Belfast Telegraph

Jo swoops to ensure that Manchester City are tops

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expressed his delight after his team finished top of Group A in the Europa League.

They will now go into the hat for the round of 32 today in confident mood following Jo's equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Juventus in Turin.

It meant City edged out Lech Poznan on goal difference to claim pole position after Niccolo Giannetti had opened the scoring for the home side.

However, Mancini's men battled back in the second half, with Jo pulling them level in the 77th minute with a cool finish following a cross from Adam Johnson.

Mancini said: “I am very happy, because we wanted this, and it was very important to finish top of the group.

“We have a chance to go all the way, but it is important to have a good draw for the next round, and after that we will see.

“Juventus have a good team, and we started very well. It was strange to concede the goal, but we played well, and for me this is important.

“I did not expect to play against such a strong Juventus team. Our players showed good character, and we hope to carry on like this. But in the end I think we deserved a draw, minimum.”

It was Jo's second goal in the competition, and Mancini was pleased for a player who once seemed surplus to requirements.

“I have known Jo for five years,” said the City boss.

“He played against Inter in the Champions League and scored two goals. He was young, but he was a good player, and he is still a good player.

“He played the last two games for us and did not score. But he has done very well, so I am pleased he has scored tonight.”

City included a number of fringe players in their starting XI, including young striker Alex Nimely.

Johnson said: “I think a lot of players wanted to prove themselves and show what they could do. I thought with the chances we created we should have scored a few more goals.”

It was an emotional night for Johnson, who admitted he was close to not playing following the death on Tuesday of Rushden and Diamonds goalkeeper Dale Roberts, a childhood friend of his, at the age of 24.

“It was hard before the game trying to play,” he said.

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