Five reasons Man City lost to Juventus
MAN CITY 1
(Giorgio Chiellini 57-og)
(Mario Mandzukic 70, Alvaro Morata 81)
1. Pogba outshines Toure Sparks were expected when two of the world's best midfielders collided.
It turned out to be a no-contest, as Juventus' Paul Pogba showed why he's touted as a potential successor to City's Yaya Toure.
The £60m-rated ($129.8m) Frenchman's all-action display demonstrated just why City dangled a carrot in Juventus' direction during the summer, as well as why the Serie A club refused to bite.
Elegant and powerful at the same time, he looked eerily like a Toure in his prime.
That's not to say that the Ivorian is past his best.
It's just puzzling why he doesn't perform as well on the Champions League stage as he does in the English Premiership.
Pogba's highlight of the game came in the 70th minute, when he floated in a deep, laser-guided cross for Mario Mandzukic to net the visitors' equaliser.
MIDFIELD MONSTER: Paul Pogba (in black, getting the better of Yaya Toure) played more passes than any other Juventus player (50) and made more tackles (71) than anyone else. He also provided the assist for the Italian side’s equaliser.
2. The Gianluigi Buffon show
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed Buffon as "the best goalkeeper in the history of football".
After a performance like this, it's understandable that managers get carried away, but Allegri had good reason to.
Buffon was called into action soon after kick-off when Raheem Sterling found himself free near the six-yard box, but the 37-year-old saved brilliantly with his leg.
Then came the double-save close to the hour-mark.
Again, it was Sterling with an effort from an almost-similar position, but again Buffon blocked the goal attempt, and then reacted superbly to stop David Silva's follow-up shot.
Sure, his teammates Alvaro Morata and Mario Mandzukic might have scored two beautiful goals, but the veteran goalkeeper provided the foundation for Juventus' win.
3. Bony is no Aguero
With hotshot Sergio Aguero missing from the starting line-up because of injury, City were counting on £28m Wilfried Bony to lead the line and, more importantly, rise to the occasion.
After this performance, City manager Manuel Pellegrini may need someone to ask him again what convinced him to fork out the money.
Bony's best chance to score his first goal of the season came in the 32nd minute, when he beat his marker and found himself with time and space at the edge of the penalty box.
He had the options of either going for power or placement. In the end, he chose neither, instead connecting with the ball with the outside of his boot to wildly send the ball into the sky.
The pressure is now on the Ivorian to prove to Pellegrini that he deserves another chance.
4. Raheem not so Sterling
Pellegrini refused to blame Sterling for the loss, despite the former Liverpool player missing two gilt-edged chances.
"I don't think this result is only Raheem," he said, defending the 20-year-old.
Then again, he should already know what he was getting when he paid £44m for the attacker, because finishing is not exactly his strong suit.
Yet, the fact that those were costly misses at crucial junctures would not be lost on the Chilean.
The first chance in the second minute could have killed Juventus' spirit early on, while the second, in the 59th minute, would have made it 2-0 in City's favour.
5. Pellegrini must deliver or else...
Again, the Citizens were found wanting on the biggest stage.
Their last four Champions League campaigns have resulted in two group-stage departures and two first knockout-round exits.
Yesterday morning's performance was by no means an appalling display by the hosts, and Pellegrini was probably right when he said that his team did not deserve to lose.
But it should not come as a consolation to City's fans, because it also suggests an inability, despite the quality they have, to cope with Europe's powerhouses.
City's Abu Dhabi owners are surely expecting the Citizens to challenge for the trophy this season and they will demand to see significant progress.
Pellegrini already has two full European seasons under his belt.
Considering the millions they have spent, another disappointing campaign in the Champions League may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Strikers must shape up
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his team would have to improve the efficiency of their finishing, after a 2-1 home defeat by Juventus in their Champions League opener yesterday morning (Singapore time).
City created more clear-cut chances than Juventus and took a 57th-minute lead through Giorgio Chiellini's own-goal, only for clinical late strikes by Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata to earn the visitors victory.
Raheem Sterling was twice thwarted by Gianluigi Buffon, while Wilfried Bony, deputising for the injured Sergio Aguero, struggled to make an impact. While Pellegrini was reluctant to single out individuals, he admitted that squandered chances had cost his team.
"I expect that when we have chances, we must score," said Pellegrini, whose side went into the Group D game after five straight wins in the Premier League.
"Because, in Champions League games, the differences are very slight between the teams, especially against such a strong team as Juventus.
"Maybe Juventus didn't create so many (chances), but they finished well."
Buffon first denied Sterling in the second minute and then produced a double-save from Sterling and David Silva shortly after Chiellini's own-goal, which was to provide a platform for Juventus' late comeback.
But Pellegrini refused to point the finger at Sterling, who was making his first Champions League appearance since his £44 million ($95m) move from Liverpool.
"I don't think this result is only Raheem," said the City manager.
City have failed to go beyond the Champions League last 16 in the previous four seasons and their home form has been an integral factor, with their last 15 home games in the competition yielding just five wins.
However, having seen his side qualify from the group stage despite failing to win their first home games in each of the last two seasons, Pellegrini said there was no cause for alarm.
"I don't think we need to learn from other years," said the Chilean, whose team lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich in their first group game in 2013 and drew 1-1 with Roma last season.
"In the last two seasons, we lost the first home game and, in both seasons, we qualified for the next stage. You never want to lose at home, but the group stage is just starting."
Morata struck Juve's 81st-minute winner, a fine effort from the edge of the box, after Vincent Kompany had gone off and Pellegrini later revealed that his captain had injured his calf.
In more positive news, Aguero made a late appearance as a substitute, despite having been ruled out of the game by Pellegrini due to a knee injury, and the manager is hopeful he will be fit to face West Ham United on Saturday.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the role that Buffon, 37, had played in his side's victory.
"How long can he play for? I don't know. As long as possible, I hope. Certainly as long as I'm manager here," he said.
"I'm not sure I can find the right adjective to describe him. Extraordinary, maybe.
"He's perhaps the best goalkeeper ever, in the history of football. He never stops astounding us."
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