Despite dominating possession we were unable to break through and remained vulnerable to counter attacks. City were reduced to ten men when Fernandinho picked up two yellow cards in quick succession: the first for a trip to thwart a break away and the second a few minutes later for a body check. Only the second decision was debatable though replays later showed it was a rare correct decision from the referee, though initially he seemed to take an age to make it.
The visitors should have been reduced to ten when the already booked Pontus Vernbloom pulled Aguero back as he advanced, not once, but twice in the same move. However, referee Sideropoulos booked Ignashevic instead. Yaya, Kompany and Aguero protested about the mistaken identity, but to no avail. The Greek referee might have written Pontius Pilate in his book for all we know because it seemed like he’d abandoned almost all sense of justice in this match. Frustrated, Yaya Toure inexcusably lost his discipline soon afterwards. His run to a ball was blocked and he pushed Eremenko in the face. Off he went after a minor protest to the red card that had been issued.
CSKA still posed a threat and Hart was forced to tip over a Musa shot, but the referee awarded a goal kick.
Oddly, City looked better and showed more urgency with nine men and we should have had two clear penalties. Aguero was tripped on the inside left channel in the box but was booked for his troubles in a double injustice. It was an outrageous decision, and especially against one of the more honest players in football. Then in the dying minutes Aguero was clearly pushed over in the box but again referee Sidoropoulos awarded no penalty. This time Sideropoulos didn’t book him. And that was it.
The officials left to a well deserved chorus of loud boos. It was yet another crass refereeing performance but City were terrible. We passed the ball too slowly, surrendered possession far too easily. There wasn’t enough urgency until it was too late (we were better with nine!). This time it wasn’t a case of Pellegrini’s tactics being flawed. Very good players underperformed yet again. We were abject and ill-disciplined at times. CSKA were better organised and more savvy and had an answer for almost everything we threw at them.