#Manchester City could only manage a 1-1 draw at the Etihad against the Italians Roma last night in their latest Champions League group match, putting their qualification into the knock out stages into doubt even at this early stage of the tournament. They went into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the group favourites Bayern Munich , their rearguard action in the Allianz Arena ultimately being undone by a late goal for the German champions. A win at home to re-establish their credentials and put points on the board was thought to be the minimum requirement, especially against the team expected to push them closest for the second automatic qualifying place.
However, they were thwarted thanks to a goal from a man who needs little introduction, Francesco Totti.
Totti is the personification of the "one team man", having started his senior career with Roma way back in 1992 and remaining there ever since. Roma have been thankful for the services of the former Italian international (he was a part of the Italian squad that lifted the World Cup in 2006) over the years and once again he ensured that they would not be defeated on this trip to Manchester. Now 38 years old and the club's all time leading goalscorer, he is truly in the twilight of a long and successful career that has seen him win five Italian Footballer of the Year awards. Yet he continues to produce moments that define matches and so it was again last night when his 23rd minute equaliser cancelled out the 4th minute penalty that Sergio Aguero had converted for City, following a foul by Maicon on the Argentinian. In truth, the Italians were well worth their goal, having already hit the bar through Maicon before Totti's effort and despite City having plenty of possession in the second half, it took a smart Joe Hart save to deny them a winner through Miralem Pjanic.
Totti took Ryan Giggs' record for oldest goal scorer in European club competitions in the process of scoring, and few would bet against him extending that record given the opportunity to do so in the later group matches.
In an indication of the troubles that England manager Roy Hodgson has in selecting a strong national squad, the current English champions only fielded one home player in Hart last night in their starting eleven. Indeed, Roma matched them on that front, with former Chelsea and England left back Ashley Cole starting for them.
Elsewhere in Group E, home side CSKA were beaten 1-0 by Bayern thanks to a 22nd minute penalty by Germany's World Cup talisman Thomas Muller. That puts Bayern top of the Group with maximum points from their two games, with Roma looking good in second with 4 points and City already struggling with a solitary point. CSKA look likely to finish bottom based on their performances (and more importantly their results) so far, with no points and a -5 goal difference, mainly thanks to the opening match humbling in Italy.
Chelsea were also in action in Group G, coming out winners thanks to a first half header from Nemanja Matic that looped over goalkeeper Patricio and into the Sporting Lisbon net.
Diego Costa and his much discussed hamstrings was risked again in Portugal and he almost scored after only two minutes of the match. It was one of a number of chances that the London club missed in the first half, but they had to endure more persistent pressure in the second as the home team got a foothold in the game. They held on though and manager Jose Mourinho will be happy with the win that puts them top of the group and in a strong position for the challenges that are to come. #Football