Although they didn’t do quite enough to win the group, who would have thought that having lost 3-1 to Bayern at home in the first leg, City would have been able to defeat the European Champions in their own back yard!
What made it even more amazing was the fact that they recovered from a 2-0 deficit, before going on to win the game 3-2 after goals from Silva, Kolarov and Milner – who all had an outstanding game.
City went into this match knowing that they needed to win by 3 clear goals in order to finish top of their group, so when they went 2-0 down after 11 minutes that dream looked virtually impossible (as if it wasn’t already). It seemed that the blues would be more concerned about ‘damage limitation’ rather than getting the result they needed to top group D, but boy did they prove us wrong!
David Silva marked his return from injury with a goal in the 27th minute to make the game 2-1, which was put on a plate for him by James Milner – who had arguably had his best game since signing for the club in 2010. It took another 30 minutes of play before City bagged 2 goals in 3 minutes, with James Milner earning a penalty for the blues (which was cooly converted by Alexander Kolarov) as well as scoring the winner with a well-placed shot that beat the German #1 Manuel Neuer.
Although it took a tremendous amount of effort by the blues to take the lead, it seemed that City took the foot off the gas once they had bagged their 3rd goal of the evening – even though 1 more goal would have been enough to take them to the top of the group. The theory behind this was that Pellegrini and the team were unaware that, according to the rules of the UEFA Champions League, a score line of 4-2 would have been enough for them to overtake Bayern.
In the grand shape of things I suppose it doesn’t matter that City didn’t top the group, as any game in the Champions League is going to be tough, but it would have been nice. As a result, the blues became the first team in Champions League history to have more than 13 points without winning their group – typical City!
The victory against the European Champions could only be a good thing, with City looking to get an important win against Arsenal in the race for the Premier League title this weekend. Manuel Pellegrini also faces a tough decision in picking who will be in the starting XI this Saturday, with David Silva and Vincent Kompany returning from injury, and James Milner proving that he’s got the right to play in the first team after his outstanding performance yesterday, which saw him get 1 goal and 1 assist.
The blues should be very proud of themselves and return to Manchester with their heads held high.
– Daniel Cheeseman