Wednesday 24, October 2012
Agony in Amsterdam for Manchester City
Manchester City suffer 3-1 loss away to Ajax, leaving the English Champions bottom of group D
WITH TENSION already building up before the match, as 25 people were arrested prior to the match, both sides went into this game looking for their first win of this year’s Champions League group stages.
Samir Nasri was first to open the scoring but against the run of play as City when 0-1 up in the first 20 minutes. But Ajax didn’t surrender to the forces of the big spenders as they came back into the game with goals from Siem de Jong and Niklas Moisander which gave them the lead. But the Dutch side weren’t finished there, as Christian Eriksen made it three after a slight deflection from Gael Clichy.
The result leaves City rock bottom of group D with only one point to their name. Roberto Mancini will have to regroup with his players if they are to get anything out of this competition, as their current form would suggest an early exit for the blues.
Frank de Boer’s side started the more positive, with early shots from De Jong and Eriksen but they failed to test Joe Hart as they looked for an immediate lead. But the away side managed to score first, Nasri latched onto a lovely James Milner through ball and finished with style as he curled the ball past Vermeer to put his side in front.
City tried to make it two shortly after as Sergio Aguero came close, but his shot was deflected for a corner. Micah Richards also nearly doubled the lead after incredible play by Dzeko, who backheeled the ball into the defender’s path, but his shot was parried by the keeper.
The latter stages of the first half saw more chances from Ajax as they pushed for an equaliser. Van Rhijn and Tobias Sana saw their attempts go well over the goal, while Ryan Babel shot from distance but the ball was collected calmly by Hart. City looked to have fended off Ajax’s advances going into the break, but a superb injury time equaliser from De Jong brought the game level at 1-1.
Van Rhijn’s delivery into the box was met by the Swiss striker who lost his marker to smash home a wonderful strike. Yet another game where City haven’t kept a clean sheet, that makes it only one clean sheet out of 12 games this season.
After the break, possession was mixed as both sides looked to control the game. But it was the hosts who benefitted first as Moisander put Ajax 2-1 up. An Eriksen corner was headed in by the central defender who out jumped Lescott to put his side in front. Mancini will ask questions of his defence as they literally stood static during the set piece, a sloppy goal to concede.
Having now gone behind for the first time in the match, Mancini experimented with his tactics to try and increase City’s attacking presence. Aleksandar Kolarov was brought on in replace of Lescott, as the Italian manager looked to bring back his three in defence formation, which was unsuccessful against Borussia Dortmund. With numbers short at the back City were left open to the wingers of Ajax. Former Liverpool player, Ryan Babel was able to exploit the opponents back three, who looked uncomfortable in their manager’s formation choice.
The changes made for the blues looked to have failed as Ajax were soon 3-1 up. Eriksen’s shot just outside the area took a slight deflection off Clichy as the ball went the opposite way to the already diving City keeper. Sana could have made it four but the English number one parried the midfielder’s shot.
Time was running out for the blue moon to rise, as Mancini looked desperate in his last two substitutions. Tevez and Balotelli were brought on to replace Barry and Milner, as City now had four strikers on the pitch in an attempt to force a draw. Dzeko nearly pegged one back late on, but his shot was blocked by Vermeer after being brought off his line. Aguero also tried to grab a goal but the ball went well over as the game finished 3-1, much to the disappointment of travelling fans.
Quays News Man of the Match: Christian Eriksen, the Danish playmaker was at the forefront of the Ajax attack all night, playing a similar striker role to Fabregas when playing for Spain. Eriksen maybe a midfielder but the way he played upfront against City shows he has was it takes to play upfront full time. Getting on the score sheet as well as an assist rounded off a good game for the 20 year old.
MAN CITY: Hart 6, Richards 6, Kompany 5, Lescott 6 (Kolarov 63’, 6), Clichy 6, Barry 6 (Tevez 71’, 5), Nasri 6, Milner 6 (Balotelli 77’, 5), Y Toure 5, Aguero 5, Dzeko 5 (Balotelli 5).
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Sinclair, Nastasic, Evans.
Booked: Toure, Kolarov
Ajax: Vermeer 6, Alderweireld 5, Moisander 6, Blind 5, Poulsen 6, Eriksen 7, De Jong 7, Sana 6 (Enoh 74', 5), Schone 6 (Boerrigter 89',4), Van Rhijn 6,Babel 6
Subs not used: Cillessen, Veltman, Dijks, Sulejmani, Fischer
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