A frustrating night for Manchester City ended with a 2-2 draw to CSKA in front of a (mostly) empty stadium in Moscow.
Pellegrini opted for a 4-4-2 formation, starting a handful of players who played against Spurs a few days ago. This decision was always bound to be second-guessed later on, but it's what the manager rolled with.
The game started with a shaky few minutes, with CSKA fashioning out a few ambitious, albeit close, attempts from outside the box. For the most part though, City were controlling the ball and the play was concentrated closer to midfield and CSKA's box.
Things started to click as the half wore on and City found their opener with some of the clinical passing we have seen many times before. David Silva received the ball near midfield before threading a pass through to an open Edin Dzeko, who made a smart run and drew Akinfeev out. The Bosnian slid the ball neatly to strike partner Aguero who tapped home an easy chance and got the night started.
The lead was doubled 9 minutes later when a pass over the top of the defense from Yaya Toure found Pablo Zabaleta, who headed back to Aguero. One well hit ball across the keeper found James Milner sliding in at the back post to make it 0-2 City. From there, City closed out the rest of the first half relatively comfortably as CSKA didn't find any way to create a good chance in the remaining minutes. 0-2 City at the half.
The second half was another story, as City looked sluggish and complacent as the game progressed. Ambitious attempts from outside the 18 turned into better chances inside the box, and CSKA found their way back into the game. A through ball into the box behind a napping Mangala found Ahmed Musa, who slid a pass across to Doumbia to tap in to make it 1-2.
CSKA kept the pressure up and after Yaya fumbled the ball away in midfield, the Russians were awarded a soft penalty after Kolarov was found guilty of fouling Doumbia as he tried to receive a cross. The replays show Doumbia's fall as a pretty delayed reaction to Kolarov's contact but the referee gave the penalty anyways. Hart came close but could not get a hand on Natcho's penalty, and City had to settle with a 2-2 draw. Points dropped, undoubtedly.
Much will be said about Pellegrini and the team following this but this is how the scenario stands at the time of writing this, with Bayern leading Roma
0-4, now it's FIVE NIL in Italy:
1. Bayern - 9 points, +7
2. Roma - 4 points, -1
3. City - 2 points, -1
4. CSKA - 1 point, -5
Oddly enough, we're still well in this. We could easily go into matchday 6 at Roma trailing by 2 points. It won't be easy, but all we can ask for at this point is to still have a shot going into the final day.