Manchester City were taught a footballing lesson by European champions Bayern Munich in the last matchday of the Champions League. Come Wednesday night, the English Premier League side will hope to be on the other side of the result when they travel to Russia to take on CSKA Moscow.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero celebrates with teammates David Silva and Alvaro Negredo after scoring against West Ham in the English Premier League, October 19
It is looking like a three-way fight between Manchester City, CSKA and Viktoria Plzen for the second spot in Group D, with Bayern looking near indestructible.
Therefore, the match on Wednesday becomes extremely important, with both CSKA and City going into the game with three points each.
"We will have 11 players out on the pitch and our aim will be to get a positive result," CSKA manager Leonid Slutski said. "It is a very important game for us and it will make the situation in the group a lot clearer. Neither team will qualify or be eliminated after the game, but it will be crucial in terms of our hopes of making the knockout stage.
"The third and fourth matches in the group are always key. There is an obvious favourite in our group, so the fixtures between us and Manchester City will decide who qualifies in second place."
Manuel Pellegrini has been mainly tasked with one job at City - improve their European performances. Therefore, an exit from the group stages for the third straight year will be near unimaginable, and a loss to CSKA insufferable.
"CSKA are a very strong side, they are heavyweights in Russia," Pellegrini said. "I saw their games against Zenit last Saturday, Plzen and Bayern. It's not the last match in the group but it's a very pivotal, important game for us.
"The team who win this game will have more of a chance to get through to the next round, but there are still three matches ahead. For us the most important thing is to earn three points."
Team News: CSKA will be without Mario Fernandes, Alan Dzagoev, Rasmus Elm and Aleksandrs Cauņa, but Seydou Doumbia is available with Igor Akinfeev set to feature for the side in goal.
Central defenders Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, despite returning to training, have not travelled to Moscow, along with midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Key men: CSKA Moscow: The return of Alan Dzagoev will be a huge boost, with the Russian capable of not just unlocking defences with his creativity, but also finding the back of the net, if given half a chance.
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero has shown good form this season, and was at his best against West Ham at the weekend. CSKA will have to keep the Argentine quiet if they are to get anything from the game.
Where to watch
The match is scheduled for a 9.30 p.m. IST start on Wednesday night with live telecast on Ten Action and Ten HD.
Expected lineups: CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev; Schennikov, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Nababkin; Milanov, Wernbloom, Tosic, Dzagoev, Honda; Doumbia.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy; Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Aguero, Silva; Negredo.
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