Man City in 'do or die' match with Real Madrid
Man City in 'do or die' match with Real Madrid
The underperforming English champions are last in Group D with only two points from four matches after opening the campaign with a 3-2 loss at Madrid.
“It is very difficult, because probably we did some mistakes in the first game,” City manager Roberto Mancini said Tuesday.
Mancini will make a late decision on whether striker Mario Balotelli’s back has recovered in time for him to face Madrid.
“Yesterday he trained with the physio and tomorrow and today he will train with the team and we will see if he can play,” Mancini said.
The pressure on Mancini has been lifted slightly by City rising to the top of the Premier League on Saturday for the first time in its title defense. But it’s in Europe where the top teams are judged, and for some City players the last two Group D matches could now only be a matter of pride.
“Unlikely as it is that we will go through, we want to win our remaining two games and give ourselves at least half a chance,” City winger James Milner said. “And if that’s not good enough, at least we can finish with our heads held high.”
Madrid is second in Group D, one point behind Borussia Dortmund and three ahead of Ajax.
But Madrid has stumbled in its last two matches, losing at Dortmund and then being held by the German champions at home two week ago.
“We have a good chance of winning in Manchester if we impose our attacking strength,” Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira said. “The quality of this team is incredibly high and ... we definitely have to concentrate on trying to play our own way there, not letting ourselves to be influenced by the opponent’s style.”
Madrid’s passage to the knockout phase would be guaranteed with a game spare with a win in Manchester, where Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing for the first time since leaving United in 2009.
“Tomorrow he should have more attention on him, not only the other players ... because he’s a player that can change the game alone,” Mancini said.
Winger Denis Cheryshev has been called into the Madrid squad, with midfielder Michael Essien and forward Alvaro Morata sidelined.
Dortmund is the only unbeaten team in Group D and to advance only needs a draw at Ajax, which has never been beaten at home by German opposition.
“I have a lot of respect for Ajax,” Dortmund defender Neven Subotic said. “They don’t allow themselves to be shaken up.”
Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs
- Manchester United come from behind to make FA Cup final.
- Mauricio Pochettino yet to win a trophy as manager.
A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More FA Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of football, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy in management.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the FA Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season.
At the stadium where Tottenham have been playing their home matches this season, Dele Alli's goal gave the 1991 FA Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable record in world football's oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final.
"We're getting used to being in finals," Herrera said. "This club is all about titles and finals."
While Mourinho has fallen short in the English Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United are second and on course for their highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle with holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League.
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday's two league games. Juergen Klopp's side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.
Chelsea, who plays Southampton in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, are five points behind Tottenham with four games remaining.
When United fell behind to Tottenham, Paul Pogba was culpable.
A high ball was launched forward by Tottenham, a lethargic Pogba didn't try to break sweat in an attempt to prevent it reaching Eriksen. It allowed the Dane to whip in a cross for Alli to slide onto at the far post and strike past David De Gea in 11th minute
Had Harry Kane made a connection at the far post with Son Heung-min's cross three minutes later, Tottenham might have extended their lead.
Instead, United were able to draw level. Pogba made amends for his earlier inertia by dispossessing Mousa Dembele and delivering a cross that Sanchez headed past static goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sanchez did the hard work to create the winner in the 62nd, holding off Kieran Trippier and rolling the ball into the penalty area where Jesse Lingard teed up Herrera to shoot past Vorm.