Manchester City may have triumphed at England but they know very well that they are yet to be tested in the whole of Europe. Winning a league is a difficult job, one that requires determination and consistency but winning in Europe is quite another thing and the players at City were well aware of the fact when they traveled to Spain to face the Spanish giants in what was billed as the most exciting match in the group stages of the Champions League.
The match was also being billed as a match between Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini. It was Mourinho who replaced Mancini at Inter after he failed to win the Champions league and here was Mancini again, trying to carry out Sheik Mansour’s dream of becoming the European Champions. Manchester City has assembled a marvelous team at a jaw dropping expense. And with such lavish expenditure one can be sure that the club officials are not just aiming for the domestic crown.
But Mourinho and his men sure played spoilsport to what would have been a great night for Manchester City and their campaign in Europe. Twice did Manchester City take the lead and twice did they lose it with Ronaldo scoring in the very last minute of the game to take the match away. Some might call it ironical for City did the same thing to their arch rivals Manchester United in the summer when Aguero scored in the 93rd minute to win the domestic league from United.
The match was living up to its expectations right from the start with both sides gunning for a victory. Every player who has faced Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu knows exactly how tough it is to wrestle out a victory from them at home. City did draw first blood but Marcelo soon equalized with a beautiful curler to put the Spanish giants back in the game. Again did City take the lead only to lose it after Benzema put in a powerful shot in the bottom corner of Joe Hart’s goal. And finally when it looked like the match was going for a draw did Cristiano Ronaldo put on his scoring boots and scored a screacher that Joe Hart could only put his fingers to. And then off went Ronaldo to celebrate with his team mates as Manchester City players looked aghast as defeat seemed inevitable. Some might say that the ending was cruel for City but such is the game at times and City is only beginning to understand that. One can buy the best players in the game and the best coaches and managers, but one can never buy history and experience. And that was the only difference between the two giants.