By DAN KARELL
Manchester City manager Manuel Pelligrini has endured some tough criticism over English Premier League results this season, but on Tuesday he delivered on a goal that the team’s ownership didn’t see accomplished either of the last two seasons.
With a 5-2 victory over CSKA Moscow at the Etihad Stadium, Man City clinched a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout round. Along with Pelligrini’s side, Bayern Munich, leaders of Group D with 12 points, qualified for the next round as well following a 1-0 win against Viktoria Plzen on the road.
Two early Sergio Aguero goals were supplemented by a hat-trick for Man City summer signing Alvaro Negredo. The Argentine forward’s first came inside three minutes to give the home side the lead, but his second was a thing of beauty. Aguero collected a pass in the box with his back to goal, spun, and dribbled past his defender before finishing inside the far post to go up 2-0 in the 20th minute.
The Spaniard Negredo finished Man City’s third goal of the evening before CSKA drew one back just before halftime. However, Negredo found the back of the net twice more in the second half to put the game away.
In Turin, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale scored for Los Blancos in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to leave Italy with three points. Juventus fought well and took a 1-0 lead just before halftime on a penalty kick goal by Arturo Vidal. A poor back pass by Juventus in the 52nd minute helped set Ronaldo up to tie the score. Eight minutes later, Ronaldo assisted to Bale, who finished low past sprawled goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
But the Italian club found an equalizer five minutes later via the head of summer signing Fernando Llorente to knot the score at 2-2, where it would stand. The result leaves Juventus with three points from four games and, surprisingly, in last place in Group B.
Also in action on Tuesday, Manchester United could only muster a 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad. A missed penalty kick from Robin Van Persie was among the low moments for David Moyes’ squad. In France, American Sacha Kljestan assisted on Anderlecht’s only goal of the game in a 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain, but was sent off late for a second yellow card.
Here’s a full rundown of Tuesday’s results:
Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
FC Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray
Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid
Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica
Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Anderlecht
Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich
Manchester City 5-2 CSKA Moscow
What did you think of these results? Which of these matches stood out to you? Impressed that Man City and Bayern have qualified for the knockout stages already? Disappointed in Man United’s performance?
Share your thoughts below.