Moscow: CSKA Moscow staged a stirring fightback to come from 2-0 down and earn a 2-2 draw against Manchester City in a Champions League clash played behind closed doors on Tuesday.
First-half goals from Sergio Aguero and James Milner put the visitors in command, but the Russian side fought back after the break, with Seydou Doumbia’s strike giving them a lifeline and Bebras Natcho’s 86th-minute penalty earning them a share of the points.
The result is a damaging blow to City`s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages and left them with two points from their opening three Group E games, four behind leaders Bayern Munich and two adrift of AS Roma in second.
CSKA, who were forced to play behind closed doors due to the repeated poor behaviour of their fans in recent Champions League matches, are bottom of the group with one point. Roma host Munich later on Tuesday.
Despite suffering from injuries and suspensions, Leonid Slutsky’s CSKA side started well, with Ahmed Musa and Zoran Tosic both going close with long-range efforts. As the first half wore on, however, Manchester City began to grow in confidence.
Aguero, who scored four against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday, continued his rich goalscoring form when he found the net on 29 minutes.
David Silva managed to beat the offside trap and slipped the ball through to Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian unselfishly squared to Aguero, who slotted the ball into the empty net.
The visitors made it 2-0 on 38 minutes. Yaya Toure, who was racially abused in the corresponding fixture between the two teams a year ago, played a delightful floated pass to Pablo Zabaleta.
The Argentine knocked the ball down to his international team mate Aguero, who mis-kicked his shot, but Milner was following up to tap into an empty net.
Milner could have extended his side’s lead six minutes before halftime, but the midfielder`s shot hit the post from an acute angle.
The home side were vastly improved following the introduction of Doumbia for the second half. The Ivorian had an immediate impact as he turned home Musa’s right-wing cross with 25 minutes remaining.
The Army Men pushed for an equaliser, but were unable to seriously test City keeper Joe Hart, until they were given a late chance to salvage the game from the penalty spot and Israel international Natcho converted.