MOSCOW (AFP) – Manchester City face a massive task to qualify from Champions League Group E after letting slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
The Premier League champions desperately needed a win in Moscow after an opening defeat to Bayern Munich and a draw with AS Roma, and they were coasting to victory with first-half goals from Sergio Aguero and James Milner.
But CSKA got one back after the break via substitute Seydou Doumbia, with Bebras Natcho equalising with a spot-kick with four minutes remaining. “Of course we’re very disappointed,” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said.
“We were leading 2-0 but allowed CSKA to come back into the game after the break and to pull the scores level.
“We should have kept ourselves motivated until the end of the game. We were really good in the first half but the game lasts for 95 minutes.”
The Chilean put a brave face on the stalemate, suggesting his side could still qualify. “We’ve lost two very important points but we have nine points more to play for and I believe we still have enough chances to reach the knockout stage.”
The game was played out in sub-zero temperatures in an eerily empty Arena Khimki with CSKA serving a stadium ban as punishment for various offences including racist chanting. Frank Lampard was ruled out for City after injuring his thigh in the win against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, one of five changes made by manager Manuel Pellegrini.