Manchester City must beat Real Madrid to keep Champions League dream alive
Last Updated: 21/11/12 10:37am
Roberto Mancini: Manchester City have no margin for error
Manchester City enter the UEFA Champions League's last-chance saloon on Wednesday when they play host to Real Madrid.
City welcome the Spanish giants to the Etihad Stadium on Matchday Five knowing that anything less than victory will see them crash out of Europe's premier club competition at the group stage for a second year in succession.
Three points may only offer a stay of execution, with Real still firm favourites to join Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, but at least Roberto Mancini's men would take matters to the final round of fixtures.
Unfortunately for them, four games so far have brought no wins, just two points and nine goals conceded.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping to inflict yet more misery on the Blues when he returns to English soil with Real in midweek.
A point could be enough to see the reigning Spanish champions through to the knockout stage, with Ajax needing to take something from Group D table-toppers Borussia Dortmund in Amsterdam to keep their dreams alive.
Real edged out City in a 3-2 thriller at the Santiago Bernabeu on Matchday One, but have won just once on their last five visits to Manchester, while City have never lost to a Spanish side on home soil.
Striker Mario Balotelli is doubtful for Manchester City due to a back problem.
Left-back Gael Clichy is almost certainly out after suffering an ankle injury in the 5-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Midfielder James Milner (hamstring) could return but Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is unlikely to feature despite returning to training and right-back Micah Richards (knee) and centre-back Kolo Toure (ineligible) are out.
Real Madrid coach Mourinho has selected a squad of 20 players for the game, which will see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Manchester for the first time since leaving United in 2009.
Karim Benzema should start up front after impressing against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, with Gonzalo Higuain unavailable due to a hamstring injury.
Marcelo is sidelined with a broken foot, so Fabio Coentrao is in at left-back and Michael Essien, who is on loan from Chelsea, has not travelled after missing the win over Bilbao.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 1 Hart
- 3 Sagna
- 4 Kompany
- 26 Demichelis
- 22 Clichy
- 6 Fernando
- 25 Fernandinho
- 15 Navas
- 21 Silva
- 7 Milner
- 16 Aguero
Team taken from Manchester City vs Chelsea (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 31st January 2015
- 1 Casillas
- 15 Carvajal
- 2 Varane
- 4 Ramos
- 12 Marcelo
- 24 Illarramendi
- 8 Kroos
- 23 Isco
- 10 Rodriguez
- 9 Benzema
- 11 Bale
Team taken from Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad (Spanish Primera BBVA) on Saturday 31st January 2015
UEFA Champions League
Wed 21st Nov - Group C
Zenit2 - 2Malaga
Anderlecht1 - 3AC Milan
Wed 21st Nov - Group A
FC Porto3 - 0Din Zagreb
Dynamo Kiev0 - 2PSG
Wed 21st Nov - Group B
Arsenal2 - 0Montpellier
Schalke1 - 0Olympiakos
Wed 21st Nov - Group D
Ajax1 - 4B Dortmund
Man City1 - 1R Madrid
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
|2||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H
Man City v Real Madrid
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta is baffled by the team's disappointing displays in the Champions League.
Manchester City should - and will - keep faith with Roberto Mancini, Graeme Souness told Sky Sports.
Roberto Mancini is confident Manchester City's early exit from the UEFA Champions League will not cost him his job.
- Jose - Exit would've cost me
- Kompany doubt for Bridge clash
- Mourinho: Real victory was on
- Mancini: Fate sealed long ago
- Hart: Early exit disappointing
- City go out after Real draw
- Silva wants European patience
- Ronaldo focussed on CL win
- Mourinho: City are finished
- Tevez: We can still qualify
- Mancini: Stop Ronaldo or else
- Mancini calls for City show
- Milner: City can still qualify
- Ramos shock at City struggles
- Mancini calls for big effort
- Aguero targets Real triumph
- Kompany: City must improve
- Aguero: We'll do our best
- Mancini: I believe in my team