Europa League: Aris Salonika 0 Man City 0

Manchester City were unable to penetrate a determined Aris Salonika defence and had to settle for a 0-0 draw in the Europa League.

City were looking for a valuable away goal in the first leg on Tuesday, but were denied by several clutch saves from Aris goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis during the round-of-32 clash.

Greek Super League side Aris are undefeated in 24 European matches at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, and it was only on rare occasions that Roberto Mancini’s side looked like breaking that streak.

The Premier League outfit dominated possession early but struggled to find any cohesion in the final third despite fielding big guns Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez in attack.

It was Spaniard David Silva who produced the first real chance, forcing a sharp save from Sifakis with a dipping effort from the edge of the area.

Dzeko’s first sight on goal came after Aleksandar Kolarov fired a dangerous ball into the penalty area, but the Bosnian scuffed his shot straight at Sifakis.

It was not all one-way traffic for city, with Aris’s Japanese winger Daisuke Sakata causing some problems down the left flank.

A mix-up between Joe Hart and Gareth Barry nearly ended in disaster for the visitors, with a collision between the two knocking Hart out of the penalty area as he tried to clear the ball.

Brazilian Neto went close with the subsequent free kick, but saw his curling effort drift just wide of the far post.

Aris came out searching for a goal after the break, with Ricardo Faty and Juan Carlos Toja both having decent chances to put the hosts ahead.

Dzeko almost broke the deadlock just after the hour mark when his glancing header forced a diving save from Sifakis, and the former Wolfsburg man went close again minutes later with a swerving effort from the edge of the area that flew wide of the upright.

Neto nearly caught the City defence napping at the other end, stinging the palms of Hart with a long-range effort.

Mario Balotelli and Pablo Zabaleta came on in the final 15 minutes as Roberto Mancini looked for new options, but despite a late aerial attempt from Balotelli and a miscued header from defender Micah Richards, City failed to find a winner.

 


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