Man City Manager Manuel Pellegrini Criticizes State Of CSKA Moscow Pitch
Man City Manager Manuel Pellegrini "has ploughed into UEFA over the state of the Moscow pitch" on which City faced a "crucial" Champions League game Wednesday night, according to Stuart Brennan of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. The "normally calm, collected Chilean was clearly angry that the European governing body, despite several inspections, has allowed the clash with CSKA to go ahead on a threadbare playing surface." The stadium owners have spent the last month "frantically trying to re-seed the playing surface and re-grow the grass at the Arena Khimki." Some grass has grown, "but there are bare patches all over the field, and sand has been liberally scattered to cover up the gaps." All of CSKA's home games, and those of Dynamo who share the stadium, "have been switched to protect the surface." UEFA has inspected the pitch several times, the last being toward the end of last week, when it pronounced that "it would be playable." Pellegrini got his first glimpse of the pitch Tuesday night "when City insisted on training there," despite requests from CSKA and from UEFA for them to go elsewhere. Pellegrini: "I just saw the pitch, and I think it's unbelievable that the most important cup competition in the world is allowed to be played on this pitch" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/23). In a separate piece, Brennan wrote CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutsky conceded the pitch "is in a poor state." Slutsky admitted that "it is far from ideal and knows he must both contend with that and try to address the poor form of his side ahead of City's visit." Slutsky said: "I suppose the quality of the pitch is, absolutely, equal to the quality of our latest results" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/23).
GOING GREEN: The London GUARDIAN reported CSKA Moscow has answered criticism of its pitch "by taking the only logical way out -- painting it green." CSKA has "sprayed the pitch with green dye in an attempt to cover up the sandy surface" (GUARDIAN, 10/23).
RACISM ACCUSATION: In London, Stuart James reported Man City captain Yaya Touré has called on UEFA to "take tough action against CSKA Moscow, including the possibility of closing their stadium for a couple of years," after sections of the Russian club's supporters subjected him "to racist abuse on Wednesday night." The "monkey chants," which Touré reported to the referee during the game, "overshadowed a crucial 2-1 victory" for Man City (GUARDIAN, 10/23).