Monday 18 December 2017

Pellegrini baffled by CSKA's denial of racist abuse

Tim Rich

MANCHESTER CITY manager Manuel Pellegrini has backed the punishment handed out to CSKA Moscow for the racial abuse suffered by Yaya Toure and said he cannot understand why the Russian side tried to deny it.

In the aftermath of the monkey chants directed at Toure during City's 2-1 win in Moscow last month, CSKA rejected anything untoward had happened and claimed that the midfielder was the only one on the pitch who had heard the abuse.

Their punishment was to have part of their ground, the Khimki Arena, closed for their next Champions League fixture which, since it is against Bayern Munich, will not help City if they hope to win the group.

"The fans of CSKA made an important mistake," said Pellegrini. "As for the club, I don't know why they denied it at the beginning but UEFA acted and gave them the punishment they deserved.

"I hope we can leave it in the past but it is something for Russian fans to consider because they have a World Cup in their country."

Toure will once more form the pivot of City's midfield against CSKA tonight and Pellegrini thinks it unlikely he will be distracted by any reckless need to take revenge.

The match is certain to be a more testing examination of Costel Pantilimon's ability than last Saturday's 7-0 massacre of Norwich, which saw Joe Hart's understudy given precisely one serious shot to save.

Should City win tonight they will be guaranteed qualification for last 16 – an aim of the club's owners which previous manager Roberto Mancini, for all his domestic success, failed to fulfil.

Meanwhile, Group D leaders Bayern Munich take on Viktoria Plzen knowing that victory will equal Barcelona's record from the 2002-03 season of seven straight victories in the Champions League.

Bayern left Munich without Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who is nursing a groin injury, and with coach Pep Guardiola saying he needs to make "corrections" in their play following a less-than-convincing 2-1 Bundesliga victory in Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Bayern's board is standing behind club president Uli Hoeness ahead of his trial on tax-evasion charges.

The board says it sees no reason for Hoeness to step down ahead of his trial in March over an undeclared private Swiss bank account. (© Independent News Service)

Manchester City v CSKA Moscow,

Live, Sky Sports 2 / Setanta Irl, 7.45

Irish Independent

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