Man City held by Napoli on Champions League debut

Aleksander Kolarov's late free kick cancelled out Edinson Cavani's goal as Manchester City started their first-ever Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw with Napoli on Wednesday.

Updated: September 15, 2011 09:50 IST
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Manchester: Aleksander Kolarov's late free kick cancelled out Edinson Cavani's goal as Manchester City started their first-ever Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw with Napoli on Wednesday.

After both teams had hit the bar, Cavani gave the Serie A side a deserved lead after a quick counter-attack midway through the second half at the Etihad Stadium.

But former Lazio defender Kolarov scored with a fine curling effort to earn City, who are second in the Premier League due to goal difference, a point.

The two teams trail Bayern Munich, who top Group A after winning 2-0 at Villarreal.

City took little time to find their feet and Samir Nasri went close for Roberto Mancini's team after just a couple of minutes.

Sergio Aguero clipped a pass into Edin Dzeko and Nasri seized on the loose ball with a low shot that flew just past the post.

Dzeko also managed to head wide of goal after he was picked out, unmarked, by a Nasri corner.

The Bosnian did much better when he robbed Gozhan Inler and received a return pass from Aguero before just missing the far post with a cross-shot.

But the visitors should have taken the lead when Vincent Kompany slipped in front of Juan Zuniga's pass and Ezequiel Lavezzi's shot bounced away off the bar.

Lavezzi also went close with a 25-yard effort shortly after as Napoli began to threaten for the first time.

City hit the bar themselves after their own quick counter-attack, which started with a poorly-struck Marek Hamsik corner.

Yaya Toure received the ball on the edge of the box and played through for Aguero.

The Argentinian calmly held the ball up and pulled back for Toure, whose curling effort glanced the cross-bar on its way over.

Five minutes before half time, Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis had to tip away Kolarov's free kick after it just evaded Joleon Lescott.

After the restart, Aguero failed to get a shot away from close range before Paulo Cannavaro blocked Gareth Barry's follow-up.

But Napoli went even closer when Hamsik's shot from a narrow angle was cleared off the line by Kompany with goalkeeper Joe Hart beaten.

Aguero also had an effort deflected on to the roof of the net after Cannavaro blocked his attempts to turn Pablo Zabaleta's cross into the net.

Lescott thumped a header wide after being picked out by the resulting corner from Kolarov.

Walter Gargano also saw a low effort from 25 yards fly just past Hart's goal before Nasri went close at the other end as the two sides continued to trade attempts.

Substitute Blerim Dzemaili also tried his luck from 30 yards but failed to test Hart as Napoli started to enjoy more and more possession in the attacking third of the field.

Zabaleta also did well to slide in and divert Hamsik's shot over the bar after another swift break from the Italians.

But after Barry gave the ball away in midfield, Christiano Maggio tore into the City half and slid a pass through for Cavani, who slid a calm finish past Hart.

Hamsik went close to adding a second when he found space in the area only to shoot side from a tight angle from 15 yards.

Aguero was denied by the bar once again when his stab at goal from Nasri's cross came back off the woodwork.

But with 16 minutes remaining Serbian left-back Kolarov curled in a free kick from just outside the area to pull City level.

Carlos Tevez replaced Dzeko for the final 10 minutes and Toure and Aguero both missed with hopeful, late efforts.

Kompany almost gifted the visitors a winner when his under-hit back-pass fell for Goran Pandev but Hart was out quickly to block the Napoli forward.

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