Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughOdds against City. Haven't they always been? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Odds against City. Haven't they always been? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Odds against City. Haven’t they always been?

It has been twenty four hours since the defeat in Napoli and now our qualification chances are looking bleak. 

The result has been broadcast and reported as a ‘devastating loss’ and already ‘facing Champions League exit’. In truth City have always had the odds stacked against them with this venture and many were tipping City to fail as soon as the Group draw was made. 

The Group of death, as it was named, was considered a big task for City’s inaugural foray into the Premier European competition and so to still be in with a shout going into the final game cannot be all that bad. Can it? 

Well to hear the reviews you would have thought it was the end of the world to go out at this stage. People forget though how dominant we have been in our domestic league and are still progressing well in the Carling Cup. A multiple game winning run, scoring multiple goals in the process would certainly have been grabbed by most City fans at the start of the campaign and a Champions League run would have been willingly traded.  

That’s the point though, as far as English teams in the Champions League go, City are not doing all that bad. Manchester United still haven’t secured progression despite being in a much easier group. 

Their final game is away to Basel, the team that ran United to a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford a few weeks back and have qualification in their sights also. Despite losing a late goal Arsenal clung on to qualify but Chelsea lost to a late goal and their qualification is still up in the air. 

The London side now go into the last game on equal terms with the third team in the group and having to play them for the second spot. Now both United and Chelsea are in better situations than City going into matchday 6 with their qualification in their own hands but the fact is they have had easier groups and struggled, drawing when the should win, and all this with vastly more experience than Manchester City.  

Every Manchester City fan might even be glad that the odds are stacked against us as usually when our backs are up against the wall is when we kick it up a level. The 1999 playoff final is one example that springs instantly to mind. Even the Gallaghers had left with us two down and only minutes left on the clock before we secured the comeback and eventually the win. Or maybe the FA Cup game against Tottenham? 3-0 down at half time and a player sent off, who would have put a bet on City winning the tie at that point? 

As Macken got on the scoresheet City fans celebrated and yet another comeback went down in City history.  

The 1976 Cup Final win may not have been expected as City lost the opening leg to Middlesbrough, three days after losing to them in the League. We would hammer them 4-0 in the second leg to secure a trip to Wembley and the eventual cup win but we always make it tough for ourselves. City have been breaking records and getting amazing scorelines all season so for them to pull off qualification from this position wouldn’t surprise this guy.  

But that is all League and domestic cup competitions, this is Europe. Have City done this kind of thing in Europe. The simple answer is yes, a couple of times. April 1st 1970 City lost to Schalke in the opening leg in the Semi Final of the European Cup Winners before absolutely hammering them at Maine Road, 5-1.

That would be the year we faced off against Gornik Zabrze, which of course we won to claim our first European silverware. A little background on how important and spectacular that second leg result was would be to look at out League fixtures at the time. In the duration between first and second leg we played four times, losing twice while winning and drawing the other two.

That was also, like todays format, a two week period!

Almost a year on and we faced Gornik yet again in the Cup Winners Cup, although this time at an earlier stage. After losing at their place 2-0 we hosted them and beat them by the same score setting up a third game, in Copenhagen. This we played 21 days after the first encounter and won 3-1 to progress in the competition.  

It has been done before and it will happen again, the only question is whether it will be in two weeks. It most certainly could be.  

PA Cityboy



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