. A chance to produce a display that will be cemented in football history for years to come.

Perhaps that’s one of the few, if not, sole criticism left in the anti-Ronaldo arsenal. Although it can be deemed extremely harsh, very few can argue that greatest players of our generation delivered genuine world-class final’s moment. Whether it be Lionel Messi’s 2011 Champions League final master-class, Xavi’s metronomic control in both the 2009 Champions League Final and 2008 European Final or Ronaldo’s goals in the 2002 World Cup final, the small group of players that dazzled over the past 20-years have shifted the game in some manner.

At the conclusion of his career, Cristiano will be mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned greats, but what sets him apart is the lack of a truly defining moment. The infamous Copa del Rey winner in 2011 along with the goal that practically clinched La Liga in 2012 were magnificent moments in Real history, but on the biggest stage, Ronaldo hasn’t been able to provide the extra bit of quality we’ve grown accustomed to.

This is not to say that Ronaldo “doesn’t show up for the big games.” Frankly, the 32-year-old’s ability to score goals is unparalleled and he epitomizes the ultimate modern day “big game” star, but even when you examine his performances in recent title triumphs, the Portuguese forward has been fairly underwhelming.

During the earlier stages of Ronaldo’s prime at Manchester United resulted in the opening goal in Moscow, yet he was subsequently denied by Petr Cech in the shootout. The following year, Ronaldo was merely a bystander in a fairly one-sided defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Oddly, Ronaldo’s significance decreased in Real’s success over Atletico. However, the 32-year-old still managed to score a penalty in both finals – with last year’s goal securing Real’s second Champions League title in three years. Even in last summer’s European Championship, Portugal defeated host nation France following the captain’s first half departure due to injury.

Frankly, much of Ronaldo’s inability to showcase his optimum talent on the biggest stage has been associated with fatigue. This year, however, Zidane’s altered his talisman’s training regimen and opted to rest the Portuguese international in pivotal domestic games against inferior opposition.

“He knows himself that sometimes he has to not play,” Zidane said following Real’s first leg semi-final victory over Atletico. “It’s not just this year; it’s an accumulation over the years. He knows that himself because he is intelligent.”

In return, Ronaldo discovered the best form of his career post-May since the turn of the decade, which has witnessed the forward single-handily guide Madrid to the final in Cardiff.

He arguably eliminated two favourites en route to the final with hat-tricks against Atletico and Bayern Munich, scoring 8 goals over both legs. Likewise, Ronaldo scored six goals in Real’s final four league games to edge out Barca in the final week of the La Liga season.

Though, far from tactically competent, and still lacking balance in certain areas, Zidane’s Real compliments Ronaldo’s transition into a conventional forward. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are two of the finest ball-playing midfielders in world football, whilst Marcelo and Dani Carvajal offer crossing from advanced full-back positions.

If Zidane prefers width, Karim Benzema can operate in the channels, whereas Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez have offered pace and defensive discipline from wide areas. Then, there’s Isco who has helped Real overload central areas but also provides the guile Madrid can lack if Kroos and Modric aren’t floating around the penalty area.

Where Mourinho’s counter-attacking Madrid benefitted Ronaldo’s pace, power, and trickery during his prime, Zidane’s version – stemming from Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival that led to a proactive outlook of the game – provides ample service for the reliable Portuguese goal-scorer. Under Mourinho, Ronaldo was the ultimate counter-attacking player, but his evolution along with the Real methodology alteration under Ancelotti and Zidane suggests he’s now the ultimate forward.

In truth, although Ronaldo continues to maintain an unprecedented level of excellence at 32, the decline many have harped about could limit what would be an advantage for the newly-crowned Spanish champions. On paper, Ronaldo charging into space behind Dani Alves and running at Andrea Barzagli appears to be an area that would concern Juventus in previous seasons.

But this version of Ronaldo may prefer to exploit the Juventus defence with his athletic and aerial superiority. Apart from a few moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve have been susceptible defending crosses from wide areas – a route to goal Ronaldo utilized to dispatch Bayern and Atletico – and will encounter difficulties preventing the 32-year-old from scoring.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Ronaldo’s first Champions League triumph, and despite the various heartfelt narratives surrounding the final, football’s biggest stage is still about him. At 32, he remains the best, and most dangerous player on the pitch, capable of deciding a match within seconds.

History beckons in Cardiff, but with nothing else to prove to the cynics, the possibility of being the first team to retain the Champions League in this era presents Ronaldo with another opportunity to enhance his football immortality with one memorable performance against Juventus.

 
 

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Real Madrid – Atletico Madrid: Champions League final preview

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Courtesy of Flickr/avalaisure

A year ago, Diego Simeone’s side defeated Real Madrid for the first time in 14 years at the Santiago Bernabeu to claim the Copa del Rey. After winning their first La Liga crown in 18 years with a draw at the Camp Nou last weekend, Atletico Madrid travel to Lisbon to participate in the first-ever local derby Champions League final against Real.

Although Real are in search of La Decima, an Atletico victory would complete an unprecedented double, and be classified as one of the greatest triumphs in football history. But Carlo Ancelotti’s men will arrive in Lisbon as favourites with Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo aiming to claim his second Champions League crown, and increase his record-breaking 16-goal tally.

This is expected to be a high-octane, scrappy affair, between two sides that thrive on the counter-attack. Stylistically, Atletico’s ability to maintain a high level of play and compete with Europe’s richest clubs is remarkable, and it’s fair to say that they’re not underdogs.

Atletico possesses one of the best defensive records in Europe, and they prove to be a difficult outfit to beat when their back four is fit. Equally, they shift and press as a unit, and quickly transition into attack with quick intricate combination passes.

Simeone’s men drop into two banks of four without the ball and the two strikers stick goal-side to the opposition’s deepest midfielder’s to close down passing lanes. The wide men –– Koke and Arda Turan –– adopt narrow positions to limit space between the lines and central areas. Full-backs, Juanfran and Filipe Luis, also decrease space between themselves and the centre-backs, and encourage the opposition to play through the flanks, as Miranda and Diego Godin consistently dominate aerial duels.

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Atletico’s shape when Madrid maintain possession. The wingers tuck in centrally, and the two forwards allow the Madrid centre-backs to circulate possession.

Atletico are capable of winning the ball higher up the pitch, or sticking to the aforementioned tactic, but under both circumstances their ability to quickly break into attack is pivotal. Both wide players are technically astute, hardworking players, with Koke drifting infield to express his creativity, while Turan evades challenges and motors forward. The positioning of the two forwards usually enables them to receive the ball while running towards goal, or dropping off to receive the ball and pull defenders out of position.

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Atletico maintain the same shape, but Turan is ready to press Arbeloa when he receives the ball. Diego Ribas and Diego Costa have closed down Xabi Alonso’s passing lanes and Juanfran has also adopted a narrow shape closer to Miranda.

Diego Costa and Turan, however, are both injury doubts ahead of Saturday’s final following their early first half departures against Barcelona. While the latter is likely to feature against Madrid, Atletico are working hard to ensure the former is also fit. In both league fixtures this season, Costa worked the channels admirably and consistently tormented Sergio Ramos and Pepe. Likewise, Costa’s physicality, and eye for goal –– scoring 36 goals in all competitions –– is unmatched.

Adrian Lopez or Raul Garcia will be the likely replacement for the 25-year-old striker, and both men offer different threats. Similar to Costa, the former relies on pace, but in terms of strength and finishing he’s not quite at the Spaniard’s level. Still, when called upon Lopez has delivered, scoring goals against Barcelona and Chelsea en route to the final. The latter, on the other hand, could field on the right flank or upfront, and his physical presence would see Atletico play direct. In previous rounds he targeted Jordi Alba and Ashley Cole to utilize his aerial superiority, and the Spaniard’s 17 goals in all competitions is only bettered by Costa.

Atletico, though, isn’t the only side heading into Saturday’s final with personnel concerns. Gareth Bale and Ronaldo passed fitness tests earlier this week, but Pepe and Karim Benzema are both unlikely to feature, meaning Raphael Varane and Alvaro Morata will be included in the starting XI. Carlo Ancelotti will also be forced to decide between Sami Khedira and Asier Illarramendi to complete a midfield trio for the suspended Xabi Alonso.

Khedira has featured in Madrid’s final two games of the season –– 117 minutes –– after tearing a cruciate ligament in his knee six months ago. Khedira was in the midfield that lost to Atletico in at the Bernabeu in October, but he failed to trouble Simeone’s midfield. Illarramendi, 20, has struggled against physical sides that intentionally target the Spaniard, and it’s likely that Ancelotti may go for Khedira’s dynamism and tenacity, despite the German’s scarce match fitness.

Madrid have been at their utmost best in this tournament when given the opportunity to play on the counter –– most recently displayed against Bayern Munich –– but Ancelotti’s men will likely dominate possession, and the pattern of the match will be identical to previous encounters this season.

In three matches of significant value this season –– the tie was over in the second leg of the Copa del Rey –– Madrid struggled to break down and create legitimate goal scoring opportunities against Simeone’s men. The one match that Madrid won two goals stemmed from major deflections, and a well-worked move from Angel Di Maria and Jese Rodriguez. Atletico, on the other hand, pose a legitimate threat through set pieces, and if Costa is unavailable, Simeone’s men will aim to exploit Madrid in these situations.

Considering the circumstances, Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria will be the key men for Madrid. Both men provide the dynamism and creativity in midfield that steered Madrid to the Copa del Rey final, but were equally nullified in their second league encounter at the Vicente Calderon. With Ronaldo and Bale keen on drifting into central areas, Atletico’s narrow defending nullifies space for the wide players to cut into. Both men have failed to produce quality performances against the newly-crowned Spanish champion, with Bale struggling in 1v2 situations, and Ronaldo lacking service and space to create shooting angles. With that being said, Modric’s ability to dictate the tempo of the match, and Di Maria’s willingness to spring forward and provide a goal-scoring threat will be key.

In eight of the last nine fixtures between the two sides, a goal has been scored within the opening 15 minutes. And while an early goal is expected, it won’t necessarily alter the predicted pattern of the match. Atletico’s system solely focuses on limiting space in their third, defensive solidity, and quick transitions, and Simeone is reluctant to stray away from his philosophy.

With Madrid’s recent issues in open play against Simeone’s side, and their tendency to switch off during matches, one goal may be the difference between success and failure. In 12 months, Atletico have snapped various droughts against their cross-town rivals, and on the biggest stage in world football, they’ll be seeking to avenge their loss to Bayern Munich –– in which the late Luis Aragones scored –– 40 years ago.

With Atletico’s limited financial resources and diminutive squad, Simeone’s ability to get his side to sustain maximum levels and challenge on both fronts –– domestic and European –– serves as a triumph for modern football. Meanwhile, Madrid’s return to the final for the first time in 12 years will be considered a failure if they don’t claim La Decima.

The sky is the limit for Atletico, whereas Real have everything to lose.

 
 

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Luka Modric: Real Madrid’s key to European success?

Wednesday April 25th, 2012 looked like it was going to be the perfect night for Real Madrid supporters. Eventual winners Chelsea had knocked rivals Barcelona out of the Champions League semi-finals the night prior, courtesy of a resilient defensive display; while a 14-minute brace from Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo put Los Merengues 3-2 ahead on aggregate against Bayern Munich with a vital away goal. Arguably the best team in the world, with arguably the best coach and player in Jose Mourinho and Ronaldo, were 76 minutes away from a trip to Munich.

The result was in Madrid’s hands and you couldn’t bet against them returning to the Champions League final as favourites, to play Mourinho’s former team Chelsea. As the Santiago Bernabeu erupted after Ronaldo’s well-taken goal, there was a man connected to Madrid that still looked worried, and that man was Mourinho. He told his men to calm down and slow down the tempo of the match, but for the last 106 minutes of the game, Bayern was the superior side.

Penalty kicks haunted Mourinho for the third time at the semi-final stage as Ronaldo, Kaka and Sergio Ramos failed to convert their shots. Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped to the spot and coolly put his shot past Casillas, and Mourinho immediately walked down the tunnel, knowing he’d been comfortably defeated over two legs. It was an impressive display by Bayern Munich, but one player stood out over the two legs and his name was Toni Kroos. Kroos was the type of player that Madrid didn’t possess, which could explain why Mourinho still looked worried after taking a two-goal lead early in the game.

Despite playing in a more advanced role, Kroos was able to drop into the midfield to create 3v2 situations against Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira. It gave Bayern that extra passing option but it also allowed them to retain possession easily. Alonso and Khedira didn’t know whom to press when Bayern did have the ball and the extra man in Kroos, made it difficult for them to play balls out wide or to Ozil, who was playing in an advanced role high up the pitch. Kroos’ tactical discipline stamped Bayern’s control on the game, as Madrid was unable to construct quality build up play, which left Ozil isolated with striker Karim Benzema. Madrid lacked a player of Kroos’ nature that could link up with the wingers and strikers, but who also had the ability to drop into a midfield three, when they didn’t have possession.

Kroos in attacking third vs Madrid

Kroos in attacking third vs Madrid

Ozil in final third vs Bayern Munich

Ozil in attacking third vs Bayern Munich

Ozil passes against Bayern

Ozil passes against Bayern

Kroos passes against Madrid

Kroos passes against Madrid

Mourinho could only watch his side struggle against Bayern over those two legs, but during the summer the Portuguese manager was keen to find a solution to his problem. On August 27th, 2012, Croatian midfielder Luka Modric signed a 5-year deal with Real Madrid for a fee around £33m. It was a difficult transfer saga, but Mourinho was able to lure away Modric from Tottenham, and add another world-class talent to his squad. Modric is a player who excels in a deep lying role stringing passes across the pitch in an authoritative manner. The Croatian playmaker provides energy in the midfield, and is able to play out wide or in an advanced role due to his versatility.

In his first appearance as a Madrid player, Modric was able to claim the Spanish Super Cup as Madrid defeated Barcelona over two legs. It was a fantastic start for Modric at Madrid, but since then things have gone a bit sour.   A poll on Spanish website Marca claimed Modric was the worst signing in La Liga, and the Croatian playmaker had this to say,

“I am not looking to make excuses because I am not that sort of a person, but it is a real challenge to adapt to a great club like Real Madrid.”

“There have been some good performances, not in every game, but in general I feel that I have showed that I can offer something.”

Modric has struggled to crack into the first team, but to be fair not many would dispatch Xabi Alonso or arguably Europe’s most improved player in Sami Khedira. It’s never easy to join a big club in another country and instantly make an impact. It’s fair to say Modric on his day is better than both Khedira and Alonso, but to come into an environment where you’re heavily under the microscope takes adjusting too. With Alonso aging, Modric is the perfect replacement for the Spanish midfielder and this season could allow Modric to settle not only into Spanish football but into an elite club before being in charge of dictating play in the midfield.

Modric also claimed that he’s shown that he could offer something to Madrid, and the Croatian was right.

Is it possible that Mourinho purchased Modric to add an element to his squad that he lacked against Bayern last season?

Real Madrid traveled to the Ethiad to face Manchester City in a game that finished 1-1. Modric was employed as the advanced midfielder that night, and he had one of his best games in a Madrid shirt. While City was in a back three, he did a great job in nullifying Yaya Toure. When Madrid didn’t have the ball he dropped deep to create a three-man midfield, and he did a great job linking play with Ronaldo and Benzema who were in advanced positions. A tactical change from Roberto Mancini, and Alvaro Arbeloa’s sending off allowed City back into the game, but on that night we saw how vital Modric might be to Madrid’s quest for a 10th Champions League crown.

Kroos’ performance at the Bernabeu was flawless and earlier this week we witnessed an equivalent display at the Emirates. Madrid lacked a player with ability and tactical IQ to perform that duty, which is why Modric is another vital piece to Madrid’s Champions League puzzle. Winning the midfield battle in away ties on European nights against elite sides is vital, if you intend on winning this competition, and this is where Modric should be utilized.

An away trip to Old Trafford is what awaits Real Madrid, and failure to progress to the quarterfinals, will cost Mourinho his job and classify this season as unsuccessful by Madrid standards. Domestically, Madrid has been a shadow of what they were last year, but Mourinho has been able to get his troops to rise to the occasion this season in important cup-ties.

Mourinho was brought into Madrid to dethrone Barcelona and conquer Europe.

He dethroned an injury-plagued Barcelona last season in a fantastic manner, and this season European success looks to be the main goal.

The inclusion of Modric into the squad not only offers his side more quality, but also an element they lacked last season.

Mourinho and Ronaldo are instrumental to Madrid’s success, but it’s safe to say that Modric’s performances over the next few months will be integral to how successful Madrid will be this season.

As bizarre as it may sound, the worst La Liga signing this season is Madrid’s most important player on their quest for European glory.

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow @TEEWHYox

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Champions League, FIFA

 

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Farewell Di Matteo!

Roman Abramovich has owned Chelsea for nine years and in that time he’s sacked seven managers, whereas it took Chelsea 62 years to get through its first seven managers since the club was founded in 1905.

In those nine years of the Abramovich-era, he’s accumulated a compensation bill that could exceed £50m and he provides more reasons as to why his football club is an absolute joke.

Roberto Di Matteo who led Chelsea to their first UEFA Champions League crown has been the latest casualty under the Abramovich-era.

Normally I stay quiet in these situations, but I think this is the final straw. Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Ancelotti, Villas-Boas were all rightfully shown the door, but the sacking of the Italian manager, who’s a symbol of the football club is disgusting.

Of all the managers who’ve suffered Abramovich’s wrath some may argue that Ancelotti getting sacked after finishing second was a farce, but he was losing the plot in the final months of his reign. Fergie out did him and the club was showing no signs of improvement.

Although Di Matteo was likely holding the seat until Pep returns from his sabbatical from football in Manhattan, his sacking is ridiculous. Chelsea currently sit third in the Premier League, and on the verge of being knocked out of the Champions League group-stage, but can we really put all the blame on him?

If Chelsea had beaten Manchester United at Stamford Bridge they’d be sitting seven points clear at the top of the table. Since the loss, Chelsea have failed to pick up three points in the league, and a loss to Manchester City will put them seven points back of the league leaders.

A month ago Chelsea were top of the league and cruised past Tottenham and former manager Andres Villas-Boas. No one could’ve expected this sack, but with Chelsea’s board anything is possible. The demand for trophies won in style is at an all time high, and failure to do so results in your job.

My question is simply this; will Rafa Benitez, Pep Guardiola or Harry Redknapp really solve the problem Chelsea faces at the moment?

Without John Terry, Chelsea’s backline is mediocre at best, and their weaknesses are exposed against topsides.

Can Oscar, Hazard and Mata perform at high levels in a 60+ game season?

Does Chelsea have players in the side capable of filling in for these creative midfielders when they’re injured or need a rest?

Is a midfield pairing of Mikel, Romeu, Lampard and Ramires really good enough?

Manchester City has Balotelli, Dzeko, Tevez, Aguero and Manchester United have Rooney, Van Persie, Hernandez and Welbeck at their disposal. Meanwhile Chelsea has Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge.

This Chelsea team isn’t good enough to compete for the Premier League title, and these holes can’t be fixed overnight especially with the transfer window closed. They’re a club in transition, who are a few pieces away from being legitimate contenders in England and Europe.

Frankly, Di Matteo slowly gave this Chelsea side a new identity, and they were slowly stemming away from the style they played in previous years. The style that relied on midfielders in Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien and a strong centre-forward in Didier Drogba.

On the bright side, whenever Abramovich has sacked a manager mid-season, Chelsea’s form begins to improve and we’ve seen this with Mourinho-Grant, Scolari-Hiddink and AVB-Di Matteo. Time will tell in whether the new manager will continue the trend, but frankly it shouldn’t matter.

Di Matteo’s sacking was harsh, but it yet again reminds us that in modern day football, results and trophies are what matters.

Stability at football clubs is no longer relevant, because you’re only as good as your last game, right?

But then again what do I know? Sacking the manager that led you to Champions League glory six months ago is normal, I suppose.

Time to sit back and have a chuckle at the laughing stock of Europe…Chelsea.

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow me @TEEWHYox

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Champions League, EPL

 

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Aside

Match in a Sentence

On a night where it looked like Roberto Mancini was outdone in Europe yet again, Mario Balotelli came to the rescue to deny a Dortmund side that outclassed the Premier League champion’s two valuable points.

Analysis

  • Manchester City lined up in a 4-2-3-1 and Mancini opted to go with Dzeko and Nastasic over Tevez and Lescott.
  • Dortmund also went with the same formation, with the likes of Marco Reus and Mario Gotze behind Robert Lewandowski. There was no surprise to the starting lineup, but their performance at the Ethiad might’ve surprised many.
  • The first half was back and forth with both sides sharing equal amount of possession. It was very narrow from the hosts, who were at their best when David Silva was gliding through the middle or Sergio Aguero was dancing past defenders. Apart from that, City was sending balls over the top to Dzeko to latch onto. Unfortunately for Dzeko he was caught offside four times.
  • Dortmund was also narrow, and when defending their 4-2-3-1 looked like a 4-5-1. They came to the Ethiad with no fear and looked to break when winning possession. They enjoyed possession and the source of their attack was through the right flank.
  • It’s safe to say that Joe Hart and Roman Weidenfeller dominated the first half. Both goalkeepers were fantastic, stopping several shots that on any other night would result in goals.
  • The game came to light in the second half when Samir Nasri who was frankly anonymous during his time on the pitch was taken of for Kolarov. Mancini then reverted back to a 3-5-2 and it simply didn’t work and exposed them again in wide areas.
  • Dortmund who squandered multiple opportunities in front of goal finally got their reward minutes after Mancini went to a back three. Jack Rodwell’s misplaced pass was intercepted by Reus, and he used his pace to get by the City defenders and slot his shot past Hart.
  • Dortmund continued their onslaught but Joe Hart kept City in the game with a superb performance. It was save after save and although City was poor in the second half, there was always that feeling that they might find a way to equalize. Dortmund missed multiple chances including a Lewandowski sitter from five yards out. Although they dominated most of the second half, their finishing was a key reason why they failed to obtain 3 points.
  • Then Mancini went for broke and brought on Balotelli for Clichy and surprisingly it was Balotelli that saved the day. City was awarded a penalty in the 89th minute courtesy of a Subotic hand ball (it was harsh but it was a penalty). Balotelli stepped up and calmly converted his spot kick to save City from a disastrous result at home.
  • Dortmund was excellent on the night and might feel like they deserved three points. Apart from their poor finishing, they exposed City at the back numerous times, especially on the right side. Also, the midfield pair of Gundogan and Bender was superb in silencing Yaya Toure. Last season Dortmund started their first two games in this competition with 1 point; however, this season they have four. They also failed to pick up a point on the road, whereas tonight they picked up one and deserved three. Talk about progress.
  • Problems at the Ethiad continue, and as weeks go by I’m more convinced that Mancini is losing the plot. If it weren’t for Harts stellar performance, City would’ve been battered tonight by Dortmund. Mancini continues to keep the shackles on his players and it seems like the players are slowly losing belief in their manager. They were second best and Mancini’s tactical changes nearly cost him points again. City has now put themselves in a tough predicament, and performances like these might see them crash and burn again.

Three Stars

  1. Joe Hart   
  2. Ilkay Gundogan   
  3. Mario Gotze

Tyrrell Meertins

Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Champions League, Match Recaps

 

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