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Saturday 10 December 2016

Same old story for Man City in Europe

Juventus' Paul Pogba (right) and Manchester City's Bacary Sagna during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Juventus' Paul Pogba (right) and Manchester City's Bacary Sagna during the UEFA Champions League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Manchester City suffered familiar European wobbles as they surrendered a lead to lose their Champions League Group D opener 2-1 to Juventus.

City looked in control at the Etihad Stadium after taking a controversial 57th-minute lead when Giorgio Chiellini turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Vincent Kompany.

But Manuel Pellegrini's men paid the price for failing to convert a series of other chances as Juve hit back with a Mario Mandzukic (pictured)finish and a stunner from Alvaro Morata. It was yet another example of City failing to deliver on the biggest stage.

Without star striker Sergio Aguero - who made a surprising late appearance off the bench having initially been ruled out with a knee injury - City lacked a cutting edge.

Raheem Sterling spurned an early chance. The former Liverpool man opened his body and tried to place his shot inside the far post but veteran Gianluigi Buffon saved with his feet. It was some time before City threatened again as Juventus gained a grip with £70million-rated Paul Pogbastrong in possession and on-loan Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado looking dangerous.

The second half began slowly but changed completely after City grabbed the lead. Kompany celebrated as if he had claimed his third goal of the season as he rose to meet a David Silva corner but the ball went in off Chiellini. Chiellini felt he had been impeded by Kompany and protested to the referee, but to no avail.

The goal energised City but it was Juve who responded. The Italians broke through when Pogba swung in a cross for Mandzukic and the Croatian timed his run to perfection to guide the ball in via the far post.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini surprisngly opted to take off the influential Kompany at this point and hand a debut to Nicolas Otamendi, who was caught out as Morata fired Juve ahead nine minutes from time, with a superb finish.

Morata broke clear on the left and curled an unstoppable shot round Hart and inside the far post.

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