Accusations & admissions – CSKA Moscow 2 Man City 2

Manchester City were cheated out of a win in Moscow – but only after they spent 49 second half minutes contriving to be the architects of their own downfall.

City can rightfully point a big finger of suspicion at Hungarian referee Istvan Vad after the criminal award of an 86th minute penalty to CSKA.

‘Vad the Bad’s’ scandalous decision to reward the theatrical exaggerations of CSKA’s Seydou Doumbia with a spot kick, only served to exacerbate City’s anger and frustrations at being denied the proverbial ‘stonewall’ penalty, when Dzeko was felled in the first half.

Russian revolt - Furious City players surround Istvan Vad, the bad referee from Hungary. Courtesy@MCFC

Russian revolt – Furious City players surround Istvan Vad, the bad referee from Hungary. Courtesy@MCFC

With such outrageous inconsistencies from 35-year old Mr Vad…would it be wrong to even so much as wonder if any roubles have floated down the Danube to help boost the economy in Hungary?

Bloody hell, even the notorious ex-FIFA referee, Graham Poll, he of the infamous ‘World Cup three yellow card trick’ and the inspiration behind the ‘Oh Graham Poll is a ‘ckin ar*ehole’ song, is onside with Manchester City this morning.

The ‘learned’ Poll writing in the Daily Mail says: “No matter how many times I watch replays of the 86th-minute challenge by Aleksander Kolarov, I cannot understand why it was a penalty.” And so say all of us.

Equally controversial – but not receiving the same amount of coverage – is the penalty not given in the 40th minute when Edin Dzeko was taken down by Sergei Ignashevitch and denied a clear scoring opportunity.

Cheated - Edin wasn't smile on the flight back from Moscow after being denied a stonewall penalty. Courtesy@MCFC

Cheated – Edin wasn’t smile on the flight back from Moscow after being denied a stonewall penalty. Courtesy@MCFC

What a difference that would have made. 3-0 to City and CSKA reduced to 10 men…but the Moscow Mafia wouldn’t have been paying for those kind of outcomes.

City skipper Vincent Kompany is right to query the referee’s performance, why it was that hundreds of knuckle-dragging neanderthal CSKA supporters were inside the Arena Khimki, and why City fans were banned and effectively penalised for CSKA being a bunch of racists?

Everything – everything – about CSKA reeks of thuggery and corruption. The chosen ones of the ex-Soviet military hierarchy, CSKA are the embodiment of every negative stereotypical notion one might have of Mother Russia.

Doors open - CSKA mysteriously managed to have hundreds of thuggish supporters in the stadium, despite a UEFA ban on their fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Doors open – CSKA mysteriously managed to have hundreds of thuggish supporters in the stadium, despite a UEFA ban on their fans. Courtesy@MCFC

But what can you expect from a country led by a pumped up bully-boy prat such as Vladimir Putin?

I digress.

As unpalatable as the whole Moscow scene played out last night, and as questionable as ‘Vad the Cad’s’ decision-making was, Manuel Pellegrini’s team have to be accountable for a truly horrible second half showing.

At 2-0 up – it could easily have been double the score line – City simply stopped playing. They were nothing short of pathetic. Lazy, off the pace, they couldn’t have pressed their opponents less.

Pellegrini’s line-up had surprised quite a few observers as he once again elected to go with his favoured 4-4-2 formation that has so often been City’s undoing in Europe.


That said well taken goals by Sergio Aguero and James Milner, plus the ‘nailed-on’ Dzeko penalty shout, suggested all was well going into the break. Milner hit the post for the second match running and the outcome wasn’t in doubt. It was simply a question of the size of the winning margin and bumping up the goal difference.

If it wasn’t broken the City boss maybe didn’t have to fix it but – and it’s a big BUT – wouldn’t it have been better to switch to 4-5-1, quell any hint of a CSKA comeback, and still have a sufficient attacking threat to grab an extra goal or two?

Whether it be the tactics, player complacency or the fact that CSKA were given more space than the Soviet’s Soyuz space programme, City were abysmal over the ensuing 49 minutes.

City couldn't stay ahead in Moscow - Mangala clears a CSKA attack. Courtesy@MCFC

City couldn’t stay ahead in Moscow – Mangala clears a CSKA attack. Courtesy@MCFC

On the basis football is a team effort – a collective affair – then nobody should escape criticism, save for Joe Hart who was blameless for both goals and didn’t grind to a halt in the freezing conditions and hostile surroundings.

In raising his very valid after match concerns, Kompany also dismissed getting into any analysis as to why City continue to trip up in the Champions League.

Vinny is a very articulate and intelligent individual and well aware of the eagerness of the media to revel in City’s continental unease.

He said: “I guess at the moment everyone wants to hear how we think we should have done better and how we feel our performances need to be better in Europe, but I won’t play a part in it.”

Tackling the issues - Vinny rightfully had some choice words about the referee, CSKA & UEFA. Courtesy@MCFC

Tackling the issues – Vinny rightfully had some choice words about the referee, CSKA & UEFA. Courtesy@MCFC

Fair enough. Why should the captain give the vultures more to chew on as they dissect City’s Champions League shortcomings?

Manuel Pellegrini was, as you’d expect, similarly defiant and defensive of his team. He remains suitably robust about winning the nine remaining Group E points and who’s to say it can’t happen?

Roma were smashed 7-1 by Bayern Munich in the Eternal City and a second German success in a fortnight would leave the Italians on four points.

City will surely batter the repulsive Russians at the Etihad with a few fireworks on November 5th and woe betide any CSKA fans who find their way into City’s ground. They are banned so let’s at least enforce that ban in Manchester and eject any who dare to show their colours.

Balls up - City threw away a two goal lead in Moscow. Courtesy@MCFC

Balls up – City threw away a two goal lead in Moscow. Courtesy@MCFC

Come November 25th and Bayern could well have qualified as Group winners when they come to City. If that’s the case it certainly can’t hurt City’s chances of beating the Germans for a third time in six Champions League encounters.

It could all come down to one night in Rome and a chance for Manuel’s men to stand up and be counted as European gladiators.

Thankfully we live in a true democracy rather than the Russian style autocracy that masquerades as a democracy.

As such we have freedom of speech and some of City’s more fickle followers are expressing the opinion that Manuel Pellegrini should be fired, if the club fails to progress to the Champions League knockout stages.

Conceding - Despite the introduction of Fernando as holding midfielder, City continue to leak goals in the Champions League. conceding 18 in their last 10 matches. Courtesy@MCFC

Conceding – Despite the introduction of Fernando as holding midfielder, City continue to leak goals in the Champions League. conceding 18 in their last 10 matches. Courtesy@MCFC

Some cite Roberto Mancini’s dismissal as a precedent, pinpointing CL failure as the key to his sacking. Undoubtedly, it was a big factor, of course it was, but the Italian’s autocratic style had sparked a dressing room revolt.

No one will be more disappointed than Pellegrini if City don’t show progress beyond the last 16 of the competition, but those looking to get shot of him should hold their fire and get a reality check.

Yes, it appears he needs to be smarter with his formations, but there is no player rebellion and those players need to shoulder the burden of blame in Moscow.

Frosty reception - MCFC were made unwelcome by their Moscow hosts. Let's hope we never draw CSKA again. Courtesy@MCFC

Frosty reception – MCFC were made unwelcome by their Moscow hosts. Let’s hope we never draw CSKA again. Courtesy@MCFC

Vincent Kompany is right to decline doing any of City’s laundry in the glare of the praying mantises of the press. The players and the manager need to close ranks and develop a siege mentality.

The Red Army did it at the Battle of Stalingrad for five months, one week and three days between August 1942 and February 1943, to repel the German invaders in World War Two.

If City can hold their position in Europe for as long as the Soviets held the Nazis at bay they will have secured a quarter final place in the Champions League in 2015.

Siege mentality - City can win their last three CL games and put murky Moscow behind them. Courtesy@MCFC

Siege mentality – City can win their last three CL games and put murky Moscow behind them. Courtesy@MCFC

The lessons of history are there to be learned and at least this way we can give the Russians of old one small tick in the box…unlike some of the modern day Muscovite morons.

I for one continue to trust City’s sitting MP and can but hope that City fans take advantage of the 2-4-1 ticket offer for the return match with CSKA. It equates to £12.50 per person to go and watch the Champions of England in the Champions League on Bonfire Night. Let’s light the Blue Moon touch paper, raise the roof and stick a rocket up the Russians!  

2-4-1 TICKET OFFER - Come on City fans let's fill the Etihad on Fireworks Night and stick some rockets up CSKA!

2-4-1 TICKET OFFER – Come on City fans let’s fill the Etihad on Fireworks Night and stick some rockets up CSKA!


By David Walker @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. October 22, 2014  10:47 am by joe cox Reply

    great work Dvid I like it !

  2. October 22, 2014  10:47 am by joe cox Reply

    david even :)

  3. October 22, 2014  11:19 am by susan richardson Reply

    Agree with all you say; don't feed the vultures. The CL does nothing to dispel the corrupt tag. WHY are this Russian team still in the competition. It should be played again with no supporters CSKA are well and truly taking the proverbial out of UEFA.

    • October 22, 2014  11:33 am by David Walker Reply

      CSKA really are a vile bunch aren't they but UEFA, being UEFA, won't do anything. If we'd transgressed in any way they'd be onto us as quick as you like. Corrupt, deceitful and double standards all the way - rather like a good proportion of CL referees I fear.

  4. October 22, 2014  11:35 am by Andrea Kiernan Reply

    I was so disappointed. Sometimes it's like watching city of old. We can blame the ref and uncle Tom Cobley n all, thats easy but the players sat back and played as if it was their right to win.

    • October 22, 2014  12:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      Couldn't agree more AK. Quite bizarre how players of the calibre of Kompany Yaya, Silva Aguero to name four truly world class individuals couldn't either see, or stop what was unfolding before them. Pellegrini should have closed this game out with ease. I won't go for any knee jerk reactions but the Champions League is becoming an annoyance on so many different levels; corruption, ineptitiude, complacency, politics - it's easy to see why City fans prize domestic success above Champions League. Worryingly for MP, our owner doesn't see it that way. Last night was pretty unforgivable but we can still qualify if the players apply themselves.

  5. October 22, 2014  11:39 am by Jon M Reply

    Very measured comments David and a not unreasonable analysis. I agree that MP and Vinny have no wish to wash their dirty laundry in public but I damn well hope they are doing it in private as that 2nd half performance was completely unacceptable. To sum it up we are just too nice. I see no leadership on the pitch. I see no one gettiing stuck into players who are not doing their job, whether it is Yaya tracking runners for the first goal, or Fernando and Fernandino standing off in mid field or Managla and Vinny both switching off when the ball is slid into the box. And as for the second goal, what the hell is Yaya doing attempting a back heel 35 yds from our goal? while it wasn't penalty Kolarov made a clumsy effort to get the ball and gave the ref a decision to make.

    We were passing for passing sake and managed one shot on goal in the 2nd half. we are told the team is learning each year in Europe. On the contrary we appear to have learnt nothing and may be going backwards. We won in Moscow last year, comfortably. And please, no more tweets from our players telling each other how great they all are. They seem to think they are better than the results in Europe suggest they really are

    • October 22, 2014  12:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      Very well put Jon - couldn't disagree on any of the points raised.

    • October 22, 2014  5:30 pm by carole Reply

      Very interesting that Jon highlights the performances of Yaya, Fernando and Fernandhino....for isn't it in central midfield, with this trio, that all our problems lie?

      I used to scoff at fans who mourned the passing of De Jong and Barry. I saw them as a little too slow, holding the team back. Instead I welcomed the arrival of the Brazilian with his 'lightning pace' who would form this amazing double-pivot with Yaya, alternatively attacking and defending. But it hasn't worked out that way...
      The inclination of both is always to attack. Neither has the desire to hold/defend when the other goes forward. I think Pelle quickly recognised this which is why he was desperate to bring Fernando to City as early as last January.

      Here was a pure DM, someone who loves to destroy rather than create. It seemed a perfect fit, yet was it? I can't believe I'm saying this....but is he any better than Nigel? Is he indeed, any better than the much-maligned Javi Garcia...who came good towards the end of the season and is, IMO, a far better passer of the ball? Above all, has he the holding qualities and ability to keep things ticking over of Gareth Barry? I'm not at all sure!

      Last night either of those three would have been far better at protecting a 2-0 lead than Fernando or Fernandhino. They would have offered far more protection for our back 4 and brought a calmness and discipline to midfield which was non-existent last night when we were under the cosh.

      I don't know what the solution is, but I don't think either of the two Fernas are. I admit they have both had some very good performances at times and both started their City careers extremely well but I don't think their relationships with Yaya have worked out. I'm not sure who is in charge in CM. They don't seem to have any rapport. I also wonder whether Yaya's current malaise is because he doesn't trust either of them....

      My opinion, for the little it's worth, is that Pellegrini hasn't bought well with either Fernandho or Fernando. He must be looking enviously at Chelsea where the combination of Fabregas and Matic is a marriage made in heaven.....

      • October 22, 2014  6:44 pm by David Walker Reply

        Good observations Carole but I get the impression that Yaya could be first to go and Fernando is here to stay. The jury is still out on Dino. I think Pogna is most likely next in but I can't substantiate that hunch with anything by way of fact at present.

  6. October 22, 2014  12:17 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Traveling yesterday so studiously avoided asking anyone the result. Watched recording early hours this morning (Wednesday) and even managed to stop myself fast forwarding, more fool me.

    “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results".

    There is a price to pay when you play with two attackers and we paid it in the second half. We have still not learned how to close out a game, until we do we will keep failing.

    'Behind closed doors my arse'. 'Result should be declared null and void and replayed in neutral stadium where Moscow's Mafiosi can't gain entry. CSKA will say their thousand or so chanting fans all held press cards. A rotten society, reminiscent of Al Capone in his heyday.

    Where do Uefa keep finding these referees, each one worse than the last? 'Hungarian Istvan Vad's notorious ‘Homer’ record shows.

    Totals: Home, Away, Total. Penalties 9, 2, 11. Reds 4, 10, 14. Yellows 92, 132, 224. (based on 61 international matches).

    Vad the Impeller should be impaled kebab style and then 'Spit Roasted' (or 'Spatchcocked', take your pick) ) However he has standards and would never except a bung as tatty as a Dyke Parmigiani watch. TASS has it that after the game Vad handed Seydou Doumbia the MOTM award ‘ A Black Russian Divers Watch’ (Bulova special edition).

    Rant over.

    Thanks for burning the midnight oil David.

    Rant over.

    • October 22, 2014  12:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      As stated I am not going to turn on MP but for goodness sake, the overwhelming majority of people were crying out for 4-5-1 pre-match and certainly in the second half. It beggars belief how we let such a wretched club back into the game. Moscow is a truly horrible place, populated in the main by distasteful individuals - that's not being racist - it's purely observational from personal experience. If City had been professional in the second half even Ivan The Terrible, let alone the Russian Mob, would have been unable to alter the result, with or without the Hungarian horror.

      One not to be repeated or MP will be on very thin ice.

      • October 23, 2014  9:59 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

        I thought after 'The Villa' Yaya had got his Mojo back, I am sorry to say I was wrong.

        On Tuesday Yaya looked as Stale as a 3-Year-Old Birthday cake. Apparently making nol' (nil) tackles the entire evening. I am not saying he is to blame for the result, but he certainly didn't help.

        Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. The big fellow needs to be rested and given the time to regain his form and appetite, just as Joe Hart was last season. This is one Lamborghini we need the engineer to get firing on all cylinders.

        • October 24, 2014  8:57 am by David Walker Reply

          Either that or, as in my previous comment, City set their stall out to get Pogba and Barkley - why not both - and Marco Reus. I know Yaya played so well last season that he probably can't emulate it but he's not having much impact, other than negative, at present. If PSG will pay £20m-£25m, I think we could prosper without the big man.

  7. October 22, 2014  12:40 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Agree with you on every point David total shambles. All we can do now is pack the Etihad in the return game & against Bayern lets raise the roof get behind the team remember a few years ago against Hamburg we almost go over the line lets do it again.

    • October 22, 2014  1:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      I remember the Hamburg game - we came bloody close didn't we? City fans have to show their colours and devotion against CSKA - surely folk aren't going to plead poverty at £12.50. It's all very well wanting tickets to see us lift the title on the last day of the season - support is needed on Bonfire Night #TOGETHER

  8. October 22, 2014  1:02 pm by by Reply

    why why and why do everyone hate man city so dame press.uefa,referees. even Ferguson - who famously antagonised Liverpool fans
    throughout his time at United as he looked to 'knock them off their
    perch' - believes Brendan Rodgers finally has the Merseyside outfit
    playing the right kind of football.
    "He said: 'From my perspective they [Liverpool] were definitely the
    team of the year. 'They made their leap forward the right way: they played positive football.'"
    As opposed to the negative football played by the champions Sir
    Alex? I'm sure the book will sell well…

    • October 22, 2014  1:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      He's not worth the bother. Silly old sod should've died on May 13th, 2012 - NOT IN MY LIFETIME! I really don't care if the press and pundits want to climb up Maureen's backside, Brenda's rear or Arsenic's ar*e - let them get on with it. I'd rather MP and City get on with the job and just win trophies. I hate night's like last night because it gives them the ammunition to have a go.

  9. October 22, 2014  2:17 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    That game has been well summed up by yourself and the comments by Jon M were "spot on" regarding certain performances in the second half.
    It all started so well - We even thought of putting on a scarf, woolly hat and gloves to add some atmosphere in our house.
    The game should have been 'dead and buried' at half time even allowing for the blatant penalty that wasn't.
    The second half was, to be honest, unbelievably naive. Against a team who added more dynamic to their game we were getting pulled apart and the first goal seemed only a matter of time. Even then City didn't 'dig in' and at 2-1 there is always a danger of a dodgy referee decision or deflection. Extremely disappointing.
    To be fair David, when we were in Moscow last year ,we found a lot of Muscovites both young and old very helpful - in Banks on the Underground etc etc. One of the bad moments we have had (in hindsight funny) was in Munich a couple of years ago. An elderly waiter in a bar said as we were leaving - something like "Haben unt s***e Nacht"
    That game is now history and we do still have chance to qualify, so it is up to the team and MP to sort out our European problems and play the next 3 games with purpose and pride.
    That also goes for WHU on Saturday which won't be easy and will need total commitment and concentration for about 95 minutes.

    • October 22, 2014  3:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks RC - different experiences in different places. In Munich not so much as a hint of trouble but in Moscow undercurrents of menace and ill feeling. As you know I am a staunch advocate of MP but if his persistence with 4-4-2 comes back to bite us again it will be his undoing in Europe. HHSM is known to see - rightly so - the CL as the coveted prize above all else. City can only be on a learning curve for so long. Look at PSG, they arrived later to the party than ourselves but look far more accomplished and comfortable.

      As you say three wins and we'll be through - just about - so fingers crossed.

  10. October 22, 2014  3:29 pm by Paul Glennon Reply

    Great read David, as weak as I am last night got me really annoyed for all the reasons you've wrote about, as a team we must trust MP, but I bet there was some shouting in that dressing room, I wouldn't mind YaYa being rested a few games and change that midfield a little shame Lamps wasn't fit. Thanks for the great read as ever.

    • October 22, 2014  3:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Paul - I must give you a call for a catch up. I think Yaya's days are numbered and it's just a question of time and City lining up adequate replacement(s) who will apply themselves correctly to each and every game...something of which Mr Toure seems incapable at the moment. Take care fella and all the best to the family.

  11. October 22, 2014  9:07 pm by Susan Bookbinder Reply

    CSKA - the embodiment of every negative stereotypical notion of mother Russia - love it David, just when you think that your writing can't get better, you improve on perfecton; joy to read every time!

    • October 22, 2014  9:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      That's very generous of you Suzy - thank you - did we agree on cash, cheque or a bank draft? ;-) xx

  12. October 22, 2014  10:37 pm by Glenn Kavanagh Reply

    I rather v.k to do his talking on the pitch, I was really sick watching the second half. I think arrogance has a lot to do with it, vinnys job is to keep the lads organized & to have their minds on the job. Mangala, Fernando, the 42 were awful. Im tired watching these poor "performance's" in Europe. The 42 must be dropped asap. The managers blind faith in him will get him sacked. There's just no excuse for that display. We are the laughing stock of Europe & I don't like it one bit. I watched a professional demolition job by Munich on Roma. Hopefully that result has f****d Roma up. Unlike us Munich don't think the game is over at 2 nil. Ten games since we had a clean sheet. - just not good enough. Totally p#**%d off.

    • October 22, 2014  11:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      I know where you're coming from GK!

  13. October 23, 2014  12:52 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Another frustrating result in Europe. We did throw it away after being in control at half time. There's enough nous in this team not to be drawn in, but we were. We're still in the mix, but the ice is getting thinner by the game.

    • October 23, 2014  8:13 am by David Walker Reply

      Hopefully - against the odds - we still have enough ice left on Decenber 10th to go with a celebratory tipple when City qualify from Group E!

  14. October 23, 2014  10:39 am by David Kelly Reply

    Well done Mr Walker, good article again.
    I really don't know how you can do it, after the poor effort in the second half.
    I would have just said: We have drew, that's it.
    Onwards and upwards, lets hope we thrash them at the Ethiad.

    • October 24, 2014  8:48 am by David Walker Reply

      How do I do it? Coke Guvnor high as a kite...snorting the stuff, although I had to make do with Diet Pepsi on Tuesday night and the bubbles don't half hurt the old sinuses! Thanks for feedback.

  15. October 23, 2014  8:10 pm by Carl Horse Reply

    David - great read as always.

    It has taken me until now to read match reports etc as I was that angry after that second half showing.
    Let's be honest though.... The formation had nothing to with us losing the game. We were cruising and had the referee opened his eyes in the 40th minute we would have been 3-0 up. Let's also not forget the link up play between the two strikers which contributed to the first goal and the thoroughly deserved lead going into the second half. 4-4-2 was working perfectly and nobody is to blame apart from the 11 players in blue on that pitch. We need to be ruthless and finish teams off. Every player under performed but that has to be one of the worst displays I've seen from yaya toure. A needless back heel to give away possession for their second goal and an obvious display of laziness.
    My mum once described me as a child once as " when he is good he's brilliant, but when he's bad he is terrible"
    I can't help thinking that is the perfect analogy of yaya.

    • October 24, 2014  8:54 am by David Walker Reply

      Spasibo! As for Yaya there's more Ivan the Terrible about him at the moment than any hint of brilliance. It may be time to go big time for Paul Pogba as eventual successor as well as Ross Barkley - both qualify as home grown, albeit they'll cost approx £80m. Get £20m for Yaya and that just about balances off the now defunct, restricted and unspent UEFA FFP transfer pot of £49m plus the £9m profit on this summer's transfer dealings. Marco Reus from Dortmund on a £20m buyout claus and we'll see a revitalised MCFC in the Champions League.

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