Kathmandu, 17 September 2015: Juventus came from behind to consign Manchester City to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat in their Champions League opener. Raheem Sterling missed a good early chance for the Premier League leaders before Giorgio Chiellini headed into his own net in the 57th minute under pressure from Vincent Kompany.
The Italian side replied through Mario Mandzukic and then a fantastic 81st-minute strike from Alvaro Morata secured their first victory since winning the Italian Super Cup at the start of August. Even the late introduction of Sergio Aguero could not inspire City as they were beaten in the Group D clash.The defeat ends City’s perfect start to the season and will again raise questions over their European ambitions ahead of a trip to Borussia, who lost their opener 3-0 to Sevilla.
With five wins from five league matches, City started as favourites against a Juventus side who had taken just a point from their opening three Series A games and lost Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal in the summer.
Manuel Pellegrini sprang a surprise by naming Aguero among the substitutes, just a day after saying he would not be fit to play. Kevin De Bruyne was also on the bench while David Silva and Sterling both started.
It was Sterling who had the best opportunity of the first half as he was played through by Fernandinho in the second minute but saw his shot saved by Gianluigi Buffon.The Italians thought they had taken the lead in the 12th minute when Paul Pogba headed in Juan Cuadrado’s right-wing cross, but it was ruled out as Morata was offside and interfering with play.
Despite their contrasting fortunes domestically this season, there was little between the sides as City struggled to make any inroads against a compact defence.When they did create a clear chance, Wilfried Bony sliced wide from a promising position just outside the box.Other than that, the hosts were largely restricted to long-range efforts, with Fernandinho going closest with a well-struck shot that flew just past the post.
It looked like it would be more of the same after the break as Juve continued to frustrate City.However, the deadlock was broken in the 57th minute when Kompany climbed above Chiellini from a corner and the Italian was unable to prevent the ball bouncing off his head and into the net.
Juve protested that Kompany should have been penalised for a foul but they were fortunate not to fall further behind a few minutes later as Sterling was again denied by Buffon.Stefano Sturaro missed the visitors’ best chance in the 63rd minute when he had a shot from the penalty spot saved by Joe Hart.But Juve did draw level a few minutes later as Paul Pogba was given too much time to curl a ball into the box for Mandzukic to guide in off the post.
City responded by throwing on De Bruyne for his Champions League debut and bringing on Nicolas Otamendi for Kompany, who appeared to pick up a thigh injury.However, Otamendi could do nothing to prevent Juventus snatching victory as Morata curled a brilliant left-footed shot around Hart from the right.A desperate Pellegrini threw on Aguero for the final few minutes but he was unable to save City from defeat.