Alex Livesey

UEFA Champions League: Manchester City crashing out, other big sides disappoint

Manchester City, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Arsenal all disappointed their fans with draws on Tuesday. The Citizens were the biggest losers, and will now need an improbable miracle to get out of their group.

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26 Total Updates since November 6, 2012
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City the walking dead in Europe after Ajax draw

Even though they did enough to avoid elimination, Manchester City are virtually done in Champions League after drawing with Ajax.

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Anderlecht get a rare Champions League win

Dieudonné Mbokani's first half goal was all Anderlecht needed to sink Zenit

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Draw enough for Malaga against Milan

Malaga conceded their first goal of the group stages, but did enough to hold on for a draw. The result moves Malaga to the verge of qualifying for the Round of 16.

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Ozil shines, saves point for Madrid

Mesut Ozil was Real Madrid's hero, setting up one goal and scoring the equalizer in Real Madrid's 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund.

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Dortmund lead Madrid 2-1 at the half

Real Madrid are once again getting carved up by Borussia Dortmund, and their injury bug is partially to blame. Without Sami Khedira or a real left back, Madrid has been poor defensively. They exploited some lax set piece defending by BVB for one goal, but the visitors have generally been the better side and deserve their 2-1 lead.

Marco Reus opened the scoring with an absolute stunner in the 28th minute, and it was well deserved. The double pivot of Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric simply isn't good enough defensively to deal with Dortmund's attack through the middle, and Madrid were lucky to last that long without conceding.

Following a corner kick, Mesut Ozil found Pepe to level the match for Madrid in the 34th minute. Raphael Varane won the ball on the top of the box after the corner and found Ozil, who swung a ball into the central defender for a fairly simple finish. Madrid couldn't hold on until halftime, however, and got ripped up on the counter in stoppage time. Kevin Grosskreutz found Mario Gotze in the winner for the go-ahead goal, though replays showed that Alvaro Arbeloa got the final touch, and the goal is likely to be changed to an own goal post-match.

To start the second half, Madrid have made two changes, bringing on Michael Essien and Jose Callejon for Luka Modric and Gonzalo Higuain.

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City trail Ajax at halftime

Manchester City might not be mathematically eliminated from Champions League on Tuesday, but they'll be all but done in the competition unless they can put together a great second half performance against Ajax. They scored once in the first half, but allowed two goals on set pieces, and Ajax lead 2-1.

Siem de Jong stunned the hosts in the 10th minute with a fantastic finish on a corner kick. Niklas Molsander created the chance by winning the ball in the center of the area and poking to the far post, where de Jong netted a sliding finish from an incredibly narrow angle. He completed a brace and doubled his team's lead seven minutes afterward on another corner. City did a terrible job of marking his near post run, and he was virtually uncontested on his header.

City pulled one back through Yaya Toure in the 22nd minute, and it was a beauty. A diagonal into the box by Samir Nasri, which was deflected backwards towards Toure, created the chance. The Ivorian chested down, turned and placed a spectacular half-volley finish into the net, giving City some hope, but they'll need to perform much better in the second half to keep their European hopes alive.

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Anchovies lead at the San Siro

I doubt Manuel Pellegrini could have asked for a better first half at the San Siro. Despite the fact Malaga were a little shaky at times in the defense and sloppy with their passing on the attack, the Spanish side leads 1-0 thanks to a some excellent work from Isco and Elisu.

Milan's best chance came in the 26th minute after Pato was fouled, giving the Rossoneri a set piece in the attacking third. Urby Emanuelson's free kick looked destined for the upper left corner of the goal, but was pushed away for a corner by an excellent save from a fully extended Wilfredo Caballero.

Malaga took the lead five minutes from halftime. Isco went right through the Milan defense, running past a couple half-hearted challenges before finding Eliseu who'd snuck in behind Kevin Constant and beat Christian Abbiati with a low shot to the far post. Constant will likely hear it from his head coach at the break after he moved way to far inside and left a ton of open space on the right side of the box for Eliseu to run in to.

It should also be noted that known uber-friendly midfielder Nigel De Jong was shown a yellow card after a reckless elbow that ended up smashing Manuel Iturra in the face. Shocking right?

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Paris Saint-Germain vs. Dinamo Zagreb: Lineups

Zlatan Ibrahimovic might be banned in Ligue 1 after a bit of kung-fu action over the weekend, but he's available for the Champions League and therefore Paris Saint-Germain are going to deploy him against a Dinamo Zagreb defence that was already going to be terrified of the Swede before he started kicking people in the face. The visitors are playing an ultra-defensive 5-3-2, as well they should at the Parc des Princes. Of course, PSG are one of those teams that it's possible to frustrate and annoy, so maybe the hosts can manage it. It's probably not something you should be betting much money on, mind.

Paris Saint-Germain (4-3-3): Salvatore Sirigu; Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Alex, Christophe Jallet; Adrien Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi, Mohammed Sissoko; Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jeremy Menez.

Dinamo Zagreb (5-3-2): Ivan Kelava; Josip Pivaric, Ante Puljic, Josip Simunic, Domagoj Vida, Sime Vrsaljko; Marcelo Brozovic, Arijan Ademi, Mateo Kovacic; Sammir, Ante Rukavina.

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Porto, Dynamo Kiev field attacking lineups

FC Porto have a ton of attacking talent in their ranks, but they're missing some players at the back. Dynamo Kiev are going with two strikers up top and they have a superstar in Andrei Yarmolenko on the left, so expect goals in this one. Dynamo are in serious need of a win to keep pace and give themselves a chance to get out of this group, while a draw will do just fine for Porto.

Dynamo Kiev starting lineup (4-4-2): Maksym Koval; Taye Taiwo, Taras Mykhalyk, Yevhen Khacheridi, Betao; Andrei Yarmolenko, Miguel Veloso, Ognjen Vukojevic; Oleh Gusev; Artem Milevskiy, Marco Ruben

FC Porto starting lineup (4-3-3): Helton; Danilo, Eliaquim Mangala, Abdoulaye Ba, Nicolas Otamendi; Lucho Gonzalez, Joao Moutinho, Steven Defour; James Rodriguez, Jackson Martinez, Silvestre Varela

Expect to see plenty of tactical chances in the second half based on how this one plays out. While Porto aren't the type of team to sit on a lead, it might be beneficial if they get one in this case, given their situation and their untested defense.

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Olympiacos vs. Montpellier: Lineups

And now for the game that doesn't really matter in Group B. Sure, Olympiacos are hosting Montpellier and there's theoretically a Europa League spot at stake, but I don't think anyone really expects either side to be qualifying for the Champions League knockout rounds, and nobody really cares about the Europa League anyway. Personally, I find myself massively disinterested in Montpellier games that don't involve the awesome figure of John Utaka, which this one doesn't, but such is life. At least Younes Belhanda is around.

For Olympiacos, they have... erm, well Kostas Mitroglou is kind of fun, I suppose. Still don't expect much flair in this game. At least it'll be closely fought.

Olympiacos (4-2-3-1): Roy Carroll; Jose Holebas, Dimitrios Siovas, Kostas Manolas, Vasilis Torosidis; Francois Modesto, Giannis Maniatis; Leandro Greco, Paulo Machado, Djamel Abdoun; Kostas Mitroglou.

Montpellier (4-2-3-1): Geoffrey Jourdren, Henri Bedimo, Hilton, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Garry Bocaly; Jamelle Saihi, Joris Marveaux; Antony Mounier, Younes Belhanda, Remy Cabella; Souleymane Camara.

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Schalke vs. Arsenal: Lineups

Arsenal travel to Germany hoping to avenge their 2-0 loss at home to Schalke 04 two weeks ago, and they'll try to do so with a front four of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla. There's enough firepower there to put a major dent in the Bundesliga side's back line, so the visitors will have to hope that their wobbly-looking defensive unit will be able to hold out against Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

If it doesn't Schalke will almost certainly win Group B. Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny in particular need to up their game if the Gunners want to avoid a difficult draw in the knockout round.

Schalke 04 (4-2-3-1): Lars Unnerstall, Christian Fuchs, Joel Matip, Benedict Howedes, Atsuto Uchida; Roman Neustadter, Jermaine Jones; Ibrahim Afellay, Lewis Holtby, Jefferson Farfan; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Vito Mannone; Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna; Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere; Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott; Olivier Giroud

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Milan go young, attacking against Malaga

Malaga have nine points from their first three games in Champions League, and may run away from their group if they're able to avoid defeat away to Milan today. It's been a disastrous start to the season in the league and Champions League for Max Allegri, but they've turned around their domestic form late, thanks to their young attackers. The pressure is on their front three to score on Tuesday night against an average Malaga defense, but the Spanish side will feel there are goals in the match for them too.

AC Milan starting lineup (4-3-3): Christian Abbiati; Kevin Constant; Philippe Mexès, Daniele Bonera, Ignazio Abate; Nigel De Jong, Riccardo Montolivo, Urby Emmanuelson; Alexandre Pato, Bojan Krkić, Stephan El Shaarawy

Malaga starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Willy Caballero; Jesus Gamez, Weligton, Martin Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez; Ignacio Camacho, Manuel Iturra; Eliseu, Isco, Joaquin; Javier Saviola

Kickoffi is at 8:45 local time, 2:45 p.m. ET from San Siro in Milan. You can catch the game on FOX Soccer 2 Go in the U.S.

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Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund: Lineups

Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid two weeks ago was plenty of fun, but I wouldn't expect a repeat of BVB's win at the Westfallonstadion today. That's despite Madrid being worryingly light on players -- Jose Mourinho's having to play his starting right back on the left, a centre back on the right and is missing his usual starter at centre forward on top of that.

Meanwhile, Dortmund look pretty strong, although the inclusion of Sebastian Kehl in the central midfield over Sven Bender's a bit of a surprise. One can't imagine Jurgen Klopp will be expecting too much out of the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, but if the visitors can snatch a draw they'll be sitting very pretty atop Group D.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Iker Casillas; Alvero Arbeloa, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Sergio Ramos; Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria; Gonzalo Higuain.

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Roman Weidenfeller; Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Lukasz Piszczek; Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gundogan; Kevin Grosskreutz, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze; Robert Lewandowski.

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City opt for back four, Tevez partnered with Kun

The exact setup of Manchester City's lineup isn't entirely obvious, but the players are a lot more relevant than the formation, as always. In the absence of James Milner and David Silva, Roberto Mancini has opted to go with Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez in his attack. Yaya Toure will be the most attacking of his midfield trio. City will start with a back four, but who knows how long that will last. Ajax's team is in a 4-3-3 as always.

Manchester City starting lineup (4-3-1-2): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Pablo Zabaleta; Javi Garcia, Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure; Samir Nasri; Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez

Ajax starting lineup (4-3-3): Kenneth Vermeer; Daley Blind, Toby Alderwiereld, Niklas Moisander, Ricardo van Rijhn; Christian Poulsen, Lasse Schone, Christian Eriksen; Siem de Jong, Dirk Boerrigter, Ryan Babel

You can catch this game on FOX Soccer and ITV 1. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. local time at Eastlands, 2:45 p.m. ET.

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Can Mancini save his job?

In four Champions League appearances with Inter Milan and two with Manchester City, Roberto Mancini has disappointed. Does he need a miracle to save his job? Is a miracle enough?

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City in dire need of a victory

Ajax stunned City in Amsterdam during the last matchday, and might need to do it again if they want to continue in Europe past December.

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Injury-riddled Madrid still expect win

Injuries are hampering Real Madrid, but their fans will still expect a home win over Borussia Dortmund.

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Paris Saint-Germain face simple Dinamo Zagreb test

Paris Saint-Germain face what should be an easy victory as they take on Dinamo Zagreb at Parc des Princes tonight.

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Malaga have the chance run away with Group C

Malaga will be looking to take another step towards the Round of 16 while Milan need a result to get kickstart their Champions League campaign

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Hulk no smash for Zenit in must-win match

Zenit will be looking to save their Champions League hopes with a win but they'll to do it without their leadings scorer Hulk who is out injured.

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Dynamo Kiev in need of a win against Porto

Dynamo Kiev almost certainly need a win against in-form Porto to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages alive.

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Schalke look to humiliate Arsenal once more

Schalke 04 came away from the Emirates Stadium with a 2-0 victory in October to open up a two-point gap at the summit of Group B. If they can repeat that achievement on Tuesday, they'll have the top spot essentially sewn up.

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Olympiacos, Montpellier battle for Europa slot

Let's be honest: Neither of these teams are capable of breaking into the knockout rounds of this year's Champions League. This match is for the booby prize.

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