Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Match Reflection: Manchester City 4 - 2 Viktoria Plzeň

Pellegrini's progressors show Hart against a vivacious Viktoria Plzeň 

By Adam Bailey

Manchester City's impeccable home record almost suffered a frightening blow on Wednesday night as a vibrant Viktoria Plzeň side launched a full scale assault inside the Etihad Stadium.

A relaxed home crowd, buoyed by their side's progression into the last 16 of the Champions League, were treated to yet another goalscoring flurry on home territory. Seven changes were made to the outfit that savaged Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon and a shaky defence had their attackers to thank in a below par performance.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

City, captained by Aleksandar Kolarov, made a timid start to proceedings against a side that were yet to achieve a single point in Group D. Stanislav Tecl teased and tantalised a makeshift blue back four, but Joe Hart was on hand to produce a number of impressive saves to keep the visitors out.

On 33 minutes, just seconds after he had squandered a delightful opportunity to put his side 1-0 up, František Rajtoral handled inside the penalty area to present Sergio Agüero with the chance to score his 20th goal of the season. As expected, the Argentine stepped up confidently and struck a wicked penalty into the bottom corner. 

With nerves calmed, visions of yet another rout appetised the Etihad. However, with nothing to lose and a recent sublime away record to maintain, Pavel Vrba's men decided to put on a show of their own. Just ten minutes later, Tomáš Hořava unleashed a speculative strike from 25 yards to equalise. 

Coming into the tie, all eyes were on the returning Joe Hart and pens were poised to record any mistake that may await him. Nothing happened, and the England number one produced a fine distributional and shot stopping display to convince Manuel Pellegrini that he should remain between the sticks in weeks to come.

On half time, Agüero was withdrawn from play in preparation for Sunday's tie against Swansea and expectedly, the game took a tedious turn. Fortunately, Samir Nasri was still showcasing his sultry skill and on 65 minutes, the Frenchman slotted home from a Jesús Navas cross to give the blues the lead once again.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
The Czech's continued to crusade along the Etihad despite their most recent setback and replied immediately. Tecl capitalised on a jittery Joleon Lescott to finish past Hart and give the visitors yet another equaliser.

Defensive slackness is proving to be a persistent problem on the pitch and the return of Vincent Kompany can't come soon enough. At the other end of the field, however, you're unlikely to find a more potent strike force.

Álvaro Negredo's introduction provided the blues with a fearsome threat and the Spaniard continued his fine goalscoring record with a tap in to score City's third of the night. Navas' testing cross wasn't dealt with and the Beast was able to score possibly the easiest goal of his City career.

The persevering Pilsener's finally allowed their heads to drop and Edin Džeko sealed the win with a powerful header a minute before the final whistle. 

A customary home win for Pellegrini's men gives the Blues a chance to top the group with a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena. However, given our away form and our fragility at the back, I think we're all happy to take second.


                         City                                                                                          Plzeň
                          54%                                    Possession                                     46%
                         18 (7)                              Shots (on target)                                 16 (6)
                           3                                          Corners                                         11
                          12                                           Fouls                                           2

What did Pellegrini say?

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

1 comment:

  1. A sloppy display at times, the probable cause being the number of changes (which I've not got an issue with), and the fact that second is probably the best we can manage following Bayern's win in Moscow.
    The prize money and points help our European ranking, which helps.