MAN CITY 1, AS ROMA 1.
Manchester City have considerable work to do if they are to progress to the knockout phase of the Champions League after being held at home by AS Roma.
A meagre return of one point from two group games leaves City’s hopes of a top-two finish hanging by a thread as Bayern Munich and the Italian side are favourites to win through.
Indeed, City were lucky to draw against an adventurous Roma side which asked many questions of their opponents who, despite their domestic dominance, are still struggling to conquer Europe.
Had it not been for the heroics of Joe Hart, Roma would have condemned City to a second successive defeat following their loss in Germany at Bayern..
Yet City enjoyed a dream start when Sergio Aguero gave them an early lead only to be pegged back by a goal from veteran Francesco Totti.
But on the balance of play and chances, Roma can count themselves unfortunate not to have made it seven straight wins in all competitions at the start of their campaign.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted it was a disappointing night.
“It was a very important game and one point playing at home is never good,” he conceded.
Pellegrini pinpointed his side’s lack of accuracy with their passing as a failing as they continually gave away possession.
City’s manager also promised a fight to the death to reach the knockout phase.
He said: “We have one point out of six and are just three points behind Roma. A lot depends on the next game in Russia, where we must win, while Roma play Bayern so we will have to see what happens..
“There are still 12 points to play for and we will fight to the end to qualify.”
City made three changes from Saturday’s win at Hull as there were recalls for Joe Hart, Martin Demichelis and Jesus Navas who replaced Willy Caballero, Eliaquim Mangala and James Milner.
There was a City return for Brazilian Maicon while the Roma side also included former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole, though the Italians were without the injured Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Stroodman.
And Maicon’s homecoming quickly became a nightmare as he conceded a third minute penalty pulling back Aguero who picked himself up to fire home from the spot for his fifth goal of the season and sixth in seven Champions League games.
It was an eventful opening for Maicon who moments later burst into the City box before crashing a shot against the underside of the crossbar.
Roma’s positive approach was rewarded when they equalised midway through the opening period when Totti was sent clear after an incisive passing move and he lobbed Hart who was slow to race off his line after initially slipping.
Totti, at the age of 38 and three days, became the oldest goalscorer in the competition eclipsing Ryan Giggs.
City had a strong shout for a second penalty of the half for a handball by Kostas Manolas, though he was lying on the ground when the ball struck his arm.
Roma would have taken the lead shortly before half time but for a fine save by Hart to turn Gervinho’s shot over the crossbar as they remained a threat.
And Roma had three clear cut chances to move ahead early in second period as Hart saved well from Miralem Pjanic who also shot narrowly wide as did Totti.
City needed a new impetus and summoned Frank Lampard from the bench and he soon forced a decent diving save from keeper Lucasz Skorupski.
And despite having a number of opening late in the game, City never realistically looked like conjuring a winning goal.