City on brink after Ajax draw

Manchester City are on the brink of an early exit from the UEFA Champions League after they were held to a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium by Ajax on Tuesday night.

Last Updated: 07/11/12 at 10:42 Post Comment

Siem de Jong: Scored both of Ajax's goals

Siem de Jong: Scored both of Ajax's goals

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Things could have been even worse for Roberto Mancini's men as they needed goals from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero to wipe out two early strikes from Ajax captain Siem de Jong, but their plight in Europe's premier competition is now even more precarious having failed to win any of their opening four group games.

City had made a promising, purposeful start to the game and, having seen an early penalty appeal turned down, could have hit the front when Samir Nasri threaded a clever pass into the box for Pablo Zabaleta, only for the Argentine full-back to blaze wastefully over.

Ajax took full advantage of the let-off with the opening goal just moments later; City's defenders allowed a corner from the right to drop and, after Niklas Moisander had prodded forward, de Jong slid in from an acute angle to lift a deft finish over the prone Joe Hart.

The visitors doubled the lead on 17 minutes as de Jong punished more slack City defending at a corner. Christian Eriksen swung in a delivery, this time from the left, and the Ajax skipper was allowed to drift unchallenged to the near post by Yaya Toure where he glanced home a simple, clinical header.

To their credit City responded quickly and reduced the deficit within five minutes. Moisander failed to deal with Nasri's cross and his unconvincing header dropped to Toure who, whilst fending off Ricardo van Rhijn, controlled on his chest before spinning and flashing an acrobatic volley past Kenneth Vermeer.

Van Rhijn was then forced to clear from underneath his own bar, although Gareth Barry's challenge on him was subsequently deemed illegal in any case, while Vermeer had to be alert to stop a Zabaleta header after another enterprising dart into the box had been picked out by Javi Garcia.

But, despite those scares, the visitors were decent value for their lead at the interval with the controlled midfield promptings of de Jong, Eriksen, Lasse Schone and in particular Christian Poulsen ensuring they remained the more cohesive, measured unit.

With victory imperative, Mancini went on the offensive as he brought on Mario Balotelli for Garcia at half time and, after a noticeably lifting the tempo, his side had the chance to draw level on 50 minutes as the unmarked Matija Nastasic volleyed over after being picked out by a Barry free-kick from the left.

Sergio Aguero did find the net with a smart finish only to see his effort correctly ruled out for off-side, but Ajax and de Jong served a potent reminder of their continued threat as the midfielder fired in a vicious long-range strike and then a curling free-kick that Hart had to be alert to push away.

But City's urgency paid off on 74 minutes with a simple equaliser; Hart's long clearance was flicked on by Balotelli and Aguero showed pace to get ahead of Toby Alderweireld and then typical composure to direct an angled finish into the corner from the edge of the box.

The Argentine thought he had won the contest in the dying moments only to see another effort ruled out for offside, although this time the call against Aleksandar Kolarov looked dubious, and the game ended in controversy as Balotelli saw what appeared a convincing penalty shout ignored by Danish referee Peter Rasmussen who instead chose to blow the final whistle.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 25 February 2015
19:45
Arsenal 1-3 Monaco Report
Leverkusen 1-0 A Madrid Report
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Juventus 2-1 B Dortmund Report
Man City 1-2 Barcelona Report
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Basel 1-1 FC Porto Report
Schalke 0-2 R Madrid Report
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
PSG 1-1 Chelsea Report
Shak Donetsk 0-0 Bay Munich Report
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Ajax 4-0 Apoel Nicosia Report
Ath Bilbao 2-0 BATE Borisov Report

Footer 365

Ronny Deila refuses to think of title after Celtic beat Aberdeen to extend lead

Ronny Deila warned against complacency after Celtic moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Wes Brown red card against Manchester United appealed by Sunderland

Sunderland have announced they will appeal against the red card shown to Wes Brown at Manchester United on Saturday.

Glenn Murray hails Alan Pardew as spark of Crystal Palace turnaround

Glenn Murray has paid tribute to Alan Pardew for engineering his rebirth as a Crystal Palace player.

Mail Box

Are Tottenham Right To Redevelop?

It's a really good Friday afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Spurs' ground development, the Europa league (leave it alone) and one man running for a very good cause...

Rodgers Is More Of A Paisley Than A Rafa

Most Liverpool fans in the Mailbox are claiming to be pleased to see the back of the Europa League. Plus merging the Europa and Champions League, and winter WC...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company