Match - Tue 18 October, 20:45, Etihad Stadium
|0. (43’) [OG]||0. (4’)|
|16. (90 + 3’)|
Aguero rescues City
Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov (right) and team mate Sergio Aguero
Despite the sluggish victory from the Blues their poor scoring record in the European competition continued as Aguero was the only man to score for the home side, the other goal, also coming late in the first half, came from the boot of a Villarreal player.
It was the worst possible start to the match for the home side as they saw themselves go behind only four minutes into the game.
The goal came because of some sloppy play at the back by Nigel de Jong which allowed Villarreal to steal possession and launch an attack that saw Giuseppe Rossi let fly with a powerful shot from the edge of the 18-yard area.
Joe Hart, though, made a good initial save flinging himself to the right to make the stop, but the goalkeeper didn’t end the danger in its tracks as he palmed the ball into the path of Cani who snuck his toe-poke under the goalies body on the rebound, 1-0.
The poor start certainly unsettled City, but as the heavy rain began to fall, so did the pressure on the Villarreal goal as the Blues began to find their passing rhythm.
Aleksandar Kolarov was the first City player to have a shot on goal in the 12th minute, but his 25-yard thunderbolt went just wide of the target.
A minute later and Kolarov was in the thick of the action again with a rare run down the left flank. His cross was met by venomous volley on the edge of the box by Samir Nasri, but his effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
But as the rain subsided so did the City pressure and growing seemingly frustrated along the sidelines was Roberto Mancini which resulted in him making an early tactical change replacing Adam Johnson with Gareth Barry five minutes before the half time whistle.
The change had an immediate effect as Barry provided extra protection in the middle of the park which allowed the wingers to attack down the flanks more often.
And Kolarov took full advantage down the left flank in the 43rd minute when his roaming run and driven cross resulted in Carlos Machena putting the ball into the back of his own net, allowing City to draw level, 1-1.
A minute later and Edin Dzeko should really have given Mancini’s side the lead when a beautifully weighted through ball from David Silva saw the Bosnian with only the keeper to beat, but he was quickly smothered by Angel Lopez who made a good close range save.
The second 45 started with a bang and Dzeko should really have given his side the lead two minutes after the restart when a cross from the right found him unmarked and in space ten yards out from goal, but his side-footed effort was well saved by Lopez diving low to his right.
Five minutes later, and while City pressed forward in attack they left themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack, and Rossi nearly made them pay.
With Cani and Rossi the only two in attack for the visitors a swift break out saw the latter really test Hart with a stinging shot from just inside the left-edge of the box, but the keeper was up to the task with a finger-tip save to deny Rossi.
After that the game filtered out a little bit and took a familiar pattern as City attacked and Villarreal got numbers behind the ball which made for a rather dull affair as the home side couldn’t find a way through the stubborn visitors defence.
That was until the final seconds of the match when the ‘only use in emergency’ Sergio Aguero won the game for City after finding the back of the net with a toe-poke after latching onto a low driven cross from the right side, 2-1.