Manchester City v CSKA Moscow: Manuel Pellegrini tells CSKA to stop being in denial on racial abuse

Midfielder Yaya Toure was abused by CSKA fans in Moscow

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, has backed the punishment handed out to CSKA Moscow  for the racial abuse suffered by Yaya Touré and said he cannot understand why the Russian side tried to deny it.

In the aftermath of the monkey chants directed at Touré during City’s 2-1 win in Moscow last month, CSKA rejected anything untoward had happened and claimed that the midfielder was the only one on the pitch who had heard the abuse.

Follow the latest news from tonight's Champions League ties, including Manchester United and Manchester City

Their punishment was to have part of their ground, the Khimki Arena, closed for their next Champions League fixture which since it is against Bayern Munich will not help City if they hope to win the group.

“The fans of CSKA made an important mistake,” said Pellegrini. “As for the club, I don’t know why they denied it at the beginning but Uefa acted and gave them the punishment they deserved. I hope we can leave it in the past but it is something for Russian fans to consider because they have a World Cup in their country.”

Touré will once more form the pivot of City’s midfield against CSKA, although Pellegrini thinks it unlikely he will be distracted by any reckless need to take revenge. The prize of overseeing a first qualification for the knockout phases of the Champions League is far greater.  “Maybe Yaya can’t forget what happened in Russia,” he said. “But this will be a special match for him because Manchester City can go to the next stage. He will be only thinking about football.”

CSKA would have been right to claim that not everyone on the pitch heard the taunts. Matija Nastasic, who was part of the City defence that night, said he was unaware of the furore until it appeared in the media. However, their defence that only Touré heard them was roundly rejected by a Uefa commission which ruled that CSKA should become the eighth club this season to have their ground fully or partially closed because of racial chanting.

It is highly unlikely there will be a repetition at the Etihad Stadium on Bonfire Night, not least because there have been only 500 tickets sold for the away end. City said their stewards will enforce the club’s zero tolerance policy for racism that they employ at all home games.

The match cannot fail to be a more testing examination of Costel Pantilimon’s ability than Saturday’s 7-0 massacre of Norwich which saw Joe Hart’s understudy given precisely one serious shot to save, which may in any case have been going wide.

Pellegrini said Hart had reacted well to his demotion and added he might even have welcomed the break. “Joe is a professional player,” said his manager. “For him it is also a good thing to have a rest after playing so many matches. Nobody wants to be left out but he thinks it will be useful for him.”

Should City win they will be guaranteed qualification for last 16 of the Champions League, an express aim of the club’s owners which previous manager Roberto Mancini, for all his  domestic success, failed to fulfil.

Pablo Zabaleta was signed by Mark Hughes just before the Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 and he more than  anyone in Pellegrini’s squad would understand just what victory would mean. In the long term it would help improve the club’s Uefa coefficient which determines in what pot they find themselves come the draw.

In the short term it would give them a chance of glory. Jürgen Klopp, the Borussia Dortmund manager,  remarked last year that if City ever did get through the group stages, they would be a match for any club.

“Our performances in Europe were really poor over the last two years,” said Zabaleta. “But in the last four or five years this club has been improving incredibly. We know the owners have been spending too much money to try to have one of the best teams in Europe. Sometimes, it takes time. We won the FA Cup and the Premier League but it is time for this club to take a step forward. Hopefully, in the next few years we can be one of the top clubs in Europe.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot