City hit back quickly. Navas hooked over then in the 6th minute we won a free kick when Aguero was tripped just outside the box. Yaya Toure stepped up and struck a trademark free kick high into the net. City went in search of more goals but were always vulnerable to CSKA’s swift counter attacks. Demichelis failed to cut out a through ball which put Doumbia clear with the City defence beaten and his took his shot early, firing wide to relief all round the ground. City’s play was laboured. We were far too static in our movement, passed the ball too slowly and surrendered possession far too easily. We were relying on half chances: Navas lobbed over the bar and Jovetic fired over after a desperate scramble. In between these attempts, Aguero made one of his diagonal forward runs (a la May 13th 2012) but his sharp shot was saved by CSKA keeper Akinfeev at his near post.
Doumbia had scored two goals in our 5-2 win over CSKA last season, but sadly his threat wasn’t heeded and City conceded again after Clichy made a school boy error, slashing a ball across the pitch. Doumbia peeled away from Zabaleta and scored inside Hart’s left hand post. It was the second such howler from Clichy who was having a terrible game, in direct contrast to his excellent showing in the derby.
Pellegrini simply had to make changes at the break and on came Fernandinho and Nasri for the largely ineffectual Jovetic and Navas. James Milner was at the centre of much of our better moves. His searching cross from the left just eluded Aguero then he forced a save with Akinfeev’s legs after Yaya played him in. On came Dzeko for the ponderous Fernando but it made little difference, despite Edin’s industry.