City hold off plucky Plzeň

Manchester City FC 4-2 FC Viktoria Plzeň
Eliminated Plzeň equalised twice but already qualified City secured a win which means they can still catch Group D leaders FC Bayern München.

Manchester City FC scored two late goals to overcome battling FC Viktoria Plzeň and keep alive their hopes of topping UEFA Champions League Group D.

City led twice through Sergio Agüero and Samir Nasri but each time Plzeň replied as Tomáš Hořava and Stanislav Tecl found the net. With 12 minutes remaining, though, recently introduced substitute Álvaro Negredo arrived at the back post to turn in a low cross by Jesús Navas. Edin Džeko ended any doubt with a late header from James Milner's centre and Plzeň remain without a point.

With City's qualification already secured, there was a subdued mood in the stadium at the start but Nasri produced a rising shot from distance that came back off the crossbar with Matúš Kozáčik beaten. The Frenchman threatened again when teed up by Agüero's far-post cross but he miscued his volley.

Manuel Pellegrini had made seven changes from City's 6-0 weekend defeat of Tottenham Hotspur FC, including a return for Joe Hart in goal. Plzeň spurned a couple of early opportunities to test him, first when František Rajtoral flashed a ball across goal and neither Tecl nor Michal Ďuriš could react. Ďuriš then steered an effort wide after being set up by Daniel Kolář.

Within two minutes of that miss, City were in front as Rajtoral was adjudged to have handled Agüero's cross and the Argentinian tucked away the spot kick. To the delight of the small but noisy band of Czech supporters, Plzeň heads did not drop. By half-time they had something to celebrate as Kolář played in Hořava and the winger struck a superb first-time shot past Hart into the far corner.

Although Kozáčik tipped over a Fernandinho header after the restart, City were back ahead after 65 minutes when Nasri scored with a fine left-foot volley from a Navas centre. To their credit, Plzeň came back again. Kolář drew a flying save from Hart with a long-range drive and then fed Tecl to make it 2-2.

It was a neatly worked goal, Pavel Horváth finding Kolář who laid the ball off to Tecl who stroked low past Hart, but their quest for a point was to be dashed by Negredo and Džeko. While Pavel Vrba's men must now beat PFC CSKA Moskva on 10 December for a chance of third place, City will travel to FC Bayern München, three points ahead, needing a big win of their own to overtake them having lost 3-1 at home.

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