Manchester City vs. Ajax  2 - 2

Article

De Boer rues missed chance

7 November 2012 13:53

Ajax coach Frank de Boer says Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw against Manchester City left his players disappointed.

Siem de Jong netted twice in the opening 20 minutes to gift the Dutch side a 2-0 lead, but Yaya Toure pegged one back for City before the break, with Sergio Aguero eventually restoring parity after the interval.

De Boer said that given his side had pulled ahead so early in the match, they felt an opportunity had been missed to secure three vital points away from home.

"Before the match started, we would have taken a 2-2 draw here. But after the match I have the feeling that the players were actually disappointed with the result," De Boer told reporters.

"We could have delivered a hammer knockout blow to City. It is a good sign that the players were disappointed with this result. We could have taken a giant step tonight.

"That they scored their second goal out of nothing was very disappointing for us. But you know when you play here, it will get tough."

Ajax take on Borussia Dortmund in their next Champions League match, and De Boer has not given up on making it to the knockout stages.

"We aim to stay in the Champions League, and although Dortmund are very strong, we proved over there that we are capable of playing good football," he said.

Ajax sit third in Group D, trailing leaders Dortmund by four points with two games to go.

Article

Mancini escapes UEFA punishment

7 November 2012 12:34

Roberto Mancini will avoid punishment from UEFA following his outburst at referees after Manchester City's draw with Ajax on Tuesday.

The City manager was left fuming when his side had a penalty denied late on in their Champions League clash with the Dutch champions, after initially having a winner disallowed for offside in the dying stages of the game.

Replays indicated that the officials had ruled correctly, but Mancini still confronted Danish referee Peter Rasmussen and was adamant City had been hard done by.

However, football's governing body in Europe confirmed that the Italian will not be facing any disciplinary action.

"Nothing was reported neither by the delegate nor by the referee," a UEFA spokesperson told The Guardian.

"No disciplinary proceedings are opened."

Mario Balotelli has also escaped punishment for his involvement in the closing minutes of the game, after the striker had to be held back by captain Vincent Kompany.

The decision will come as a surprise to many, considering UEFA's decision to fine and hand a touch-line suspension to Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal manager's comments about refereeing in a Champions League match with Barcelona last season.

Article

Mancini furious with referee after City draw

7 November 2012 01:58

Roberto Mancini has slammed the match officials in charge of Manchester City's 2-2 draw at home to Ajax in the Champions League.

Referee Peter Rasmussen was thrown into the spotlight from the start, with Yaya Toure going down in the area under a challenge from ex-Liverpool man Christian Poulsen only for the protests to be waved away.

And, in the final stages of the match, Sergio Aguero had a goal disallowed despite Aleksandar Kolarov seemingly onside and Mario Balotelli fell to ground in the area after having his shirt tugged, but again no penalty was given and Mancini was left furious.

"The referee and linesmen had a bad night. It should have been a goal (Aguero's disallowed effort)," Mancini told Sky Sports.

"We were close to getting the miracle we needed. Unfortunately we took only one point and I think we are finished in the Champions League now.

"I think we played a good game. We did very, very well in the second half, creating a lot of chances and scoring three goals (including disallowed goal).

"But the referee and his linesmen were really poor."

The Italian marched on to the pitch after the final whistle and confronted Rasmussen, but when asked why the goal was not counted Mancini was non-plussed.

"I don't know (why it did not count). I said it was a goal and not offside," he said.

"I don't know how it is possible for one linesman to consider that wasn't a goal - incredible."

Despite the questionable decision against City, Mancini was under no illusions that his side simply should have done better in the match, highlighting the poor defending for Siem de Jong's double.

"We made two mistakes and can't afford to concede goals like this," rued the Italian. "We should have paid more attention in those situations in an important game like this.

"We have two more difficult games and we still need to try and win, nothing has changed there. We will try and get into the Europa League if that is possible."

Ajax coach Frank de Boer said his players were disappointed not to have taken all three points after leading 2-0 early in the contest.

"Of course it is a good sign that the players are in the dressing room after the game disappointed about the result because they had the feeling they could have made a big step towards the next phase in the Champions League and put City behind us, that was our motivation and feeling," he said.

Article

Cruyff sees hope for Ajax

6 November 2012 18:47

Dutch great Johan Cruyff feels former team Ajax's chances of going deep in the Champions League are helped by playing Manchester City early.

Having defeated the Premier League champions 3-1 earlier in the group stage, Eredivisie champions Ajax meet City at Etihad stadium for the reverse fixture on Tuesday.

Cruyff, 65, is optimistic the Amsterdam giants can repeat their heroics from a fortnight ago.

"It's simple, you play to win," Cruyff told De Telegraaf. "In the event of a draw, you still risk losing and it will be very difficult regardless.

"I think it is an advantage that Ajax are playing Manchester City now. (City) must take the initiative."

According to Cruyff, Ajax already have the advantage over their English rivals.

"There are many less chances (for Ajax) to make mistakes. Attacking teams are often set for trouble after November."

Ajax sit third in Group D, behind leaders Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, while City are last.

Article

Mancini: City fighting for survival

6 November 2012 15:05

Roberto Mancini says Manchester City's Champions League clash with Ajax is their 'last chance' to stay alive in the competition.

Mancini's City side suffered defeat to Frank de Boer's men in the corresponding fixture last month and, having lost to Real Madrid and drawn at home against Borussia Dortmund, the Premier League champions are on the verge of elimination.

Despite Joleon Lescott and James Milner joining David Silva, Jack Rodwell and Maicon on the injury list for the visit of Ajax, Mancini insists that the fit members in his squad should be relishing the challenge of facing the Dutch champions.

"We have this problem with some important players injured but when you have this problem, it is a time that all the players can put more (effort in) on the pitch," Mancini told reporters.

"This is the last chance for us."

The Italian also reiterated his belief that his side are not equipped for Champions League success, citing it is only the club's second year in the elite club competition.

"For me, (managing in Europe) is the same," Mancini added. "But if I said we are ready to win the Champions League, this is not true. We need to improve.

"Probably there are other teams better than us in this competition because they have played every year in the Champions League."

Article

Mancini: Unfamiliarity behind Euro flop

6 November 2012 10:29

Roberto Mancini says a lack of collective experience is to blame for Manchester City's poor performances in the Champions League.

City have lost two and drawn one of their first three matches in Group D of the competition, and look set to bow out at the group stage for the second year in succession.

On Tuesday they host Ajax at Etihad Stadium and must collect all three points to have any chance of catching leaders Borussia Dortmund and second-placed Real Madrid.

"Probably we need more experience as a club, as a team - not as players, because we have players who have played in the Champions League many times," Mancini said.

"We need this and also sometimes you should also be lucky because if you take every year the worst group - because the group is really difficult."

City midfielder Gareth Barry also highlighted the lack of familiarity between some players at club when compared with their opponents.

"As a group of players we've not been together year after year after year, whereas other clubs have," Barry said.

"This group of players has been together two years and maybe you can look into that a little bit but we're certainly not using that as the main excuse.

"As I've said, my reason for the Champions League (results) is we've not performed to the best of our abilities and we've been found out."

While all the focus has been on City's attempts to revive their campaign, Ajax coach Frank de Boer also had designs on progressing to the knockout stage.

After beating City on matchday three, Ajax are third in the group, one point behind Real and four back from Dortmund.

"We can also win, and then the coin is on our side," he said.

"And that we have to believe. I think we did it, we showed it last year when we played Manchester United here, and I think this group (of players) already prove already that they can," he added, referring to Ajax's 2-1 win away to City's neighbours in the Europa League last season.

"And I'm not worried that they really believe it."

Article

Mancini: Qualification will be tough

5 November 2012 03:39

Roberto Mancini has admitted it would take an 'incredible situation' for Manchester City to qualify from their Champions League group.

The Premier League champions currently sit bottom of their group, labelled by many as this season's infamous 'group of death', after losing to both Real Madrid and Ajax and scraping a draw against Borussia Dortmund.

And with chances of qualification for the latter stages now looking extremely slim, the 47-year-old manager has confessed that he doesn't believe his side have what to takes to be a competitive Champions League outfit yet.

"I don't think we're ready to win the Champions League," he told The Guardian.

"If we say we're ready to win it, we're not honest. In the Champions League it's clear that incredible situations can happen in February and March but we've been drawn in a tough group this year, like last year.

"We're a good team but we're not ready in the Champions League, like the other teams. Chelsea tried for 10 years to win the Champions League. They were probably the best team in Europe for 10 years and they won it [last May] after 10 years, probably when they didn't deserve to. They deserved to win it three or four years before."

Yet despite the seemingly impossible task faced by Mancini and his troops, the Italian still expects the players to go all out in order to collect nine points from the three remaining games.

"The players owe me three big performances," he added.

"We have less chance of qualifying for the next round but, when you're a top team, even when you're out, you should play 100 percent in every game.

"We have three games left but we are only focusing on Ajax. There's no mental problem [in the Champions League]. The players are the same and the referees are the same. We just need to improve. I will change nothing."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 6 +12 16
2 6 +7 13
3 6 +5 11
4 6 +4 10
5 6 +2 10

Eredivisie table

# Team MP D P
1 7 +12 15
2 7 +6 15
3 7 +5 15
4 7 +5 14
5 7 +6 13