It has been a common occurrence during the four years that Manchester City have spent back in Europe's flagship footballing competition. A timid performance and 2-1 home loss against a vulnerable Juventus side meant that City continued their poor recent history in the competition, a record that has seen them progress through the group stages just twice.
A good start
It all started so well for City. Drawn into a relatively comfortable group and safe in the knowledge that nearest rivals Juventus were a shadow of last season's beaten finalists.
Indeed, the 'Old Lady' came into last night's game sitting 16th in the Serie A table, without a win and taking only 1 point from two home games against weaker sides Udinese and Chievo.
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An away loss to Roma had culminated in their supporters calling for manager Massimilano Allegri to be replaced, with supporters still toiling from the summer losses of stars Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez and the unreplaceable master Andrea Pirlo. Indeed, City started well, zipping the ball around with confidence and creating chances regularly. Sterling should have scored but was thwarted by the brilliant Buffon, (what a colossus, by the way), and the disappointing Wilfried Bony shot over when he should have done a lot better.
Vincent Kompany grabbed the opening goal from a corner, and then Buffon pulled off a vital save from Sterling to keep the difference between the sides at just one.
City looked likely to grab a second until Paul Pogba, returning to Manchester for the first time since his acrimonious departure from Manchester United in 2012, curled in a sumptuous cross for Croatian Mario Mandzukic to grab his first goal for the Turin side. The Italians were now in the ascendency, and Alvaro Morata soon curled in a fantastic finish to turn the game on its head and once more compound city to a miserable night in front of an expectant Etihad crowd.
In what may be a touchy subject for some City supporters, they need to help the players creating a fortress-like atmosphere that will make teams scared of coming to play at Eastlands.
Like the Kop in Liverpool's greatest European nights so famously did, the Mancunians need to get behind their side and make it intimidating for opposition teams. It took until Vincent Kompany's goal just before the hour for the home crowd to really get going, and this is something that City need to improve upon. City have been so brilliant in the league, with pace, power and vigour, but desperately need to start performing in the European competitions.
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