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Oct 5, 2012

Zabaleta: City can still qualify

Pablo Zabaleta remains confident over Manchester City's chances of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.

Premier League champions City have been drawn alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in undoubtedly the hardest group in this year's competition, and they have not made a promising start, taking just one point from their opening two games.

After failing to make it past the group stage last season, there is pressure on Roberto Mancini's side to fare better this time around, but in order to do that they must secure positive results in their back-to-back games against Ajax.

Zabaleta is confident that is something they are capable of achieving, saying: "We know we can do better. It is time to work hard and try to improve. We know it is going to be very difficult but we have to believe. "We need to go to Amsterdam now and try to win. With only one point we have the pressure, but we need to be positive."

City were indebted to goalkeeper Joe Hart for keeping them in the contest as they clinched a 1-1 draw against German champions Dortmund. The England No. 1 produced a string of world-class saves and, although he could not prevent Marco Reus scoring, his efforts were not in vain as Mario Balotelli struck a late penalty.

"The only positive point for us is that we took one point from the game," Zabaleta reflected. "It was a really tough game - we knew that before the game, they are a good side, but obviously we are disappointed because it is the Champions League and we need to try to win the home games.

"Overall they were better than us but Joe Hart was fantastic. He showed he's one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. We have to thank him for the performance he gave."

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