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.”
Ramadel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina star as stylish Colombia break Polish hearts
- The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament
- The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal
KAZAN: Radamel Falcao, Yerry Mina and Juan Cuadrado scored as stylish Colombia boosted their World Cup last 16 hopes with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Poland on Sunday.
In a match destined to see the loser sent home after the group stages, Colombia overcame a nervous start against Adam Nawalka’s men to move up to third place in Group H, one point behind Japan and Senegal.
The disappointing Poland became the first European side eliminated from the tournament.
“I’m very sorry and very sad about the result, but tomorrow’s another day and we have to come to terms with things,” said Poland coach Adam Nawalka.
“Our players did their best until the end of the game. We lost to a very strong team and this is something we have to accept.
“I extend my congratulations to Colombia.”
The South Americans’ bid for a place in the last 16 will be determined by the results from their final game with Senegal, who drew 2-2 with Japan earlier in the day.
Colombia’s march to the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago came thanks to James Rodriguez’s six-goal tally for Los Cafeteros.
And days after a troublesome calf injury restricted him to a half-hour cameo role as 10-man Colombia stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Japan, the Bayern Munich midfielder was back to his best.
Starting alongside Juan Quintero and Cuadrado on the right, Colombia’s ultra-offensive starting line-up was a forewarning.
After riding a tense start that forced Mina and then Wilmar Barrios to react quickly to thwart early threats from Robert Lewandowski, Colombia eventually got into their stride.
Cuadrado was wasteful on several occasions when finding space deep on the right flank.
The Juventus winger’s trickery would eventually pay dividends, but it was Falcao — who has dreamed all his life of scoring a World Cup goal — who turned on the style, dancing through the Polish defense to win the corner that led to Colombia’s opener.
Rodriguez’s short corner eventually found Quintero, whose smart through ball back to Rodriguez gave him time and space to curl a perfect left-footed cross that Mina rose to header powerfully past Szczesny on 40 minutes.
Colombia resumed in positive fashion, Cuadrado holding up well to set up Falcao for a first-time drive that sailed over Szczesny’s crossbar.
A Colombia counter saw Falcao’s drive from the edge of the area deflected out for a corner.
Nawalka replaced Dawid Kownacki with the more experienced Kamil Grosicki and the switch almost paid dividends.
Only the bravery of goalkeeper David Ospina saved Colombia from conceding what looked like the equalizer when he rushed out to block from Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker did well to get a shot away from a long ball from midfield.
Poland threatened again, but when Lewandowski got his head to a cross into the area he was marked by both Mina and Davinson Sanchez.
Colombia, however, were not to be denied.
When right-back Sanitago Arias found Quintero, the midfielder sliced Poland’s defense apart with a low pass that found Falcao on the run before he beat Szczesny down low with the outside of his right boot.
Five minutes later, Rodriguez produced arguably the assist of the night, drawing several Polish players on the left flank before somehow finding Cuadrado on the run with a superb cross-field pass that the pacey winger tucked away.