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Villa see off FCB's rivals

City face Bayern on back of defeat

Bayern won their last match prior to the next Champions League showdown by the only goal of a hard-fought game against Wolfsburg, but four days before taking on the Bundesliga giants, Manchester City slumped to an unexpected defeat. In Saturday’s fixture away to 1982 European Cup winners Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham, the English Premier League runners-up twice led but were ultimately beaten 3-2, sliding from third to fifth in the standings as a result.

City initially looked comfortable against the side lying 13th in the standings. Visiting coach Manuel Pellegrini, who kept Sergio Agüero in reserve for the Bayern clash, saw his team dominate the first half with ease. Yaya Touré reacted first to a Sami Nasri corner and put away the 12th and final shot of the first 45 minutes, handing his side an overdue half-time lead.

Five minutes after the restart, the home side were suddenly back in it when Karim El Ahmadi equalised, although there was a suspicion of offside about the goal. The Blues responded and regained the lead six minutes later, Edin Dzeko using the back of his head to turn another Nasri corner over the line. Alvaro Negredo then spurned a glorious chance to hand his side a two-goal cushion after 59 minutes.

Instead, the game took an unexpected twist when Leandro Bacuna made it 2-2 with a 73rd-minute free-kick, before Austrian striker Andreas Weimann turned the match on its head three minutes later, exploiting the City defenders’ failure to deal with a long ball and putting Villa 3-2 up.

Pellegrini’s team were reeling and proved unable to recover from the claret-and-blue double whammy. City won the shot count 21-8, had 13 corners to the home side’s two, and controlled 67 percent of the possession, but still fell to their second league defeat of term. Six matches into the campaign, the 2011/12 Premier League champions are still looking for their first away win.

Man City line-up away to Aston Villa:

Hart - Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov - Milner, Fernandinho, Y. Touré, Nasri (Navas 65) - Negredo (Jovetic 74), Dzeko