City complete remarkable turnaround to reach Champions League knockout stage

Manchester City's Samir Nasri with team-mate James Milner after scoring against Roma last night. Picture: Riccardo De Luca/PA.
Manchester City's Samir Nasri with team-mate James Milner after scoring against Roma last night. Picture: Riccardo De Luca/PA.
0
Have your say

Goalkeeper Joe Hart hailed the resolve and character of Manchester City as they reached the Champions League knockout stage with a brilliant 2-0 win at Roma.

Samir Nasri and Pablo Zabaleta struck in the second half to claim the victory which was enough to see City through to the last 16.

French playmaker Nasri chose the perfect moment to score his first goal of the season, smashing in a shot via the woodwork on the hour at the Stadio Olimpico.

Until then a City side without three of their key players had been second best but Hart was outstanding and they grew in confidence to claim a famous victory when Nasri set up Zabaleta after 86 minutes.

It completed a remarkable comeback in Group E, with progress having looked unlikely just a couple of weeks ago.

“We are a strong unit and we believed in it,” said Hart. “We had a bit of a slow start but you don’t win the Premier League easily.

“We’ve got resolve, we’ve got character and we’ve got great players.”

Nasri admitted his goal was of huge importance both for the team and on a personal level.

“It was important for me to score as after my surgery it took a little bit of time to come back to that level and now I am,” he said.

Jose Mourinho is keen to avoid one of the “sharks in the ocean” circling his Chelsea team ahead of Monday’s draw for the knockout stages.

The Blues were already assured of top spot in Group G but confirmed their dominance with a 3-1 home victory over Sporting Lisbon.

Cesc Fabregas’s early penalty set the tone for a comfortable evening at Stamford Bridge and further goals from Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel came either side of Jonathan Silva’s response for Sporting.

When asked if his in-form side might go on to win the tournament for a second time in four years, Mourinho said: “Last year we were close and we didn’t have the team playing at such a high level as we do this season.

“But let’s see if the sharks let us, because there are a few sharks in the ocean.”