Image: Sky Sports News
Prior to Manchester City’s Champions League clash at CSKA Moscow, the Russian hosts came under fire for the terrible field conditions at Khimki Arena.
Because Khimki hosts both CSKA and city rivals Dynamo Moscow’s matches, the pitch has gotten increasingly worse from persistent heavy rain and a packed schedule. It also hasn’t helped that the Luzhniki Stadium, which regularly hosts Champions League games and could have eased the amount of fixtures at Khimki, is being rebuilt ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
As a result, CSKA were forced to play their last Champions League match in St. Petersburg, and City were asked to not train on the pitch on Tuesday night to help keep it somewhat playable.
Even so, at the mere sight of the pitch, City manager Manuel Pellegrini was incensed:
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.
We must pray on Wednesday that it’s not raining. If it’s raining, it will be impossible to play on this pitch.
It could be called off. I didn’t believe it when I saw the pitch, both for the two teams and also for the people who will watch the game.
Don’t worry, folks; CSKA’s groundskeepers had the perfect solution to make the pitch more Champions League-worthy: paint the grass green!
There, perfect new pitch. Sort of:
In the end, it didn’t matter for City, who won 2-1 despite a few late chances for the Moscow club. CSKA might want to work on their unconventional grounds-keeping practices to avoid a green-tainted mess like this in the future.