MOSCOW: Sometimes Michel Platini must feel he cannot win. For years UEFA was criticised for turning a blind eye to racist behaviour by fans and even players. Now Vincent Kompany has criticised the use of a closed door punisnments after Manchester City’s 2:2 Champions League draw at CSKA Moscow.
Kompany said City had been punished unfairly because their own fans were supposedly banned from the stadium which had been shut because of previous CSKA crowd problems.
However, it did appear that a sizeable number of the 650 people allowed into the Arena Khimki, possibly from an allocation of about 300 tickets set aside for sponsors, were CSKA fans.
“Why the hell do we not have any fans here?” asked the City captain. “What have our fans done wrong? There’s no fairness in it. You say ‘no fans’ so you turn up and the team who has no fans is Man City. So who’s getting punished? Who’s being done for racism, Manchester City or Moscow?
“It needs to be looked at, it needs to be changed. Our fans shouldn’t be punished.”
Manager Manuel Pellegrini had warned before the game that players find it difficult to maintain their concentration levels in empty stadia and his fears were justified as City dropped two points despite taking a two-goal lead in the first half.
The are without a win from their opening three games in Group E and in danger of missing out on a place in the second round. That would be a major personal setback for Pellegrini who had set a place in the semi-finals as City’s European target this season.
City are third after three games with their remaining matches at home to CSKA Moscow and FC Bayern before a conclusive and possible decisive visit to Roma.
In Group G Didier Drogba scored his first Chelsea goal since his decisive strike in the 2012 Champions League final as the Premier League leaders thrashed Maribor at Stamford Bridge to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
Drogba, whose final kick of his first spell was the last penalty in the shootout defeat of FC Bayern which saw Chelsea win the Champions League, replaced Loic Remy after 16 minutes and converted a spot-kick seven minutes later.
The Ivory Coast striker’s 158th Chelsea goal – he netted 157 goals in 341 appearances in his eight-year first spell – made it 2-0 after Remy’s opening strike and captain John Terry swiftly added a third after sprinting the length of the field.
Watching England manager Roy Hodgson would have been impressed, even though Terry’s controversial international career is over, as he watched a number of Slovenia players ahead of next month’s Euro 2016 qualifier.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refused to speculate about their title prospects. He said: “We have played three matches. To be in the final you have to play 12 and qualify for the final. Long way to go. “I think it’s premature to speak about that. We are not even qualified for the next phase.
“Step by step. First objective is to qualify, second objective is to finish first in the group.”
Maribor coach Ante Simundza was less reticent. He said: “It was obvious that this was a team that is a serious candidate to win the title in this year’s Champions League.