Manchester United

Manchester United, City Underwhelm in Champions League on Matchday 1

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Edinson Cavani of Napoli competes with Joleon Lescott of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Manchester City and SSC Napoli at the Etihad Stadium on September 14, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Sean BabcockCorrespondent IISeptember 14, 2011

Fans of Manchester City and Manchester United alike will be coming out of Matchday 1 a bit disappointed, as both sides failed to secure victories despite strong attacking performances.

At Etihad stadium, Manchester City took the field against Napoli, last season's third place finishers in Italy's Serie A. Despite playing an impressive attacking game and dominating possession in the first half on the match, Manchester left their home turf with a disappointing draw that should have been more.

After failing to capitalize on some tantalizing opportunities during the opening period, City struggled to contain Napoli in the second half as the Italian side took to a more aggressive strategy of their own. In the 69th minute, Edinson Cavani snuck behind City on a breakaway and easily buried the first goal of the night.

Five minutes later, Aleksandar Kolarov pulled one back for City, but that's all they would get, as City settled for a draw at home in the first Champions League match.

Given the club's overall lack of experience in Champions League football, it's easy to write off the draw as predictable, despite City's record of dominance thus far in the Premier League.

Less easily explainable, however, was United's similar draw against Benfica on the road.

In the 24th minute, Paraguayan forward Óscar Cardozo surprised United by opening Benfica's Champions League account early on. The goal left United plenty of time to recover, but like City they only managed to get one goal back from Ryan Giggs to secure a draw.

Realistically, neither result is particularly troubling for the Manchester sides. Surprising is a bit more like it.

As the city of Manchester has become England's number one talking point when it comes to Premier League football, with both sides accumulating wildly excessive goal totals in seemingly every match they play, neither side really displayed the composure and finishing ability that so many of us expected to see today.

Premier League opponents take note: it is possible to contain these sides to less than three goals in a match, after all.

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