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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Totti to the rescue as Roma deny City

Roma's Francesco Totti (38) became the oldest player to score in the Champions League when he grabbed the equaliser against Manchester City last night - the previous oldest scorer in the competition was Ryan Giggs. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
Roma's Francesco Totti (38) became the oldest player to score in the Champions League when he grabbed the equaliser against Manchester City last night - the previous oldest scorer in the competition was Ryan Giggs. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Roma's Francesco Totti became the oldest goalscorer in Champions League history as Manchester City escaped with a draw from their Group E clash.

Totti, 38, defied his age with a sublime finish to cancel out Sergio Aguero's early penalty for City at the Etihad Stadium.

It was little more than the in-form Serie A side deserved for a high-quality display of attacking football. Again City goalkeeper Joe Hart, returning to the side after sitting out the club's two previous matches, was kept busy.

Former City defender Maicon, who conceded the third-minute penalty, hit the bar and Miralem Pjanic spurned three good chances.

City had some good moments, with David Silva and Frank Lampard threatening in the second half, but again their European progress looks like being far from straightforward.

The result left them third in the group and already trailing leaders Bayern Munich by five points.

City did look sharp in a high-energy start and Maicon, returning to the ground where he played out an undistinguished 2012-13 season, looked sluggish as he pulled Aguero back in the area.

Referee Bjorn Kuipers was slow to blow his whistle as he waited for a signal from one of his assistants, and Maicon complained vigorously when he did, but the decision was correct.

Aguero made no mistake from the spot but City were unable to build on their early advantage .

The Italians were first to most loose balls and slick in possession, hitting City with a series of attacks. Maicon almost made immediate amends as he latched onto a lofted Totti pass and smashed a fierce shot against the woodwork.

Gervinho also showed pace that Arsenal supporters saw all too infrequently for their liking when he burst through and was met by a brave Hart.

City felt they were denied another penalty when Aguero collided with Kostas Manolas and they were caught napping as Totti struck his sublime equaliser after 23 minutes.

The veteran was afforded huge space as he latched onto a Nainggolan pass and he took full advantage as he closed in on Hart and then flicked a deft shot over the goalkeeper.

The landmark goal meant Totti, who celebrated his latest birthday last weekend, had eclipsed Ryan Giggs as the oldest goalscorer since the European Cup was rebranded as the Champions League. It was also his first strike in England.

It seemed City were getting outplayed at their own game but Edin Dzeko had a chance when he shot weakly at goal.

City had another penalty appeal turned down when Jesus Navas' low cross struck the hand of the sliding Manolas and Vincent Kompany's follow-up shot flew over.

Roma maintained their pace after the break, with Totti driving across goal and Pjanic shooting at Hart before curling another effort wide.

City sent on Lampard for Dzeko just before the hour and City did finish strongly but Silva flicked a good chance wide - and was offside anyway - and substitute Stevan Jovetic twice drove over.

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