Champions League football is back at the Etihad for a ninth straight campaign. Following a hard-fought 3-1 victory away against Everton, Manchester City host Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb for the first time.
Two sides that opened their European account with victories clash Tuesday night in Manchester. City will be looking to secure another three points in a Group C that should allow for relatively easy progression into the knockout stage.
Many pegged Zagreb as the side most likely to finish at the bottom of Group C, although a convincing 4-0 victory at home against Atalanta proved the Croatian club are no pushovers. City will be heavily favoured heading into the match, especially considering it’s played at home. Despite this, Guardiola’s side would be wise not to take any match for granted as they continue a busy run of fixtures of late.
Manchester City remains without the services of centre-back John Stones at least until after the international break. Similarly, Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte have been ruled out for the foreseeable future and are not likely to be back until the new year. Despite dropping to the bench last time out against Everton, Sergio Agüero will be back into the line-up Tuesday night.
Dinamo Zagreb currently has no injuries worth noting and should field a side similar to the one that won 4-0 Friday evening in Croatia against NK Lokomotiva.
Since their shock defeat at Carrow Road, the Cityzens have won four straight matches, scoring 17 goals and conceding just once in the process. In Europe, City’s last match was a 3-0 victory in Ukraine vs. Shakhtar Donetsk.
Dinamo Zagreb comes into the match in fine form as well having won four of their last five across all competitions, outscoring their opponents 16-1 along the way.
The Managers Thoughts
Pep Guardiola was quick to defend Fernandinho in the post-match press conference following the Everton match. After the Brazilian was involved in the breakdown on the Toffees lone goal, his manager confirmed he would still suit up at centre-back once again Tuesday night. Guardiola also added the club was hopeful Stones will be fit to return to action following the upcoming international break.
Ahead of Tuesday’s clash, Dinamo Zagreb manager Nenad Bjelica told Croatian TV Network RTL his side are “the only ones who believe in ourselves and a positive result.” Bjelica went on to add his side are set on getting a second straight result in Europe, this time away in Manchester. He acknowledged however the difficulty of the task saying “Manchester City is one or two levels higher than Atalanta, so we really need a top performance to get a positive result.”
Serdar Gözübüyük leads an all-Dutch officiating crew as the man in the middle, with Jan de Vries and Charles Schaap his assistants and Jochem Kamphuis in charge of VAR duties. Kickoff is set for 8 pm local time at the Etihad.
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