Real Madrid vs. Manchester City: Poor Defense Must Improve in Champions League

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent ISeptember 19, 2012

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Maicon of Manchester City gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

If Manchester City doesn't play better defensively, they will once again find themselves out of the Champions League before the knockout stage commences.

The Premier League club defended poorly against Real Madrid in Tuesday's group stage match at the Santiago Bernabeu, and despite taking the lead twice, they allowed Madrid to tie the score just minutes after each time.

There were a couple of major issues with the City defense versus Madrid. They gave playmakers such as Xabi Alonso, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil too much space when on the ball.

City also did a poor job of defending Madrid left-back Marcelo, who was constantly in the final third, and unleashed several dangerous shots toward goalkeeper Joe Hart before getting lucky, and scoring off a deflection.

As a team, Madrid had 35 shots, 12 of which were on target. You cannot give any team in Champions League play 35 shots, especially a team with the attacking talent that Madrid has. That's a recipe for losing.

Ronaldo himself had 10 shots and scored the winner late in the match on a shot that Hart should have saved, even if it was moving like a knuckleball.

Even though Maicon wasn't playing too well, when he was substituted in the 74th minute, Madrid finally started to score when the Brazilian right-back left the pitch.

Maicon's experience in important Champions League matches was one of the reasons why he joined the club, and manager Roberto Mancini should have kept him on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.

If City continues to defend poorly, Borussia Dortmund will defeat them in group play, and maybe Ajax too. You cannot have success in the Champions League without defending well—and for City to reach the knockout stage, their back four, and Hart, must play far better.