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Manchester City look to escape trouble in Champions League

City are the most high-profile team in early trouble in Europe's elite club competition after picking up just one point from their first two group games.

Associated Press

Updated:October 21, 2014, 8:38 AM IST
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Manchester City look to escape trouble in Champions League
City are the most high-profile team in early trouble in Europe's elite club competition after picking up just one point from their first two group games.

Manchester: This was supposed to be the season Manchester City finally made a sustained push in the Champions League. It's not working out that way for the English champions.

City are the most high-profile team in early trouble in Europe's elite club competition after picking up just one point from their first two group games.

It means City manager Manuel Pellegrini is already treating Tuesday's trip to CSKA Moscow, the first of a double-header against the Russian side, like "a final."

There are no such problems for Champions League heavyweights Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who all have a maximum six points heading into the third round of group matches.

The standout fixture in Matchday 3 is Liverpool vs. Madrid on Wednesday - a match between clubs who have won Europe's biggest prize a combined 15 times.

Here are some things to know about the upcoming Champions League games:

CITY'S STRUGGLES

Since an influx of Abu Dhabi cash in 2008, Man City have won every trophy going in English football, including the Premier League title twice. Success in Europe is proving much harder to come by.

In three seasons in the Champions League, City have twice failed to get out of their group and were eliminated in the first round of the knockout stage the other time.

So far this campaign, City have lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich and was disappointing in a 1-1 home draw with Roma that left the English champions facing an uphill struggle in Group E.

"We have two games against CSKA Moscow (and) we need win to win both of them," Pellegrini said. "The best way is to treat every game as a final, try to win it and then win the next final."

The match will be played in front of no fans as punishment for CSKA for racist incidents by its supporters. City midfielder Yaya Toure was a target of racist abuse by CSKA fans last season.

EVERGREEN TOTTI

Roma host Bayern in the other match in City's group, with their striker and captain Francesco Totti enjoying a new lease of life as he helps the team challenge on two fronts this season.

Totti became the oldest scorer in the Champions League's 22-year history in the last round of fixtures, when he netted the equaliser against City three days after his 38th birthday.

The forward is also closing in on Silvio Piola's all-time Serie A top scoring record of 274 goals. He scored penalties in each of his last two games to take his tally to 237.

Roma were without several of their star players in a 3-0 victory over Chievo Verona on Saturday, with Juan Iturbe and Gervinho expected to return against 2013 champion Bayern.

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