Manchester City vs. Ajax: Score, Analysis and Grades
Needing a win to save their Champions League lives, Manchester City laid another egg and wound up with a 2-2 draw to Ajax.
With the loss, City has been eliminated from advancing to the knockout stage.
Playing in front of their home fans at Etihad Stadium with their backs against the wall, I was fully expecting this talented team to come out with purpose and make a quick early statement.
They did anything but. They looked listless and allowed two goals to Ajax's Siem de Jong by the 17th minute, and they quickly found themselves trailing 2-0.
The match seemed as good as over at that point.
Football pundit Chris Kamara had this timely tweet:
Manchester City now 2-0 down to Ajax once again zonal marking wins the day, mountain to climb now but still possible— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) November 6, 2012
To their credit, City dug in and they went to work. Yaya Touré netted one in the 22nd minute and the City defense certainly picked up their play.
Then, when Sergio Agüero added another goal in the 74th minute. Things got really interesting, but the score remained at a standstill.
As the final whistle was sounding, Mario Balotelli appeared to draw a foul that would have given his team a penalty, but it was not called. The scene got ugly and the fans and Balotelli were enraged, but the result remains.
Joe Hart: B+
Hart allowed the two early goals, but this was hardly his fault, and he atoned by making two nice saves on shots off the foot of Siem de Jong later in the match. It was a solid performance by the goalkeeper.
Yaya Toure: B
Toure's goal was huge for City. It was vital for them to get some kind of momentum after falling behind 2-0.
Overall, Toure played a solid match and ended with three shots on goal, but he did have a gaffe that helped Ajax score one of their early goals.
Kenneth Vermeer: A-
Vermeer grew increasingly under siege as this match wore on, and the keeper did a fine job limiting City's attack.
He ended the day with four saves, and Ajax would not be escaping this match with a point if it weren't for his fine play.
Siem de Jong: A
Siem de Jong played a brilliant match. He was all over the pitch. Not only did he get the two goals, but he also fired off five shots.
He did a great job keeping Ajax's pressure going in this match.
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