CL: Ahead of CSKA clash, Man City on the brink of elimination
Ahead of tonight's crunch clash against CSKA Moscow, Man City defender Gael Clichy warns team that failure to win will leave English giants facing ouster from elite tourney
MANCHESTER: With confidence restored by victory over Manchester United, Manchester City will attempt to rescue their Champions League campaign when they tackle CSKA Moscow at the Etihad Stadium today.
Gael Clichy in action during Man City’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich in September. PIC/Getty Images
Sunday’s 0-1 defeat of United in the derby saw City snap a run of three games without victory and took them to within six points of Premier League leaders Chelsea, but in Europe their fate is in the balance.
Having picked up only two points from their first three matches, City no longer have any margin for error and will be left on the brink of a third group-stage exit in four years if they fail to win today.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at CSKA two weeks ago and with a home game against Bayern Munich and a trip to Roma to follow, the English champions cannot afford to drop points again.
City left-back, who was called into the team to face United after Aleksandar Kolarov was injured in the warm-up, has urged his teammates not to get carried away by their derby triumph. “It’s a totally different competition, so it’s not because we’ve won (against United) that we’re going to play well and win against Moscow,” he told the City website.
“Hopefully we can start winning, because we haven’t won a game yet in this competition. We still have a chance to go through and that’s the main objective for the club.
“A team like us should go through and do well in Europe. It starts on Wednesday and that will be a big game as well.”
He added: “It is still possible for us to qualify but we have to take three points against CSKA because if we don’t, it will be really difficult to progress.”
City will be without Spanish playmaker David Silva due to a knee injury, but midfielder Frank Lampard has said that he is “not far off” a return after missing four games with a thigh problem.
Meanwhile, Pellegrini revealed after the derby that centre-back Eliaquim Mangala should be fit to face CSKA.
In contrast to City, CSKA go into the game on the back of a disappointing domestic result, having lost 0-1 at home to Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg at the weekend.
Russia striker Kirill Panchenko will miss out for CSKA due to a knee injury and Swedish midfielder Rasmus Elm remains sidelined by a stomach problem.
Meanwhile, Alan Dzagoev and Pontus Wernbloom are both in contention to play after completing three-match suspensions for being sent off against Czech side Viktoria Plzen in last season’s group phase.