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Man City mirror group performance to qualify at Roma

| 11.12.2014

Manchester City’s pivotal match in the Champions League was, like their entire existence in Group E, a slow-burner.

Needing a score-draw or win to advance to the knockout stages, Manuel Pellegrini’s side endured a rocky opening 10 minutes in Italy’s capital as Roma created two good chances, only to be denied by stand-in captain Joe Hart.

The reality was that the Serie A side didn’t need to stretch themselves too much though, as news from Germany that Bayern Munich led against CSKA Moscow had Roma going through should the match remain goalless.

As the game wore on, however, City grew in confidence and their 2-0 triumph, coupled with their come-from-behind win against Bayern last time out, will inspire real confidence as the defending Premier League champions head into the next stage of the competition as 11/1 shots to win it.

Having finished as group runners-up though, City will face yet more Champions League challenges as soon as the next round begins, with a host of big-name clubs waiting in the wings.

Both Madrid sides, Barcelona and Paris St-Germain are all potential round-of-16 opponents for the Etihad club but, having made life difficult for themselves on more than one occasion during the mini-league phase and surviving, City can be confident of making a fist of any draw they get.

Elsewhere Chelsea confirmed their dominance in Group G with a 3-1 win at home to Sporting Lisbon and moved on to the next round as unbeaten group winners.

Cesc Fabregas, Andre Schurrle and John Obi-Mikel got the goals that sealed the victory, while the Barcelona big-three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez all got on the scoresheet to help their side overcome Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener for PSG.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.