Real Madrid vs. Manchester City  3 - 2


Dzeko, Toure upset by late goals

19 September 2012 05:45

Edin Dzeko said Manchester City lack experience after their 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid despite leading with five minutes to go.

Roberto Mancini's men took the lead in the second half as the marauding Yaya Toure fed Dzeko through on goal, with the Bosnian sliding the ball past Iker Casillas, but Marcelo soon equalised with a deflected effort.

Aleksandar Kolarov restored City's advantage in the 85th minute but two even later goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo saw the hosts claim the three points, a fact that bitterly disappointed Dzeko.

The striker told Sky Sports: "We led 1-0 and then 2-1, then we gave away these two goals at the end.

"This shouldn't have happened because if you want to win big trophies you shouldn't lose this game. I hope we can get stronger because it was almost like we had not enough experience.

"We were 2-1 and in three or four minutes we gave away two goals. It was too easy. Too easy."

Meanwhile, Yaya Toure was equally puzzled.

The former Barcelona man told reporters: "It was a pity, because we had the victory very close and we lost it with two goals in the last two minutes. Let's see what we can do next game, which will be very important for us."

Toure went on to praise City's opponents on the night, hailing their determination as well as the home support and Jose Mourinho, who he labelled as 'great'.

He added: "Real Madrid is always Real Madrid. They really wanted to win, with the support of their fans. They have a great team, with a great coach."


Zabaleta wary of Real revival

18 September 2012 15:24

Pablo Zabaleta has warned his Manchester City team-mates not to be fooled by Real Madrid's disappointing start to the season.

Real have won one of their opening four La Liga fixtures and suffered defeats to Getafe and Sevilla.

But City full-back Zabaleta is wary of a backlash from the Spanish giants when they host City in their opening Champions League group match on Tuesday.

"I played a number of years in the Primera Division and I've learned never to trust Real Madrid," the former Espanyol man said.

"They may seem in bad shape now, but they always have an answer to everything, even in difficult moments. And if they seem to be struggling, it is even more complicated for opponents.

"I do not believe that they are physically and mentally suffering. They are going through a delicate spell, but as I said before, that only makes them even more dangerous."


Khedira eyes ´perfect opportunity´ against City

18 September 2012 10:06

Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira is eager for his side to return to winning ways with a victory over Manchester City.

The La Liga holders have won only one of their opening four league games, and are already lagging behind leaders Barcelona by eight points.

Khedira is not too worried just yet, though, and is hopeful that Madrid will find their rhythm once more against the English Premier League champions in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"It's only normal that you lack a bit of confidence after a disappointing start to the season," Khedira told reporters.

"Nevertheless, Tuesday's game against Manchester City is the perfect opportunity to get back on track."

Jose Mourinho heavily criticised his team in the aftermath of their 1-0 defeat to Sevilla and the midfielder feels the Madrid coach was within his rights to do so, even though he disagrees with the Portuguese's comment that they are not yet a team.

"I think we're a team," Khedira said. "The coach has the responsibility, and we have the responsibility to play well. We have to play better to give the best of ourselves.

"The coach is right and we played a very poor game. He has every right to say what he wants before public opinion."

As for Mourinho, the Real coach defended his decision to question the players' mental strength, claiming his issued the challenge prior their 1-0 loss at the hands of Sevilla, not after.

"I talked to the players before we lose a game, not after," he said.

"After the games, if it is a good result or bad one, I do not like any feedback.

"I don't like to be with them in the dressing room, I think the players are not ready to listen after a match - they are not ready to listen or to speak.

"The words that I said to them were before the loss, for this reason it cannot be considered a criticism, because for me it is a conviction, a conviction that I reaffirm."


Sinclair eager to grace European stage

18 September 2012 08:42

Manchester City's Scott Sinclair says the lure of Champions League football was one of the main reasons behind his switch from Swansea.

Sinclair made his debut for City in the club's 1-1 draw at Stoke City, but does not know if he will hang on to his place for the team's first Champions League group-stage match away at Spanish champions Real Madrid on Tuesday.

Sinclair told Sky Sports: "It's a great draw. I watched the draw and everyone is looking forward to going out to the Bernabeu.

"This is why I came here - to play with the best and be in a world-class team.

"I don't know if I'll play - I've just made my debut and all I can do now is concentrate on the next game, and on training every day, and give 100 percent.

"I am just looking forward to playing any games, to be honest, whether it's my City debut in the Premier League or a Champions League game. All I can do is try to make an impact."


Mourinho: City on path to European glory

17 September 2012 20:49

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has predicted Manchester City will win the Champions League in the near future.

The two-time European Cup winner will guide his side against the Premier League champions in their opening Champions League match on Tuesday.

The Portuguese has likened City's investment-fuelled progress to that of his former club Chelsea's after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovic took control of the west London outfit.

Mourinho told reporters: "I don't think it is very different to Chelsea.

"Since Roman bought the club, (Claudio) Ranieri was the first coach, then I came and we won the first league, some cups and some more titles. Carlo (Ancelotti) then came and they continued to win and finally they won the Champions League.

"With City it started off with Mark Hughes, they started spending money and buying good players.

"Then Roberto (Mancini) came and he has done a very good job. He has created a great squad, the first cup then the first title arrived.

"I don't know if it is this season or next season with Roberto, or with another person in the future, but normally in the direction the club is going, sooner or later they will win the big cup."

Mourinho, who led Real Madrid to the La Liga title last season, has endured a sticky start to the new domestic campaign but refutes suggestions he is set to make wholesale changes to the starting line-up.

"The line-up will not be very different, nor will I try to show any player that they are not in the best condition," he said. "It will be the best that I consider to play against opposition full of players of the highest level.

"I don't believe I have created doubts. The principal person responsible is me. When my teams win, we win together, and when we lose, I am the one responsible.

"Before losing to Sevilla I said to the players what I then said in the press conference. For this reason it is not a criticism but a conviction. I said it to them before the game.

"Football is about today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Yesterday is history. I haven't been able to keep my players motivated and concentrated at the top level and that is my fault."


Aguero a chance for Real clash

17 September 2012 17:35

Sergio Aguero will travel to Spain for Manchester City’s Champions League meeting with Real Madrid, Roberto Mancini has confirmed.

The Argentine has been sidelined with a knee injury since the Premier League champions' opening-day victory over Southampton, and was not risked for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Despite concerns still remaining over the forward's fitness, City manager Mancini is set to gamble on the 24-year-old making a full recovery in time for Tuesday's clash at the Bernabeu.

"I think he can have a chance," Mancini said. "Sergio will travel with us.

"He worked with the team in the last three days before the Stoke game. We didn't want to take any risks with him - but maybe he can be ready for Madrid.

"Will he start? I don't know."

Another player who has overcome a troubled start to the campaign is Gareth Barry, who returned to first-team action as a substitute at the Britannia Stadium.

Barry has struggled to recover from surgery following a lower abdomen tear, and Mancini has welcomed the England midfielder's return.

"I'm happy for Gareth after three months to play again," Mancini said. "It's important for us because he's an important player and he had 30 minutes and did well."


Toure not seeking tips for Real test

17 September 2012 15:11

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says he will not seek advice from former Barcelona team-mates on how to beat Real Madrid.

City and Real meet at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Jose Mourinho's Real side having endured a difficult start to their La Liga campaign.

Real are already eight points behind Barcelona in the race for the title but the Ivorian has maintained that he will not contact his old club to seek guidance on how to win.

"I maintain contact with some ex-companions at Barca but I do not need their advice over Real," Toure told reporters.

"The City staff have prepared for this match in great detail and that is enough information for us. Our last campaign was a disaster and we want to change all that.

"To win in the Bernabeu is a unique experience, enough to put you on the front pages. We shall put in our maximum to achieve that. So we shall be concentrating hard from the very first second.

"For me, the key to the result means winning the midfield battles with Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira. This is the key for the match."

City have begun the season in encouraging form and are yet to be beaten in the Premier League.


UEFA Champions League Group D preview: Real, City the star attraction

17 September 2012 13:42

Real Madrid host Manchester City as Group D of the UEFA Champions League kicks off in stunning style on Tuesday.

The champions of Spain and England meet at the Santiago Bernabeu in the most-anticipated match of the group stages, with City desperate to improve on last season's showing in the competition.

Roberto Mancini's men failed to make it out of a difficult group – which contained Napoli, Villarreal and eventual finalists Bayern Munich – despite winning 10 points from their six matches last term.

And progression will be even tougher this year for the Etihad Stadium outfit, with the group also including Borussia Dortmund (champions of Germany) and Ajax Amsterdam (champions of Holland).

It has every right to be called the 'Group of Death' and not one match will be easy for any side, something City midfielder James Milner is well aware of.

"To get the group of champions is obviously a bit unlucky," Milner said.

"But you play in the Champions League to play against these top teams. And we know we can beat anyone on our day. It will be a very tough group but it's down to us to play well."

The former Leeds United and Aston Villa man said his side were 'unlucky' last season but they had learnt from their experience.

The true test of that will come in Madrid on Tuesday, with Jose Mourinho's men sure to come out breathing fire after a lacklustre start to La Liga so far.

Whereas City are unbeaten and sitting fourth in the English Premier League, Real Madrid have won just once and sit 14th domestically, with reports continuing to circle about the future of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo's admission that he was 'sad' for professional reasons in the wake of Real's 3-0 La Liga win over Granada has filled plenty of column inches and Mourinho needs to make his main man happy if Real are to stay in touch with table-toppers Barcelona, who are already eight points clear.

The other match sees Ajax travel to the Westfalenstadion to face Borussia Dortmund.

In front of an always raucous home crowd, Juergen Klopp's side will be favoured to win and they have performed well in the Bundesliga this season, winning two of their three matches including a 3-0 success over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

The acquisition of attacker Marco Reus from Borussia Moenchengladbach has proved a wise one, with the 23-year-old proving a handy replacement for Shinji Kagawa, who joined Manchester United in the off-season.

Ajax will be no easybeats though, with Frank de Boer's men also unbeaten in the league this campaign.

The Dutch giants have become accustomed to losing their best players in recent years and despite the off-season departures of defenders Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Gregory van der Wiel (Paris Saint-Germain) and utility Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United) – for a combined total of approximately 20 million pounds – have coped well.

Midfielders Thulani Serero, Tobias Sana and Siem de Jong have all scored three times in the Eredivisie this season as Ajax sit third on the table and they are sure to present the Germans with a challenge.


Mancini eager to emulate Real

16 September 2012 15:16

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes his club can be considered a European powerhouse like Real Madrid in a decade.

City travel to the Santiago Bernabeu for their opening game in this year's Champions League group stage, with the Italian hopeful that his team can put on a good display in the Spanish capital after suffering a disappointing exit in the same round last season.

Real boss Jose Mourinho — who once replaced Mancini at Inter — insisted ahead of the game that the Premier League champions' money could not buy the history that his club boast.

Mancini reacted by telling reporters: "It's clear we don't have the history like Real Madrid but Manchester City have won some trophies.

"We want to win now. In the next 10 years we'll be a top team like Real."

The English title-holders have been linked with a swoop for Real's Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has claimed to be 'sad' at the Bernabeu and Mancini expects it to be tough facing the forward on Tuesday.

"If they leave Cristiano at home it’s better," the City boss continued.

"Players like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are difficult to mark, these are players that score every game.

"It's difficult because at this moment Ronaldo and Messi are the best players in the world."


Kolarov eager for Ronaldo test

13 September 2012 14:03

Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov is relishing the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid in the Champions League.

The Serbia international will come face-to-face with the star winger if Roberto Mancini selects him as part of his defence when the champions of England and Spain face each other on Tuesday.

The two sides will meet at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the first round of fixtures in a group that also contains Dutch and German champions Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.

Kolarov believes Ronaldo's affiliation with Manchester United will only fuel his desire to beat one of their fiercest rivals in Madrid.

"He (Ronaldo)'s a special player - with Messi he is the best player in the world," Kolarov told the Daily Star.

"So to play against someone like that will be a big test. He played for Man United too so he will want to score against us.

"But I'll be confident, because City can go to Madrid with confidence. It should be a great night for the club."

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
2 19 +20 42
3 19 +21 40
4 18 +15 32
5 19 +5 31
6 19 -5 29

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 23 +50 62
2 23 +32 50
3 23 +26 47
4 23 +25 47
5 23 +25 44