Champions League Preview: Manchester City - CSKA Moscow

Manuel Pellegrini has indicated that Costel Pantilimon is likely to be preferred to Joe Hart at the Etihad Stadium, with the hosts closing in on the knockout stage.
All eyes will be on Manuel Pellegrini's goalkeeper selection for Manchester City's Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow.

The Chilean ended Joe Hart's run of 123 consecutive Premier League starts when he opted to go with Costel Pantilimon in the 7-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday. Hart's position came under threat following a spate of mistakes for club and country, with Pellegrini finally deciding to take him out of the firing line.

Manchester City's qualification prospects from Group D would be greatly improved by a victory over their Russian visitors Tuesday, but it remains to be seen who will be in goal for the hosts. Pantilimon, who has kept three clean sheets in as many appearances this season, has not played in the competition since appearing in a qualifying match for Poli Timisoara in 2009.

The reverse fixture between the two sides in Russia, which City won 2-1, was overshadowed by Yaya Toure's claims that he had been racially abused by the home fans. UEFA sanctioned CSKA, which will be forced to close part of its stadium for its next home Champions League tie, and both clubs will hope to move on from the unsavory incident.

Vincent Kompany will play no part in the match as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury, which will come as good news to the away side.

The Russian Premier League outfit can ill afford to lose if it is to reach the last 16, with last month's defeat to City its second defeat in three group games. CSKA has progressed past the group phase in its last two attempts, and reached the quarterfinals in 2009-10, but the club needs a positive result Tuesday to continue that pattern.

Since the loss to Pellegrini's side, CSKA has stopped an alarming slide in its domestic form, ending a five-match winless run with back-to-back victories over Krasnodar and Volga, leaving it fourth in the table.

Manager Leonid Slutsky can call upon a number of attacking prospects to trouble City, including Serbian midfielder Zoran Tosic, who broke the deadlock in their previous meeting before City hit back through a Sergio Aguero double. Up front, Seydou Doumbia carries CSKA's most potent goalscoring threat, with six goals in nine league appearances.

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