Juventus
    Juventus
      13.09.2015 19:34 - in: Champions League S

      Spotlight on City

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      Two times Premier League winners since the turn of the decade and with a growing pedigree in Europe, Juve’s first Group D opponents have enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years

      13 May 2012, Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Needing a win to seal a maiden Premier League title, Manchester City trailed QPR by two goals to one as the game ticked into stoppage time.

      Miraculously, the Citizens were champions of England four minutes later in a breathless conclusion to the domestic season as last-gasp strikes from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero hauled Roberto Mancini’s side above city rivals United to secure a first top flight trophy since 1967/68.

      Aguero’s goal in the 94th minute was the first major step in establishing City as a heavyweight of the English and European game, a process that began in 2008 on the takeover of the club by the Abu Dhabi United Group four years previously.

      History

      With spells across all three top divisions in the English footballing pyramid throughout the 20th century, including a three-year stay in the newly found Premier League between 1993 and 1996, City were in the old Division Two as recently as 1999.

      Following back-to-back promotions, taking in a remarkable penalty shootout play-off win over Gillingham, the Blues consolidated themselves in the top flight under the reigns of Kevin Keegan, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes, leaving their old Maine Road home to the 48,000-seater City of Manchester of Stadium in the process.

      On the arrival of the Abu Dhabi United Group in August 2008 and the symbolic record signing of Robinho from Real Madrid the same day, the club began competing in the upper reaches of the table. Since then, adding the likes of Aguero, the club’s top scorer every season since 2011, Yaya Toure and David Silva to their ranks, City have finished in the top three in five consecutive campaigns.

      Stadium

      Built for the 2002 Commonwealth games, the City of Manchester Stadium, renamed the Etihad Stadium by the club in July 2011 as part of a ten-year agreement with the team kit sponsors Etihad Airways, has been the club’s home since 2003. Initially boasting a capacity of 48,000, two phases of expansion in July of this year took that total 55,087.

      Tuesday night will be the Bianconeri’s second visit to what is currently the Premier League's third largest stadium, the first coming on 30 September 2010 as the sides played out a 1-1 draw in the Europa League group stages.

      European record

      Qualifying as Premier League runners up last term, this season’s Champions League will be the Citizens’ fourth group stage appearance in a row.

      Having failed to emerge from their groups in their first two appearances in the competition, the Manchester outfit made a breakthrough in 2013/14, reaching the knockout round for the first time, where they would eventually fall to Barcelona, a side who subsequently repeated the same feat last year.

      City met Italian side Roma in last season's group stages

      Further back in time, the club’s UEFA Cup quarter final appearance in 2008/09 was just its second since the 1970s. At the start of that decade, the Citizens sealed their maiden and only European title, overcoming Poland’s Gornik Zabrze 2-1 in the 1970 Cup Winner’s Cup final in Vienna. 

      Having conquered the domestic game, the Champions League is the only significant piece of silverware missing from the Blues’ trophy cabinet.

      Manager

      Taking his place in the Etihad dugout in June 2013, Manuel Pellegrini has overseen a continuation of the club’s success, leading the Citizens to a domestic double (League Cup and Premier League) in his first season in charge.

      Forging a respectable early career in his native South America with spells in charge of Argentine clubs San Lorenzo and River Plate, the Chilean boss, celebrating his 62nd birthday on Wednesday, made his move to Europe in 2004 taking over at Villarreal.

      Pellegrini enjoyed a landmark five years in Southern Spain, guiding the Submarino Amarillo to the Champions League semi-finals in 2005/06 and a runners up spot in La Liga in 2007/08.

      After a two-year spell in charge of Real Madrid, the former Universidad de Chile centre-back, where he spent his entire playing career, repeated his Villarreal feats with Malaga, leading them to a Champions League quarter final where they were agonizingly eliminated in stoppage time by eventual runners up Borussia Dortmund.

      How are they looking ahead of the game?

      A winner from Nigerian youngster Kelechi Iheanacho in the dying minutes against Crystal Palace last time out ensured Pellegrini’s men maintained their flawless start to the new season and extended the club’s consecutive win record to 11.

      Taking in wins over West Brom, Chelsea, Watford and Everton without conceding a goal, City currently sit five points clear of Manchester United and Arsenal at the Premier League’s summit, with a maximum of 15 points from their first five fixtures.

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