Champions League

City's hopes hang in the balance

2014-12-09 13:12
Manchester City celebrate (AFP)
Cape Town - Manchester City face arguably their biggest European challenge yet when they travel to Roma with their Champions League last-16 hopes hanging in the balance, reports Football411.

City, Roma and CSKA Moscow are all locked on five points going into the final round of Group E fixtures, meaning it is virtually a must-win week for all three sides.

A defeat for the Citizens would see them drop out of Europe altogether, while a win or score draw combined with a CSKA defeat to Bayern would see them through.

A win will see Roma through regardless of other results, while they can also progress with a goalless draw combined with a Moscow loss. A score draw paired with a Moscow defeat would see City into the next round.

The Giallorossi are winless in their last four Champions League outings, drawing with City and Moscow on either side of back-to-back losses to Bayern Munich.

Their league form is much improved, though, having lost just one of their last five in Serie A, winning three and drawing their most recent match with Sassuolo.

Rudi Garcia's men are currently second in the league standings, three points adrift of leaders Juventus.

Midfielder Kevin Strootman returned to action from a knee injury at the weekend, but is not expected to feature in midweek, but Francesco Totti, Ashley Cole and Gervinho - who were all rested - are all set to start at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

City, meanwhile, have also just won one of their five Champions League group fixtures thus far, a 3-2 win over Bayern a fortnight ago that kept their hopes of progression alive.

The Citizens, though, have found a rich vein of form in recent weeks and are unbeaten in their last five league outings, winning each of their last four.

They too are sitting in second place in the league standings, three points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Manuel Pellegrini will be without Sergio Aguero, who is facing a lengthy absence after picking up a knee injury in the 1-0 win over Everton at the weekend.

Yaya Toure will also be missing as he is serving suspension, while David Silva and skipper Vincent Kompany are major injury doubts.

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