Man City versus Napoli in the Uefa Champions League Group A - Manchester City FC

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  • 14 September 2011 21:42
  • Posted by Chris Bailey

Four decades after former boss Malcolm Allison predicted that City would terrorise Europe only to fall at the first hurdle, the Blues have a second chance to make that boast come true.

And this time around they didn’t start by completely fluffing their lines. Stuttered a little yes; but fluff no.  

City strode on to the biggest stage in club football with the élan and swagger of seasoned performers but they ran into an Italian team that lived up to virtually every stereotype in the football dictionary.

In the end the Roberto Mancini’s men were pleased with a point from their Group A opener courtesy of Aleksandar Kolarov’s thunderbolt free-kick 16 minutes from time.

Napoli, making their own debut in the competition and backed by a noisy travelling support, thus went the way of the previous 18 teams that have arrived at the Blues home ground and been sent packing without a victory.

But not before they had threatened the Blues proud home record through Edinson Cavani’s second half effort drilled through the legs of the advancing Joe Hart.

City were the better side and enjoyed the majority of possession but there was never the chance of a brutal dismantling of Napoli as was the case in the Premier League wins over Swansea, Spurs and Wigan.

Napoli2

The Italian defiance called for a methodical and careful unstitching but Napoli defended well and counter-attacked with pace and intelligence and can be pleased that their game plan worked.

It was a glorious night to savour on many fronts – even the Manchester drizzle stopped long enough for fans to arrive not looking like drowned rats – but the result was ultimately a disappointment though hardly a fatal blow given there are five more of these football chess matches to come.

Both sides had chances to win the contest Ezequiel Lavezzi  hit the bar for Napoli and Hamsik saw his goal bound effort blocked by Vincent Kompany.

For City both Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero hit the frame of the goal. 

Roberto Mancini, facing his countrymen, made five changes from the team that put three - and could have smashed eight – past Wigan at the weekend.

Napoli managed to restrict the number of chances the Blues created in front of goal but could never fully stem the slick Blue tide washing towards their goal though they deserved their point.

Silva Action Napoli

Sadly Allison is no longer around to watch the club that he helped guide into Europe’s Premier domestic competition at the end of the 1960s make an assault on the continent’s best but he would have been as proud as anyone to have seen them make their entrance to this year’s competition.  

    PWDLFAGDPTS
1 Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 2 0 2
3
2 Napoli 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
1
3 Manchester City 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
1
4 Villarreal 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2
0

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Match details

Wednesday 14 September 2011, 7:45PM

Manchester City Stadium Att:44,026
UEFA Champions League

Referee:
Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

Teams

Manchester City:

Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 75mins), Yaya Toure, Barry, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko (Tevez 80mins), Nasri (Johnson 75mins)

Unused subs:
Pantilimon, Savic, Kolo Toure, Richards

Bookings:
Zabaleta (22mins)

Napoli:

De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica, Maggio, Inler, Gargano, Zuniga, Hamsik (Santana 89mins), Lavezzi (Dzemaili 57mins), Cavani (Pandev 83mins)

Unused subs:
Rosati, Fideleff, Dossena, Fernandez

Bookings:
Maggio (15mins), Cannavaro (31mins), Aronica (43mins), Inler (58mins)

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.

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