UCL: Man City Stun Roma, Advance To Knockout Rounds


Manchester City was done, finished. Their Champions League run was over. With two games to go, City essentially had to win both to advance to the knockout rounds. Home vs. Bayern and away against Roma.

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  • No problem.

    The noisy neighbors of Manchester walked into Roma undermanned and walked out 2-0 victors, finishing second in the group and advancing to the final 16 for the second straight year.

    Samir Nasri was the man of the night, his thunderous strike in the 60′ breaking the 0-0 deadlock and stunning the home fans. The Frenchman unleashed a shot from outside the penalty box that bounced off the near post and in, just out of the reach of the Roma keeper.

    With Roma in need of a win to advance, they threw everyone forward, leaving themselves vulnerable for a counter attack. In the 86′, Nasri laid off a ball for Pablo Zabaleta, who finished off the Italian powers and sent the Blues into the knockout rounds for just the second time in their short UCL history.

    Roma had their chances on the night. In the early moments, Jose Holebas got behind the City line (albeit in an offside position, which went uncalled), but his effort on goal was stopped by Joe Hart and cleared away by the City defense. Moments later, a cross from Radja Nainggolan was just inches too far in front of Gervinho.

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  • City would weather the storm and come into their own, controlling possession and creating a handful of chances of their own, most notably coming from James Milner, who latched on to the end of a Jesus Navas pass, but the Englishman couldn’t lift the ball over De Sanctis.

    Into the second half, City controlled to control the flow of the game, but was unable to find the end product. Nasri, who played just behind Edin Dzeko for most the night, stunned those in attendance with his brilliant strike at the hour mark, giving City the most optimism they’d had about their UCL hopes in many weeks.

    Roma wasn’t done yet, however. In the 72′, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick connected with Kostas Manolas, whose header grazed Hart’s finger tips and careened off the bar and out for a corner. The ensuing corner was badly misplayed, leaving Mattia Destro with an open goal. Fortunately for City fans, much heralded defender Martin Demichelis made the block and saved City fans potential heartbreak.

    From then on, Roma could manage little else despite their attacking personnel, and City wrapped it up with Zabaleta’s low finish into the bottom corner.

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