Man City content with the waiting game in Champions League

Mancini's men aiming for more experience as Ajax take on Real Madrid.
Manager Roberto Mancini, right, wants more from his strikers at Manchester City.
Manager Roberto Mancini, right, wants more from his strikers at Manchester City.

DORTMUND, Germany // Manchester City need to win in Dortmund and even that may not be enough for the English champions to stay in a European competition this season.

City are already out of the Uefa Champions League and the best they can hope for is a place in the Europa League. Even that is not entirely in their own hands.

Borussia Dortmund are assured of winning Group D and Real Madrid are through as the second-place team.

In order to progress to the less glamorous Europa League, City must beat Dortmund on Tuesday and hope for Ajax not to win in Madrid the same night.

Amsterdam will host the final of the Europa League in May so Ajax will have an extra motive to win in Madrid.

Going into the final round of group matches, Dortmund has 11 points, Real eight, Ajax four and City three. The match in Dortmund is City's last chance to get a victory in the group and salvage some pride - but they have lost all away games so far.

Dynamo Zagreb, Montpellier and Nordsjaelland are the only other teams that have failed to win a game in the Champions League this season.

City remain unbeaten in the English Premier League after drawing 1-1 at the weekend at home to Everton to remain second behind rivals Manchester United.

"Our strikers aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment and not scoring enough goals," manager Roberto Mancini said after the Everton game.

Defender Maicon said City were making progress as a club and will win the Champions League - eventually. "It is a great club and is working to get better in the Champions League," he said.

"You can see us progressing on a monthly basis. The club is growing all the time, and sooner or later City will win the Champions League because everyone is working for that.

"They are great players here (in the Premier League), but they need more experience of the Champions League. You have to tune in to playing in Europe, as it is very different to playing in your home league.

"We are playing for pride on Tuesday, but also for practical reasons, because we want to carry on playing in Europe, even if it is not in the top competition.

"The Europa League is important to us, so we need to try to stay in Europe until the end of the season if we can," Maicon said.

Cristiano Ronaldo dominated Saturday night as Real Madrid extended their winning streak against Atletico Madrid to 24 straight matches since their last loss to their cross-city rivals in 1999 with a 2-0 victory in front of a packed Bernabeu.

Ronaldo scored a perfectly struck free kick and fed Mesut Oezil for the second, apart from hitting the post twice. Ajax warmed up for the trip to Madrid by beating bitter rivals PSV Eindhoven 3-1 in the Dutch Eridivise.

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Published: December 3, 2012 04:00 AM


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