City’s European dreams are left in tatters after a 3-1 defeat at the Amsterdam Arena. Lying bottom of Group D with just 1 point off 3 games, it’s hard to see how City will get through to the knock-out stages. City didn’t get through the groups last season and a similar fate awaits them this season. In order to qualify, City would need at least 7 points off their last 3 games which include: Madrid at home and Dortmund away. After a poor show against the Dutch Champions, City have a huge task to even get through the groups.
Going into the game, many thought City would win against bottom of the group Ajax. Although being European Champions four times previously, Ajax have dwindled in Europe in recent years. With 2 defeats off their 2 games, Ajax continued their poor form. City had also struggled in their campaign, with just 1 point off their first 2. However, many thought City’s quality would outshine Ajax over the 90 minutes.
The game was very open in the first twenty minutes, with both teams seeing lots of the ball. The only real chance fell to Ajax’s Christian Eriksen, who fired wide from the edge of the box. The game continued in a similar fashion, until a brilliant pass from Micah Richards found Milner who put Nasri through 10 yards out. Samir Nasri calmly finished past Vermeer to put City in front. 1-0.
The game continued in a similar pattern, with both teams struggling to create something with their possession. It felt like both teams were willing to go in at half time with the score 1-0. Until Van Rhijn’s low cross found De Jong on the edge of the box, who put it past a hapless Joe Hart. 1-1 at the break.
The teams emerged for the second half and both tried to take the lead. City were controlling the game, but not creating any clear cut chances. Due to this, you always felt that Ajax could nick a goal on the break or from a set piece. Surprise, surprise. No-one picked up Moisander from an Ajax corner, giving him a free header from 6 yards out. Hart had no chance and City had a mountain to climb.
After a few minutes of City failing to break Ajax down, Mancini subbed Lescott off for Kolorov and changed to 3 at the back. This tactic had had varying levels of effect in league. It was an odd move, but City had to change as they were sinking without a trace. Disaster struck when City’s back 3 didn’t close down Christian Eriksen on the edge of the area, who’s deflected shot wrong-footed Joe Hart. 3-1.
At 3-1 with 20 minutes left, it was almost impossible for City. They had struggled to break down a disciplined Ajax eleven all game, and they had little luck in the latter stages. Both teams had decent chances, but the keepers came out on top. Dzeko fired straight at Vermeer in the 71st minute, and rounded him later in the 73rd but couldn’t roll the ball into the net. Despite bringing Mario Balotelli on for Milner, to allow City more attacking options, they just couldn’t break the Ajax defence. 3-1 it ended and it was probably a fair result given City’s poor performance away from home.
Hart - Couldn’t do much with goals. 7
Richards – Looked good going forward, not so steady at the back. 7
Kompany (C) – Didn’t command the back defence. 6
Lescott (Subbed Off 63rd min) – Looked fairly average. 6
Clichy – Played out of position, poor performance. 5
Milner – Assist, passed well all night. Subbed off 77th for Balotelli to allow City to throw everything at it. 7
Barry – Solid. 6
Nasri – Scored the goal. City’s best player. 8
Y. Toure – Little impact in first half. Booked late on in frustration. Looked out of sorts. 6
Aguero – Little impact, poor. 5
Dzeko – Didn’t finish his chances. 6
Kolorov (Subbed On 63rd min) – Booked. Didn’t provide much when he came on. 6
Balotelli (Subbed on 77th min for Milner) – Not given much time. 6
Vermeer – Couldn’t do much with goal, brilliant performance other than that. 8
Van Rhijn – Assisted goal with cross to De Jong. Fantastic energy to go forward and good defensively. 8
Alderweireld – Solid defensively. 7
Moisander – Scores from the corner, good at the back. 8
Blind – Rock at the back. 7
Schöne- Subbed off 89th min. 7
Poulsen – Dominated the game with Eriksen.7
Eriksen – Created most of Ajax’s play. Class act. Delfected shot GOAL. 9
Sana – Looking good second half. Sana subbed off 74th for Ajax to play more defensive. 7
De Jong – Goal. 8
Babel – Creative spark. Looked to press against City. 7
Enoh (Subbed on 74th min for Sana) – Didn’t do much. 6