Here we go again. Another season is likely to pass where Manchester City fail to get past the group stage of the Champions League. Though City could still progress the performances in this year’s tournament performances so far suggest that it is highly unlikely. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have said today “it’s the same old story” to people to try and avoid the subject of City’s repeated failure in the Champions League. Will they ever learn?
For many supporters, myself included, there is a sense of apathy towards the competition. The repeated let-downs go some way to explaining my indifference but it is not just that. I am a Manchester City fan, after all, and I am used to seeing my team lose. Maybe if City had something close to representing success in the competition I may change my opinion but based on what has been offered up so far I will firmly place my hopes on domestic success. The Champions League just doesn’t seem winnable at the moment.
With all the talk of UEFA corruption, FFP, attendances and biased referees that seems to follow City around it is easy to feel deflated about the competition. Cast that aside though and what we are left with a team that has vastly underachieved in the Champions League. Here is a purely football related potted history of Manchester City in Europe’s most prestigious knock-out competition.
14th September 2011 – City 1-1 Napoli
City make their Champions League debut by scraping a draw with Italian side Napoli. After dominating possession City fell behind before Aleks Kolarov scored a free-kick to rescue a point.
27th September 2011 – Bayern Munich 2-0 City
City were outplayed and Carlos Tevez refused to warm up to kick start his self-imposed exile on the biggest stage in Europe. Just when you think City have made it to the top of the European game they shoot themselves in the foot. Typical.
7th December 2011 – City 2-0 Bayern Munich
Although City won this game it was effectively a dead rubber. Any hopes of qualifying from the group were reliant on Napoli losing against bottom placed Villarreal who failed to register a single point in the tournament. It was never going to happen and, as a consequence, City went out of the Champions League with a rather unwanted record of being the team to get the most points (ten) without progressing.
18th September 2012 – Real Madrid 3-2 City
After taking the lead in the 85th minute victory was in City’s hands. Five minutes later Real Madrid went ahead thanks to a Christiano Ronaldo winner. A result which set the tone for another disappointing campaign.
6th November 2012 – City 2-2 Ajax
After going 2-0 down inside 20 minutes any slim hopes City had of qualifying from the group were all but over with still two games left to play. City fought back to claim a point but it was too little too late and City were all but eliminated. Roberto Mancini marched onto the pitch to confront the referee at the end the game after City wrongly had a goal disallowed at the death. As it was City failed to win a single game in the group and finished bottom.
2nd October 2013 – City 1-3 Bayern Munich
City were blown away by a far superior Bayern Munich side. Though City would go onto qualify from the group with ease, City’s unwillingness to tactically adjust to alleviate the pressure on the midfield set a trend which would has come back to haunt City this season.
12th March 2014 – Barcelona 2-1 City (Barcelona won 4-1 on aggregate)
Despite an admirable performance where City were a good match for Barcelona, City were knocked out the competition. Many felt the tie was lost after the first leg defeat in Manchester and the fact that City so poorly surrendered their progress in the FA Cup against Wigan just a few days earlier with this game clearly in mind didn’t sit well with a large number of supporters.
And what of this season? Former City player, Jerome Boateng, snatched a win for Munich with a last minute deflected shot, Roma overran the midfield as City just about claimed a point and yesterday CSKA somehow got a point from a game which should have been put to bed at half time. Excuse me if you don’t see me jumping up and down with excitement at the next Champions League game.
Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter