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Trip to Juve: some quick hits


A very enjoyable trip all in all, but very, very cold. As cold as it is here in the UK today (Saturday) and yesterday it was nothing compared to Turin Thursday/Friday. Even early afternoon was minus degrees, whilst by the time the game finished it was very cold indeed.

Got to see plenty of Turin, particularly a trip to the Basilica of Superga, the site of the Superga disaster and also a visit to the Turin Shroud museum.

It was a shame the stadium was so far from being full and I would like to see a game there against say Inter or Roma to see what the atmosphere would be like in front of a full house in Serie A, but it didn't have the feel of being a real football stadium - although worth pointing out it is only being used temporarily by Juventus (with Torino soon to be the only tenants).

As for the game itself, it was largely a non-event. City went with a shadow side, with Roberto Mancini adopting the 4-4-2 he has favoured in recent Europa League games, whilst Juve took the opportunity to field several of their young players, one of whom (Gianetti) put Juve ahead shortly before half-time.

It was probably harsh on City who had some opportunities and a couple of handball and offside decisions go against them. With Poznan leading at the half, it meant that City needed a point to ensure they topped the group and it was Jo who secured the point with a smart finish midway through the second-half.

Gazetta dello Sport gave Johnson the accolade of City's best player, closely followed by Milner and (surprisingly) Bridge. Johnson and Milner were probably the best two on the evening, with Shaun Wright-Phillips having flashes and Jerome Boateng looked assured in the centre.

In both games against Juventus in the competition this season, despite them lacking some penetration in the final third, they did look a very competent side and it begs the question of how they didn't win at least one of the games against Salzburg which would have kept them in contention going into the final round of games.

It's a mixed draw for the final 32 and (hopefully) last 16 stage. First up is Greek side Aris, largely unknown, but beat Atletico Madrid twice to progress through. City should progress through however to set up a tie against either Besiktas or Dynamo Kiev, possibly a far tougher prospect on paper.