Misfiring City settle for stalemate
Manchester City wasted a series of chances to claim their third consecutive UEFA Cup victory as Mark Hughes' side settled for a 0-0 draw against Paris St Germain on Wednesday.
The Premier League team should have killed off their French opponents in the first half at Eastlands, but couldn't find the finishing touch to their approach play. A point meant little for City, who had already qualified for the last 32 after winning their first two group matches against FC Twente and Schalke, and it was no surprise that Hughes decided to rest Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Micah Richards.
"PSG made it difficult and got a lot of men behind the ball. But we kept going. You have to make sure you don't over-commit, and we got stretched a couple of times towards the end," Hughes said. "We'll take a point. We're guaranteed at least second position now and hopefully we'll get a result in Santander in our next match. We're pleased enough to be through to the last 32 but we'd prefer to miss out on Champions League teams."
Hughes' side should have taken the lead in the fifth minute when Elano released Daniel Sturridge with a defence-splitting pass. The young striker surged clear, but the ball got away from him and goalkeeper Mickael Landreau was able to make the clearance.
The hosts squandered another good opportunity in the 13th minute when Brazilian star Jo sent Darius Vassell clear. Vassell had only the goalkeeper to beat, but dragged his effort wide of the post.
Stephen Ireland sent Vassell clear on goal in the 41st minute but Landreau raced out to clear. Pablo Zabaleta brought another alert stop from Landreau after Vassell had pulled the ball back, but it was the French team who almost stole the lead on the stroke of half-time. Former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman was clear in the penalty area and looked certain to score when Tal Ben Haim made a superb block.
City boss Hughes was forced to make a change two minutes into the second half when Elano limped off and was replaced by Benjani Mwaruwari. Sturridge went close moments later with a powerful strike that flashed past a post. But PSG, who had taken just a point from their first two group matches, hit back with a series of flowing counter-attacks. In the 57th minute Peguy Luyindula brought Joe Hart into action with a 25-yard drive. Luyindula threatened again when he raced clear only for Hart to divert his effort to safety.
PSG suddenly stepped up the pace and the impressive Luyindula released Guillaume Hoarau in the 73rd minute. But he somehow clipped his shot the wrong side of the post when it seemed easier to score, and the last chance had passed.