Man City v Real Madrid


Mancini: European hopes on knife's edge

Mancini: European hopes on knife's edge

Manchester City entertain Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night as they aim to keep their UEFA Champions League dreams alive.


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The Citizens are currently sitting bottom of Group D with two points, and have yet to win a game in this season's tournament.

Madrid travel to Eastlands trailing group leaders Borussia Dortmund by one point, on seven points, leaving them on the brink of qualifying for the knockout phase.

City know that anything less than a win will result in a second successive elimination from Europe's premier club competition.

Roberto Mancini's side failed to emerge from a group containing Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal last campaign.

To progress, City will have to beat Madrid at home and then defeat Dortmund in their own back yard.

Coming into the match, the Premier League champions find themselves top of their domestic league.

They sealed a convincing home win over Aston Villa at the weekend to move above rivals Manchester United.

On the team news front, Mancini will be without Gael Clichy (ankle), allowing Alexander Kolarov to return to the side.

Pablo Zabaleta may also return to the starting XI after being left out against Villa.

Joleon Lescott, though, is unlikely to be included, with Matija Nastasic being favoured to partner Vincent Kompany in the heart of defence.

Mancini will also in all likelihood keep Mario Balotelli on the bench alongside super-sub Edin Dzeko, allowing Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero to continue upfront.

For Los Blancos, expect a fairly straightforward starting line-up from Jose Mourinho, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Iker Casillas all expected to start.

Karim Benzema is likely to retain his place after scoring a brace in Madrid's 5-1 rout over Athletic Bilbao on the weekend, with Angel Di Maria slotting in on the right.

Sergio Ramos will be back in his favoured central position to partner Pepe in the back-four.

Posted: 20/11/12 11:35

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