Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3

UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 10 December 2013, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Richards (Zabaleta 16), Kolarov (c), Demichelis, Lescott, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner, Navas, Silva (Negredo 73), Dzeko (Rodwell 88)
Unused: Pantilimon, Boyata, Kompany, Aguero
Goals: Silva (28), Kolarov (pen 59), Milner (62)
Booked: Dzeko, Milner, Fernandinho, Zabaleta

Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

Silva opens the scoring for City.

Silva opens the scoring for City.

The impression that it was going to be a long night for the visitors was there from the off, as Bayern quickly took control of possession and pinned City back into their own penalty area. With just five minutes played, the first real chance sprung the opening goal – Muller, who looked just offside, got in behind Kolarov and beat Hart on a one-on-one.

City were all at sea and it was two after ten minutes. Hart had been alert to touch the ball onto the post, but from the resulting corner Lescott and Garcia fumbled over a clearance. It landed to Mandzukic, whose shot landed to the feet of Gotze. He was never going to miss facing Hart, as he was played on by Demichelis.

Milner came close to pulling a goal back after Dzeko nodded a Navas cross back to the midfielder, but it was saved by Neuer. From the resulting break, the Blues lost Richards – who had pulled up previously with a muscle injury, and in the sprint to get to the ball first seemingly made it worse.

With the half hour approaching, Bayern slowed their tempo down and City picked it up. A spell of possession allowed Navas to cross from the right and it bounced through to Milner on the left. He nodded it back to the middle, where Silva was unmarked to slot it under Neuer.

A cute through ball from Ribery picked out Gotze in behind Zabaleta, as Muller was offside in the middle and the City players stopped. Hart, however, stayed big and was off his line swiftly to make the save – and he won the goal kick, deflecting the ball behind back off the striker. Seconds later, it took a last-gasp block from Demichelis to stop Muller pulling the trigger facing the City keeper on a one-on-one.

Zabaleta passes past Alaba.

Zabaleta passes past Alaba.

Five minutes into the second half, and both sides had been feeling their way back into the match. Kolarov was needed to tidy up a skewed Demichelis clearance, after Zabaleta had blocked an Alaba cross. Some neat work by Milner and Silva forged a chance for Dzeko to shoot – but Neuer gathered his near-post effort at the second attempt.

With the hour mark approaching, City were handed the chance on a plate to pull level. Silva slipped Milner into the inside left channel and he had his ankles clipped by Dante – who was lucky not to see a second yellow card – and the referee pointed to the spot. Kolarov stepped up and sent Neuer the wrong way.

Three minutes later and City had the lead. Silva threaded Navas through on the right flank and he crossed low towards Dzeko. It should have been cleared ahead of the striker by Boateng, but he missed it completely and it fell to Milner, who slotted first time across Neuer and into the bottom corner.

With ten minutes to play, Negredo’s pressure on Dante bought him a chance to shoot on goal. He nicked the ball from the defender and was clean through wide on the left. His shot to the far corner was just – just – saved by Neuer’s trailing leg.

In the end, City came back from two goals behind and completed three away wins in the Champions League – they were one goal away from topping the group.

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Manchester City 1 Bayern Munich 3

UEFA Champions League Group D
Wednesday 2 October 2013, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Nasri (Milner 70), Aguero (Silva 70), Dzeko (Negredo 57)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Garcia
Goals: Negredo (79)
Booked: Aguero, Nasri, Milner

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers
Man of the Match: Micah Richards

Bayern1

Aguero battles for the ball.

It was always going to be a difficult task for City to take on the reigning European champions, but a poor showing didn’t help in addition to a dominating performance from the visitors. The warning signs were there: Robben nodded over inside the opening four minutes with a free header in the box.

But it wasn’t a warning City took notice of and, less than three minutes later, the ball was in the net – though it probably shouldn’t have been. Ribery found space on the left flank and cut inside to fire a shot towards goal. Hart got a hand on it, but couldn’t keep it out and it went in at his near post. It was a goalkeeping error.

That City didn’t face many more shots in the half is something of a minor miracle – the hosts could barely get a kick of the ball, as the visitors overpowered them by far in the midfield. Hart was forced to play it long and it was coming straight back at the Blues’ defence. It was a stark lesson by one of the best sides to have visited the Etihad.

The hosts started brightly in the second half, however. A series of corners offered the fans a brief spell of hope, as Richards and Dzeko both came close to getting a vital touch towards the Bayern goal. Kompany was unlucky not to have been given a penalty, as he was dragged down by Boateng.

But the hope quickly evaporated. On 55 minutes, a brilliant cross-field ball picked out Muller coming in from the right flank. Clichy seemed to simply stop and allow him to run, and it left the striker the chance to round Hart and slide his shot into the empty net.

If there was to be a way back for City it would have had to have come soon – but all that followed was a third goal for the German side to kill off the game, before the hour was up. Fernandinho was dispossessed in midfield and the visitors broke down on goal. Robben took the shot on and, once again, Hart was beaten at his near post – and he probably should have done better.

There was some sense of recovery from Hart – who was clearly annoyed with himself for the goals – as he got down well to block from Kroos as the Bayern man was through on goal. The rebound could only be blazed over by Robben on the volley and City were hanging on – it could have gotten embarrassing such was the difference in the teams.

Bayern2

Muller beats Hart to double Bayern’s lead.

The introduction of Milner and Silva arrived on the 70 minute mark, but it was too late for the Blues to add any steel to the midfield. It did see the home side regain control of possession for longer spells and they did become threatening, but a snapshot from Milner from the left was as close as City came, with Neuer touching it over the bar.

However, with just over ten minutes to play, the unlikely happened and City grabbed a consolation goal. Silva nicked the ball back inside the Bayern half and found Negredo inside the box. He turned and smashed a lovely shot into the net via Neuer’s right hand post, but it was to be too little too late for the home side.

There could have been an exciting finish, but for a matter of inches, as Silva came close to adding a second for the Blues from a free kick. Boateng had brought Toure crashing down – as the Ivorian was through on goal – and sent off on his return to the Etihad. His curling effort left Neuer standing, but it came back off the crossbar.

Negredo almost reduced the deficit further deep into stoppage time, as Milner dug deep to cross to the centre from the left flank. The Spaniard rose higher than the Bayern defence, but his header dropped just wide of the far post.

If anything, though, the scoreline flattered City – it could have been many more than three from one of the best sides the Blues will ever have faced.

Manchester City 2 Bayern Munich 0

Champions League Group A
Wednesday 7 December 2011, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Savic, Lescott, Kompany (c), Clichy, Barry, Y Toure (Balotelli 81), Nasri, Silva (A Johnson 85), Aguero, Dzeko (de Jong 78)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Zabaleta, Milner
Goals: Silva (36), Y Toure (52)
Booked:

Referee: Stephane Lannoy
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

City knew that only a win would do if they were to stand any chance of making the knock-out stages of the Champions League and, seeing the visitors rest a few players, the hosts set out to attack from the off. Aguero should have opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock as Nasri found him unmarked in the box, but his header was over the bar and into the fans.

Bayern could have taken the lead shortly after, but a comfortable save from Hart at his near post saw the ball bounce behind for a corner. Lescott had the ball in the Bayern net on 16 minutes, but it was eventually ruled out by the referee for a foul on the goalkeeper. The assistant on the line didn’t see it, the assistant behind the goal didn’t see it, but the referee thought long and hard before disallowing the defender’s header from Nasri’s free kick.

Alaba skied the ball over the bar when faced with Joe Hart, before the home side took the lead. A ball from deep from Barry was cutely flicked to Silva by Dzeko. The Spaniard took the ball on his chest and volleyed it from the edge of the box, finding the bottom corner with force.

It was all City: Barry lifted an effort of the bar when there were shouts of handball, Aguero took on and beat the whole Bayern defence to shoot past Butt – though ex-City defender Boateng got back to clear from behind his goalkeeper – and Aguero curled an effort just wide of the post from inside the box.

The first action of the second half saw the hosts double their advantage. Yaya Toure nipped in ahead of the Bayern defence to a Dzeko through ball and he poked the shot under Butt. It was neat, flowing football, but it was dulled by the news the Napoli had taken the lead in Spain, putting them through and City out as it stood.

Nevertheless, the home side continued to press and look for more goals. Nasri smashed a shot just wide of the post after Aguero and Dzeko had worked the ball across to him on the right flank, before Barry volleyed an effort from the edge of the box as a corner was half-cleared, but Butt got two strong hands on it to push it away.

It was an excellent performance from City and they did what they could to influence qualification on the night, but it turned out not to be enough, with Napoli winning at Villarreal. The opening draw with the Italians and the defeat in Naples were the killers, but the City fans got a performance to be proud of in going out of the competition.

Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 0

Champions League Group A
Tuesday 27 September 2011, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), K Toure, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry (Kolarov 73), Nasri (Milner 69), Aguero, Silva, Dzeko (de Jong 55)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Tevez
Goals:
Booked: Aguero, Clichy, Y Toure, K Toure

Referee: Viktor Kassai
Man of the Match: Joe Hart

City started the game on the front foot, pressing the Bayern Munich goal and should have had a penalty after just two minutes. Former City defender Boateng appeared to foul Silva as the Spaniard turned in the box, but the referee played on and Bayern eventually got the cross clear. Richards then provided Dzeko with a great chance to take the lead, but his shot was straight at Neuer.

Schweinsteiger then had an effort from the edge of the box deflected straight to Joe Hart, after Aguero burst into the box, taking on van Buyten, but his touch was slightly too heavy. Rafinha then had a cross deflected through the box and, fortunately for City, it didn’t find a home shirt. Dzeko then turned well in the box after a neat run by Aguero, but his shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.

Dzeko had a shooting chance as he peeled off Boateng from a City free kick. He took it down in the box and fired a shot it, but it was blocked out for a throw-in. Nasri then picked the ball up in the centre of midfield and ran at the Bayern defence – he got into the box, but couldn’t find a shooting opportunity.

Micah Richards then broke into the box after a one-two and went down under a challenge from Boateng and was unlucky to see the referee wave play on: the former City centre-back got nothing of the ball. Yaya Toure then curled a free kick from 25 yards, but Neuer was able to hold onto it comfortably.

Some sloppy defending from Bayern presented the ball back to City and Edin Dzeko. He found Nasri, who knocked the ball for Yaya Toure and he chipped the ball back towards Dzeko, but van Buyten nipped in to clear. Richards’s low cross was then cleared by the big Belgian. Hart was then down smartly to his left to hold a shot from Schweinsteiger.

A decisive break from Ribery then set up Muller with a shooting chance, but Clichy was in to block the shot over the bar, before it could cause Joe Hart any problems. Ribery then had an effort from the edge of the box that cleared the crossbar from the resulting corner. Bayern should then have taken the lead through Schweinsteiger, but the German shot over from inside the six yard box as the home side had a five-on-three breakaway.

With seven minutes to play to the break, the home side took the lead. Ribery was able to cut inside on the left flank and fire a shot in from the edge of the box. Hart got down well to save it, but the rebound fell to straight to a Bayern shirt. The Englishman got across well to save the second shot, but he could do nothing about the third strike from Gomez from four yards out.

And seconds before the break, the home side doubled their lead. A dubious free kick was flicked to the near post and Hart pulled off another world class save to keep it out. But Mario Gomez was at the rebound first and smashed it into the net from what appeared to be an offside position. There wasn’t even time for City to kick off and they were two behind at half time.

Bayern started the second half as the ended the first: in control of possession. A ball chipped over the top was close to being met by Muller as Kompany slipped, but Hart was off his line quickly to catch. Kolo Toure was then needed to head a deep cross away, before Ribery’s shot was charged down by Richards.

Silva then gave the ball away to Rafinha on the edge of the box, but Kompany was there to block before Hart. Gomez was then unmarked in the six yard box as Ribery crossed and should have gotten his hat-trick. City were on the ropes and were unable to get a kick of the ball.

Boateng then had to recover well to deny Aguero a shooting chance as the ball broke to him in the box, but City were struggling to get a kick of the ball as the hosts looked very comfortable. Gomez then turned and shot in the box, but it was blocked by Toure, before Hart pulled off another great save from Schweinsteiger.

Kolarov then won a free kick on the edge of the box, and Milner curled it into the box. It was looking for Kompany and Toure by the penalty spot, but, in keeping with the side’s night, the two centre-backs ended up on the deck and the ball in Neuer’s hands. Another brilliant save from Hart then denied Bayern a third goal with just over ten minutes to play. Kolarov had an effort from the edge of the box, but it was easy for Neuer.

In stoppage time, Kolarov broke into the box, as Silva slipped the ball through, and he fired an effort across goal, but it was scuffed and well wide. Two silly goals conceded from City did the damage after a very promising first third of the game, but once behind, the visitors never looked like they would get back into the match.