Poles on the slide before Blues trip
- Mon 18 Oct 2010, 11:51AM
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Lech Poznan will be trying to forget about their domestic problems when the Jekyll and Hyde Poles pitch up at the City of Manchester Stadium on Thursday night.
They might be arriving as early Europa League Group A leaders - unbeaten in two ties - but Poznan face the threat of a relegation battle back home after visitors Zaglebie Lubin left with the points at the weekend.
Matensz Bartczak scored the 74th-minute goal that sees the wilting champions tackle City from third-bottom spot in the table and facing a tough trip to our old friends Gornik Zabrze in their next league game on Sunday.
It's not going much better for Salzburg, the Blues' final group port of call in December, who contrived to lose at home for the first time this season in an increasingly poor Austrian Bundesliga campaign.
Salzburg dominated the game but were eventually condemned to a 2-0 defeat by a 92nd-minute strike by KSV Superfund's substitute that left their exasperated coach, Huub Stevens, lamenting a "disappointing performance."
He admitted afterwards: "We could have played on for two hours and we would not have scored. If we took two steps forward in the last game, we took three steps back today."
City's only European rivals making hay are Juventus, who have rejuvenated Alberto Aquilano following his disappointing form for Liverpool and swept to a 4-0 home win over Lecce in Serie A.
Aquilani, whose loan spell could well turn into a permanent transfer, was one of Juve's scorers along with Fabio Quagliarella, Felipe Melo from the penalty spot and veteran star Alessandro del Piero, who came off the bench.
Aquilani's resurgence in the black and white has even sparked talk of a call-up for Italy as Juve climb to fifth for a Scudettto challenge.