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UEFA Champions League
November 27, 2013
• 2:45 PM
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: F. Aydinus
• Attendance: 37742
S. Agüero 33'
S. Nasri 65'
E. Džeko 89'
T. Hořava 43'
S. Tecl 69'
Well, that's all from our coverage of the Champions League tonight. Many thanks for joining us, and we'll see you again soon!
City, then, trail Bayern by three points and can top the group if they beat the German side by more than the three goals they lost by in the fixture at the Etihad. Plzen, meanwhile, are still pointless, but can take plenty of heart from a very good performance.
And that's FULL TIME at the Etihad Stadium, and Man City have come away with a 4-2 win over Plzen after a thoroughly entertaining game. The hosts were pegged back twice but eventually their opponents tired and Pellegrini's men did enough to earn the points.
90' + 3'
GOOD SAVE FROM HART!! The free kick is headed away but comes to Rajtoral, who blasts a volley towards the corner but Hart parries over the bar.
90' + 2'
Yellow CardYaya Touré
90' + 2'
Well that's a rather silly challenge from Toure, who leaves a high leg in on Hubnik and picks up a booking, meaning he will miss the final group game against Bayern Munich.
90' + 1'
That's an absolute peach of a ball forward from Hart, who gathers a tame header before drilling a pass straight out to Navas on the right wing. The Spaniard can't collect it properly, though, and Plzen have possession.
That should settle the nerves for stoppage time.
DZEKO MAKES IT FOUR!! Negredo uses his strength to power down the left before driving in a cross, but it doesn't quite find Dzeko and Plzen clear. It comes back forward again, though, and Milner finds the Bosnian with an inswinging cross, and he flicks an excellent header down into the bottom corner.
Toure and Navas link up again on the right; these two have been superb since coming on. They take their time to look for the cross, with Negredo and Dzeko finding space, but Toure's cross goes straight to Kozacik.
The very impressive Kolar leaves the field, to what sounded like a few claps from the home fans too. Plzen have just a few minutes left to find a third equaliser.
That's an excellent tackle by Javi Garcia, who tracks back before sticking a well-timed foot in to stop Tecl's run. The hosts come forward quickly and Kolarov drills a 25-yard shot wide of the target.
Tecl fires well wide after finding space in the middle, but his 25-yard strike slices past the post. The worry there, though, was how far away the City centre-backs were again. Pellegrini will surely be scrutinising their performance after the game.
Toure steps in to win the ball in midfield and slow things down, playing it back to the defence. He has been a valuable introduction for City in this second half.
RAJTORAL NEARLY LEVELS IT YET AGAIN!! The full-back first exchanges passes with Kolar then Tecl and gets past Demichelis before firing low towards goal, but Hart stands firm and saves with his legs.
What a game this has been!
AssistJesús Navas González
NEGREDO PUTS CITY BACK IN FRONT!! City win a free kick at the corner and come straight up the other end. Navas picks it up on the right before playing a perfect low cross along the six-yard box, and Negredo is there at the far post to tap into an empty net.
That's a vital clearance by Negredo! The striker just gets to the ball at the far post ahead of Prochazka and manages to turn it behind for a corner. The follow-up is cleared but Plzen come back again and win a third corner in succession...
There's yet more danger now for the hosts as Lescott heads behind for a corner under no pressure. Clearly there wasn't a call from his team-mates.
Milner pushes forward for City and Kolarov sprints down the left to give him an option, but the pass is poor and it rolls out for a goal kick. Meanwhile, Alvaro Negredo is set to come on for the hosts.
HORVATH MISSES THE TARGET!! Jan Kovarik is on for the visitors before Horvath steps up to take the set piece, firing it just over the bar as he can get it beyond the wall but not down quickly enough.
Yellow CardMartín Demichelis
Now here's a chance for Plzen at the other end, as Horava charges towards the area before Demichelis brings him down. It's a booking and a free kick right on the edge of the box...
Toure plays wide to Navas, who finds Richards on the overlap. The full-back plays it low and Milner goes in late on Rajtoral as he challenges for the ball in the six-yard box. Possibly lucky to escape a second yellow?
The centre-backs looked all at sea, there. Are City missing Vincent Kompany?
TECL MAKES IT 2-2!! INCREDIBLE!! City are completely carved open by a lovely passing move. The ball is lifted into the box by Horvath and Kolar chests it down towards Tecl, who has plenty of time to pick his spot and fire it across goal past Hart from six yards.
That's poor from Dzeko, who hasn't had a good night. Toure wins a header in midfield and the striker is in acres of space but miscontrols it before gathering the ball and shooting way over from distance.
That save will have done Hart the world of good, and will only make Pellegrini's selection dilemma much harder.
KOLAR NEARLY LEVELS IT AGAIN!! What a fantastic effort!! Kolar comes forward and fires a perfect 30-yard strike towards the top corner, but Hart produces a stunning stop to turn it behind.
AssistJesús Navas González
NASRI PUTS CITY BACK IN FRONT!! In the end it's a simple goal and Toure is involved straight away, bursting to the line before laying back to Navas, whose first-time cross is met unmarked by Nasri in the middle, and the midfielder volleys coolly into the corner.
Yaya Toure is on for City, then. He'll have to be careful, though, as a yellow card will see him suspended for the final group game against Bayern Munich.
ANOTHER CHANCE GOES!! City have a corner on the other side and Nasri's outswinger is met in the air by Dzeko, whose header is off target but Lescott is inches away from getting on the end of it at the far post, but the ball goes harmlessly wide.
FANTASTIC SAVE BY KOZACIK!! Nasri fires in a corner and it's cleared, but goes straight back to the hosts. The Frenchman has a chance to whip it in again and swings it in with his right foot. Fernandinho flicks a header towards the far post but the goalkeeper brilliantly turns it over.
It's been a much better period for City in the opening 15 minutes of the half. The possession is still pretty even, but much of the play is now in the Plzen half of the pitch. If Pellegrini's men can sustain this pressure they should find a way through eventually.
Navas runs a good angle and latches on to a high pass, collecting the ball before trying to hook a shot over the goalkeeper with his left foot, but it's well off target and Kozacik picks it up with ease.
It's been all Dzeko in the last few minutes! This time he drags a shot wide from 25 yards, while there's activity on the bench. Could we see Negredo soon, perhaps?
Dzeko is almost in beyond the defence as he latches on to a floated ball, but his touch lets him down and Kozacik comfortably gathers.
Dzeko tries to hold the ball up but Horvath comes back to outmuscle the striker and win the ball back. The Bosnia international doesn't seem to be able to match Negredo in those situations.
WIDE FROM NAVAS!! After the Spain winger's initial cross evades both Dzeko and Fernandinho, he receives the ball again and this time drives into the box before blasting a shot wide of Kozacik's near post.
Hart is called into action again as Petrzela tries a speculative effort from around 35 yards. It keeps low and looks to be going just wide but the goalkeeper takes no chances and goes to ground to smother the ball.
Tecl gets beyond the defence on the left but is quickly chased by Decmichelis. The striker looks to cut a pass back for Duris but City manage to get the ball away from the danger area.
Richards charges down the right and looks for a free kick as he goes down under Hubnik's challenge, but nothing is given and Plzen can come forward.
That's excellent defending by Fernandinho, who tracks back to chase Petrzela and shows real strength to barge him off the ball just outside the right-hand edge of the City box.
The initial set piece is cleared but Nasri fires it back in. Richards goes up for it but it comes out to Lescott, and he drills a shot just wide of the post, but the flag had already gone up for offside against Richards.
After a lot of arguing with the wall, Kolarov bends an effort towards goal but it deflects off Kolar and behind for a corner.
Yellow CardMarián Čišovský
Real chance here for City as Nasri drives into the middle and Cisovsky clips his legs, earning himself a yellow card and a chance for the hosts to fire in a free kick from 25 yards...
Kolarov plays the ball down the left towards Milner, who produces a lovely backheeled flick for Dzeko to chase, but Rajtoral is across to put it out for a throw.
Early chance as City break forward quickly and Nasri darts into the Plzen half before slotting a pass through for Dzeko, whose tame effort from a wide angle is easily saved.
Jesús Navas González
We're back underway as the visitors get the ball rolling for the second half. Jesus Navas is on for Aguero in the only change at the break, and it looks like the striker has picked up a knock.
Just a few minutes left until the restart at the Etihad Stadium. Can Plzen continue to impress or will City be able to impose their authority on this match?
Pavel Vrba, meanwhile, will be delighted at half time and will undoubtedly ask his players for more of the same. Kolar has been a constant threat for the visitors and City are allowing him way too much room in the gap between defence and midfield.
City looked comfortable early on, dictating the pace of the game and slowly searching for a way through. But Plzen always looked dangerous on the counter and eventually turned possession back in their favour. Pellegrini has a lot to think about at the break.
That's HALF TIME at the Etihad and it's level at the break after Horava cancelled out Aguero's opener from the spot. They have been very positive in that half and deserve to be at least level, if not more.
City have a chance with a free kick out on the right flank, but Kolarov's delivery is too strong and it goes straight out for a goal kick, as the board goes up indicating one added minute at the end of the half.
That's no more than Plzen deserve. They've got the possession stats back to 50-50 and have looked more threatening than their hosts this evening.
HORAVA EQUALISES WITH A STUNNER!! That's a wonderful strike and a deserved equaliser, as he lets the ball run across him and fires a perfect first-time effort from 20 yards which flies into the top corner, giving Hart no chance.
Horvath has a rush of blood in midfield and goes for glory, shooting way over from 35 yards. Far from memorable, that effort.
Hubnik is back on after some makeshift patchwork and nearly springs the offside trap on the right-hand side, but the flag goes up and City have possession.
Yellow CardJames Milner
Horvath's corner is poor and City can come away before Milner slides in late on Kolar in midfield, earning the England man a booking after one too many fouls already this evening.
GREAT BLOCK BY KOLAROV!! It's a great chance for Plzen as Duris fires in a low cross from the left. It evades everyone before Rajtoral comes in late to meet it, firing a low shot from the edge of the box which Kolarov diverts behind brilliantly.
The referee stops play very quickly after Hubnik clashes heads with one of his own men. He's off the pitch straight away with a nasty-looking cut, but play gets back underway.
Kolar, who is finding plenty of space in midfield, spreads the ball wide to Rajtoral, and the full-back's cross loops up off a defender and Hart comes out to claim easily.
Horava does well under some serious pressure from Aguero and Milner, winning a throw for the visitors, who are enjoying much more of the ball than they did in the opening stages.
That's quite a lucky break for the hosts, who really could - and possibly should - have been behind on a couple of occasions.
Penalty GoalSergio Agüero
AGUERO PUTS THE PENALTY AWAY!! It's a cool finish from Aguero, who is in stunning goalscoring form, as he sends the goalkeeper the wrong way, slotting the ball low into the left corner.
PENALTY TO CITY!! Aguero gets into the Plzen box and looks to flick it past the defender, but it clips an arm and the referee blows for a spot kick straight away. The Argentina striker will take...
WHAT A CHANCE FOR DURIS!! Really could be 1-0 again as Kolar skips past the sliding challenge of Lescott and pushes towards the area. He squares it to Duris who pulls his first-time effort just wide.
It's City's turn to hit on the counter this time as Milner is found deep down the right-hand side, and the midfielder cuts inside before drilling a low effort towards goal, but Kozacik has no problem collecting the ball.
Petrzela shows good footwork to get in the box again but he's ushered away by Kolarov. Plzen keep the ball, though, until Rajtoral's cross is cleared.
It's very quiet in the Etihad Stadium. Nerves creeping in, perhaps? City certainly aren't having it all their own way.
RAJTORAL SHOULD SCORE!! The full-back has a golden opportunity as he beats two men before driving into the box. He has men at the far post or a chance to shoot, and ends up doing neither as it's too far in front of his team-mates and well wide of the goal.
It's in the net...but disallowed!! Hart claims the corner and fires it forward straight away. Aguero chases with Kolar and muscles him off the ball before guiding it into the far corner, but the whistle goes for a foul on the Plzen midfielder.
Again Plzen get quickly up the other end and have another corner; their third of the game already...
WIDE FROM AGUERO!! It's a lovely move from City, started by Fernandinho and finished by the diminutive striker, who picks it up outside the box and works some space before dragging a right-footed effort past the post.
Prochazka flicks it over! It's no problem for Hart but there are more danger signs as the defender beats the offside trap, meeting a looping ball over the top and flicking a volley on to the top of the net.
Danger for City as Tecl gets into the box and looks to get a shot away, but he runs it a touch too far and Demichelis comes across to snuff out the chance.
Oof, Prochazka felt that!! Milner chases a ball into the box and clatters into the defender and the goalkeeper too, leaving the former needing a moment before hobbling away. He should be fine to carry on, though.
City are dominating the possession and you get the impression a goal is coming, but they have to stay alert at the other end. There have just been hints of danger from Plzen coming forward, particularly down the right-hand side.
NASRI SHOULD SCORE!! Fernandinho slides a lovely pass down the right channel for Aguero, who gets to the by-line before floating it across the box. Dzeko leaves it for Nasri, who runs in to meet it with a side-footed volley which he scuffs wide.
The corner comes to nothing, though, as it's headed out as far as Kolar, who volleys well over the bar from 20 yards.
There's immediately a chance at the other end as Plzen win a corner on the left-hand side. They're sending plenty forward...
NASRI SMASHES THE BAR!! What a fantastic effort! The France international picks the ball up in midfield, and sets himself up before unleashing an absolute piledriver of a shot which hammers the frame of the goal. Great effort!
Aguero is shut out in the Plzen box and the visitors break quickly, but Demichelis cuts the ball out well before Kolarov forces a goal kick off Petrzela out on the flank.
Plzen break well after Richards concedes a free kick in midfield, and Kolar spreads the ball out to Petrzela, who tries to cut on to his left and shoot but sees his effort blocked on the edge of the box.
Tecl is penalised for a high foot in midfield and City have a chance to dominate the possession once more. Plzen don't look afraid to commit numbers forward, and that could leave things very open for the hosts at the other end.
We finally have the first shot on target as Fernandinho slots a pass through the defence for Dzeko, who tries an effort first time from 20 yards but it's straight at Kozacik.
Dangerous run from Rajtoral down the right as the full-back exchanges passes with Kolar before darting into the area, but Demichelis comes across well to clear into touch.
JUST WIDE FROM JAVI GARCIA!! That's inches wide as City win a free kick on the left which Nasri fires in low, and Garcia manages to flick an effort from 18 yards which bobbles just wide of the near post.
City are far more comfortable than the visitors at the moment. Milner spreads wide to Dzeko, who cuts in before exchanging passes with Aguero then laying back to Kolarov. The defender looks to give it back to the striker but Prochazka clears.
Fernandinho does well to put 38-year-old Horvath under pressure, but the captain stays calm and goes back to his defence. A very cool head, there.
That's better from Hart, who comes out authoritatively to claim the free kick with ease. The flag is up for offside, though, and City have a set piece of their own.
City try and get some early touches, including for Hart, who puts Kolarov under pressure with a high ball out wide. The defender is forced to bring down Horava and Plzen have a chance to fire it in...
We're underway at the Etihad Stadium as City get us started. Roman Hubnik is in for David Limbersky in a late change for Plzen after the defender was forced out with a stomach upset.
The players are ready to come out and we're a couple of minutes away from kick-off. Will City win comfortably as expected? Can Joe Hart prove himself on his return? There's plenty to keep an eye on tonight.
There's no slacking for City, though, who know they can beat their best-ever points tally in the Champions League this evening. In 2011-12 they registered 10 points from six games, and a point tonight would secure that amount after just five.
STAT ATTACK: According to UEFA, City have only lost one of their last 22 European fixtures in Manchester. You'd strongly expect that to be one in 23 by the end of the evening.
CSKA lost 3-1 at home to Bayern earlier this evening, meaning the 2013 champions have maintained their 100 per cent record going into their last game at home to Man City, while Plzen could pip the Russian side with a win in matchday six.
City are already guaranteed passage into the last 16 for the first time, but a win tonight would keep their slim hopes of topping the group alive. Plzen, meanwhile, could do with a result to give them the momentum to beat CSKA Moscow, secure third in the group and earn a spot in the Europa League.
Veteran midfielder Pavel Horvath will lead the visitors as the Czech side look for their first point in this year's competition. They have already been demolished 5-0 by Bayern Munich but are enjoying much better form domestically, sitting second in the league.
One other name that sticks out for City is that of 20-year-old midfielder Emyr Huws, who makes the bench tonight. The Welsh youngster has yet to make a senior appearance for the club, playing ten games on loan at Northampton last season.
The big news for the hosts, then, is that Joe Hart is back in goal for as Pellegrini makes several changes from the 6-0 win over Tottenham. Sergio Aguero keeps his place up front but Alvaro Negredo drops to the bench, giving Edin Dzeko a chance from the off.
PLZEN: Kozacik; Rajtoral, Prochazka, Cisovsky, Limbersky; Horava, Horvath; Petrzela, Kolar, Duris; Tecl. // Subs: Bolek, Hejda, Hubnik, Reznik, Kovarik, Wagner, Bakos.
MAN CITY: Hart; Richards, Lescott, Demichelis, Kolarov; Milner, Nasri, Javi Garcia, Fernandinho; Dzeko, Aguero. // Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Boyata, Navas, Yaya Toure, Huws, Negredo.
The teams have been announced so let's get straight to bringing you the line-ups, starting with Manuel Pellegrini's side...
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the Champions League clash between Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen. The hosts have been in imperious form at home, with only last year's Champions League winners Bayern Munich tasting victory here in all competitions this season.
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