Date:Thursday September 30 2010
There was once a time when taking points off Juventus was seen as a major triumph, but as The Old Lady`s Aura slowly wilts away, the point that Adam Johnson salvaged for City looks far from receiving the great recognition it once would have.
When City midfielder Yaya Toure this week stated; "Juventus should still be seen as favourites for the Europa League", it was a mere reminder that Juventus still have the respect if not trepidation of their rivals. The Italian Giants were once seen as The Great Club, in club football there was no team more clinical or recognisable than the great Juve. Dino Zoff, Gentile, Tardelli and Del Piero were all light-years ahead of the rest, their touch and vision, they epitomised the tough, hard working Italians. In 2006 as the news broke of corruption in the Italian game, this nurtured beast slowly lost the greatness it once possessed.
Indeed, Juventus still pose a greater threat than any other European team City are likely to face this season and in reality are a far greater test than most teams competing in the Champions League.
The encounter was more of an Italian affair than European, English teams have constantly succeeded in the Continental competitions with surprisingly quick tempo and flair other nations just can`t simply match. For Mancini, his side were more reserved. A midfield trio consisting of Vieira, Toure and Barry was never going to blow away the opposition, they sat congested, trying to control.
It took almost 45 minutes for City to finally rise to the occasion and by this time they were already chasing the game when an unbelievable Iaquinta strike surged past the despairing dive of England keeper Joe Hart. Hart had previously been troubled when a swerving Krasic set piece looked to dip in front of him, the keeper on that occasion managed to flap the ball to safety, but when Iaquinta took aim from 35 yards the ball skidded across the turf, cannoning into the net.
It`s these European nights, the giant-killing nights when you need your key player and his undoubted ability to take centre stage. After a goal against Chelsea, Tevez was shifted across the front line to operate in a more left sided role, his dangerous guile was still present. Skipping challenges and marauding back to prevent a Juventus attack added to another impressive display and as he clipped his cross in, Tevez was unfortunate not to assist Barry, the midfielder`s header clipped the post.
With City continuing to press, the resilience of the Italians defence was tested. Known to be resolute and sturdy and Italian defence is difficult to penetrate. Still, the barrier had to be broken at one point and after an acute through ball from Yaya Toure found Johnson, the England midfielder rounded the Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Manninger. The home crowd were still desperate for urgency but on a night where City flattered to deceive the point looked a positive outcome.
Both sides continued to press for that crucial winner, but failed to produce anything spectacular enough. With the match petering out it was the legend, the great Del Piero who came so close to clinching the encounter, when his looping free kick smashed against the cross bar. As it was both sides managed to hang on for the point, a fair reflection on the proceedings.
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Date:Thursday September 30 2010
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|4. West Ham||8||4||1||3||+4||13|
|6. Man Utd||8||3||3||2||+3||12|
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