Thursday 04, October 2012
Super Mario makes a point for City
The Italian bad boy converted from the penalty spot to make it 1-1 in the dying minutes to avoid another defeat in group D of the Champions League.
With both teams having won at the weekend in their respective leagues, momentum and confidence were high with plenty of chances in the opening stages.
Samir Nasri produced a fine save from Roman Weidenfeller in the first minute as his shot from the edge of the box was parried to avoid an prevent an lead for the home side.
The visitors also started brightly with Mario Gotze forcing Joe Hart into a magnificent finger-tip stop, edging the ball onto the post and out for a corner.
Sergio Aguero replied with a blistering 25-yard shot midway through the first half, but the German keeper tipped the ball over to keep it goalless.
Towards the interval, City’s number one made yet another sublime save, forcing another Gotze attempt onto the crossbar and over.
The home side could have taken the lead in first half injury time, but David Silva launched the ball over from six yards.
As the second half commenced, both sides carried on from where they started with Edin Dzeko collecting Yaya Toure’s pass to chest it down and shoot from the edge of the area. But the stubborn Dortmund keeper gathered it comfortably to frustrate the home side and their fans.
Things became even more frustrating minutes later with an injury to Nasri, who followed new signing Javier Garcia down the tunnel for treatment. Mancini had to shuffle his pack, leading him reverting to three in defence, as substitute Aleksandar Kolarov was seen playing more in midfield than his preferred left back position.
With gaps at the back, Dortmund took advantage of City’s new defensive outlook with Marco Reus putting the Bundesliga Champions in front to break the deadlock.
Young Jack Rodwell played an awkward back-pass to his team’s defence only for Reus to take advantage of the mistake, burst into the box and smash the ball behind an unlucky Hart. Once again City were unable to keep a clean sheet, conceding 16 goals in all competitions this season, not the defence of champions.
The game could have gone from bad to worse for City shortly after with Robert Lewandowski missing an absolute sitter. A beautiful pass from teammate IIkay Gundogan, eluded the home defence, only for the Polish striker to side-foot his shot wide.
With 10 minutes left to play, Balotelli was brought on to help the big spenders get something out of this closely contested match.
Playing alongside Dzeko and Aguero, the pressure was mounted on Jurgen Klopp’s defence, and soon enough persistence led to a corner kick after Aguero’s header was pushed out wide by the keeper.
As the corner ball was swung into the box, another Aguero attempt at goal, met the hand of Neven Subotic to gain a penalty kick for City. Substitute Balotelli, stepped up to the penalty spot, despite Aguero’s protests over who should take the spot-kick, and calmly passed the ball into the net sending Weidenfeller the wrong way.
The crowd spent the dying moments on their feet as the game intensified. They were hoping for another grandstand finish like last season’s final game of the season, where Aguero scored an extra time winner to seal the club’s first Premier League title.
But it was Dortmund who had the last chance of the game, Lewandowski driving a shot straight at Hart, who was at full length to prevent a late winning goal. Perhaps that is why Mancini appeared relieved at the final whistle.
Outstanding performances from both Hart and Weidenfeller were the only factor that prevented a goal-packed match.
City will be glad they are up and running after earning their first point of this year’s Champions League campaign. Dortmund, however, will be disappointed for conceding so late on. They remain second on four points with Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Ajax in Amsterdam keeping the Spanish side top of the group.
The Premier League champions will look to keep up their recent domestic form, which has seen them gain four points out six, with Sunderland coming to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. But, yet again, a clean sheet will be demanded by Mancini as it’s still an issue they can’t resolve.
Quays Man of the Match: Joe Hart – a first class performance from the England Keeper was what kept City in this game. Superb saves such as this are what make him one of the word’s greatest between the sticks.
Man City: Hart 9, Zabaleta 6, Kompany 6, Nastasic 5, Clichy 6 (Balotelli 81,) 7, Silva 6, Javi Garcia 5 (Rodwell 34) 5, Y Toure 6, Nasri 5 (Kolarov 56) 6, Dzeko 5, Aguero 7. Subs not used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Tevez, Balotelli. Booked: Kompany, Y Toure
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller 8, Piszczek 5, Subotic 6, Hummels 6 (Santana 74) 5, Schmelzer 6, Gundogan 6 (Grosskreutz 82) 5, Bender 6, Blaszczykowski 6, Gotze 7 (Kehl 88) 5, Reus 7, Lewandowski 7. Subs not used: Langerak, Leitner, Schieber, Felipe, Perisic.
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