UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 4 December 2012, 19.45 KO
City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany (c), Lescott, Nastasic, Barry, Garcia, Nasri (Zabaleta 68), Sinclair (Aguero 57), Tevez, Dzeko (Balotelli 65)
Unused: Pantilimon, Meppen-Walter, Evans, Nimley
Booked: Garcia, Lescott, Balotelli
Referee: Milorad Mazic
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez
It was the visitors who started the game the brighter, with Gareth Barry winning the first corner as his free kick was nodded behind. From it, Dzeko couldn’t get his header on target. Two slack balls from Mats Hummels were nearly punished by Tevez, but Dzeko was twice offside in the build-up, before Hart had a routine save from a shot on the edge of the box.
With 20 minutes gone, City created their first good chance of the game. Lescott won the ball back on the half-way line, before finding Tevez. The Argentine knocked it on to Nasri, who played a lovely pass to send Dzeko through to the corner of the box. The Bosnian tried to return it to Tevez in the middle, but the final ball across was intercepted and put behind for a corner.
Just after the half hour, the visitors nicked the ball back in the Dortmund half and it broke to Dzeko in the middle of the half. He turned and smashed a shot at goal that might have dipped in, had it not been for the fingertips of Weidenfeller touching it around the post. The home side responded, though, as Reus cut inside Nastasic and unleashed a shot, that Hart needed the faintest of touches to divert it onto the post.
As half time approached, Dortmund began to step up the pressure on the City goal, but Perisic’s effort was well held by Hart. At the other end, Dzeko had the chance to slide a ball through to Tevez, but it was just cut out and put behind for a corner, with the Bosnian probably feeling like he should have taken on the shot.
Seconds after the break, City should have been in front. Tevez did well to win the ball and find Nasri on the left flank. He crossed into the six yard box and Dzeko got up above his marker to win the header, but it was straight at the goalkeeper, who held it well. Either side of him and it would have been a goal – the visitors should really have had the lead.
A minute later and it was Dortmund who should have had the opening goal. A free kick from the right wing was curled towards the back post where Hummels ghosted in, unmarked. He connected to the cross on the stretch, but couldn’t get enough of a touch to trouble Joe Hart, who was able to leave it to bounce behind.
Perisic produced a brilliant volley to smash a shot at goal, but City’s keeper was equal to it, pushing it over the bar. From that corner, the ball was worked to Grokreutz who managed to blast at the near post from inside the six yard box. A good arm from Hart, though, got the ball behind and Kompany was able to clear from the next flag kick. Dortmund were stepping it up.
That pressure told just before the hour mark. City were overran on the right flank and Blaszczykowski blazed past Barry to produce a fantastic low ball into the box. Kompany couldn’t cut it out, Hart couldn’t come for it and it left Schieber to touch it over the line. City’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League were hanging by a thread.
With 66 minutes played, Tevez could have pulled the visitors level. Good work by Aguero slid his fellow countryman through and he just ran at the Dortmund defence. He kept going through three challenges and got a shot off, that Weidenfeller saw late and had to spoon behind. Since going a goal ahead, though, Dortmund were looking far too comfortable for City’s liking.
City could have been further behind with eight minutes to play, as Lewandowski broke past Lescott and Nastasic. Hart was off his line to force him wide and, as the striker shot, the City keeper blocked it with his face. The Dortmund keeper responded similarly: Aguero go in behind the home side’s defence and shot, but Weidenfeller was there to block.
It was another game in the Champions League without a win for City, making them the first English side not to earn a victory in the group stages. All in all, it’s been a dismal campaign and the blues finished exactly where they deserved to over the six games: Bottom of the group.