If City are to avoid a third group stage exit from four Champions League appearances they’re going to have do it the hard way. After a disappointing night at The Etihad that left the Blues hopes hanging in the balance after just two games, here’s how the players rated…
Hart – 7
Made a good near post save from Gervinho and was twice out quickly to stop dangerous situations in the box. Slipped at a vital moment before Francesco Totti equalised, but it’d be harsh to hold such an unfortunate moment against him.
Zabaleta – 6
No shortage of effort but this was a night where the defence failed to flourish. Nearly assisted an unlikely winning goal in stoppage time but Silva could only put the chance wide.
Kompany – 6
Unbelievably bad positioning from the captain left Roma with approximately 16 acres of space to play in unattended to produce their equaliser. Never looked at his best.
Demichelis – 6
Like the rest of his back-four accomplancies, was undone several times by the sheer speed of the Roma counter-attacks. In hindsight, one wonders whether Pellegrini might have been better served using Eliaquim Mangala for his pace alone.
Clichy – 5
There have been signs this season that he is rediscovering his best form and re-establishing himself as first choice left back. Those signs disappeared for this game – how many times did he get done for pace again? A tad concerning for me, that one.
Navas – 5
The Spaniard only lasted 45 minutes and is another player that, looking back, might have been a better option from the bench. Plenty of toil and attempts to get to the byline but Roma did an excellent job of stopping him. City’s few bright spells came after he was replaced, which only compounded how little impact he had on proceedings.
Toure – 5
If insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then last night was Yaya’s descent into madness. How many times did he try the clipped ball over the top with no success? Frustrating. No need for him to be made a scapegoat here like he was in Munich, but he is still struggling to provide the impetus we know he’s capable of.
Fernandinho – 6
Very average, though not helped by what was surely a tactical misjudgment in leaving Roma with an extra man in midfield for far too long. Never able to do his best work.
Silva – 7.5
I don’t like half marks but I think this one is justifiable. Never stopped trying to create and at times carried the mantle alone. Not aided by alarming lack of movement or ideas from his teammates.
Agüero – 6
Scored a penalty that he won through good movement, but showed little from that point on. Roma were too good defensively and he never really looked like picking the lock for a second time.
Džeko – 7
Unlucky to be replaced early in the second half. His hold up play was looking good and I’d have fancied him to link up well with Jovetic. Showed plenty of nous in winning petty free-kicks, an area where City have been naïve in this competition for three years now.
Milner – 7
This should have been a fourth consecutive start for a man who has showed time and time again that he is a player for the big occasions. Gave City an improved threat, though nobody could raise their game around him.
Lampard – 7
Came on for Džeko in the 57th minute and wasn’t afraid to shoot from distance, which came close to reaping rewards on two occasions. At 36, on a short-term loan, he is already establishing himself as City’s best go-to player in any difficult situation.
Jovetic – 6
Made no real impact, though arguably should’ve replaced Agüero earlier than the 86th minute. Like Lampard, showed a willingness to try from long range, but with more threat to supporters in the second tier than the visitors goal.
written by Richard Burns