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Looking to finish the job

25 August 2010

After Mario Balotelli came on to score an all-important away goal for City last week, Thursday’s task got much easier. Any result will see City through to the group stages, and even losing 1-0 would send it to penalties.

I’m not quite as worry-free as I’d be been had City capitalized on any of their chances late on to score a second last week, but I still pretty good going into this one. I didn’t see much from Timișoara in front of their home support to make me think they’ll be much of a threat to go into Eastlands and grab a win.

Roberto Mancini may elect to give a night off to some of the guys who have played all three matches so far — specifically Caros Tévez and Yaya Touré. With City having just one away goal, however, I expect Mancini to go fairly conservative with his team selection. It sounds crazy, but injuries actually are forcing his hand a little bit, with City’s 25-man registered squad missing Aleksandar Kolarov, Wayne Bridge, Jérôme Boateng, Michael Johnson, and Mario Balotelli due to injuries and Robinho in mothballs.

There was a lot of talk today at the pre-match press conference about Jô. It’s possible the Brazilian could start, but I’m thinking Mancini will go with something like this:

It would be great to watch a nice, comfortable win, but I have a feeling this one won’t be truly over until a late goal makes it 2-0 to the home side. I’ll just settle for avoiding a loss that would knock the Europa League favorites out of the competition before it even officially begins and giving all the haters exactly what they want in the process.

I’ll be watching via MCFC.com.

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