Balotelli off as brave City fail in Europe

Manchester City 1 Dynamo Kiev 0 (Dynamo Kiev win 2-1 on aggregate)

Ten-man Manchester City's brave effort to reach the Europa League quarter-finals failed at Eastlands tonight with striker Mario Balotelli cast in the role as villain.

Two goals down from the first leg in Kiev, Balotelli left his team-mates to battle on for almost an hour without him after he was sent off for planting his studs into Goran Popov's chest and thigh.

Although they quickly made light of Balotelli's absence to pull a goal back through Aleksandar Kolarov, City eventually ran out of steam and ideas against a team content to soak up pressure.

It leaves Roberto Mancini's men to look ahead to maintain the fight for a Champions League spot, knowing their only realistic chance of silverware now lies in the FA Cup, where they will face Manchester United in a Wembley semi-final next month.

Having suffered an allergic reaction to the grass in Kiev, Balotelli was restored to the City starting line-up, with Mancini doubtless expecting a more meaningful contribution.

The controversial Italian should have achieved that aim after only three minutes.

David Silva has edged even Carlos Tevez as City's man-of-the-season so far this term and the brilliant Spaniard flicked a superb pass to Micah Richards, who quickly curled a low cross to the far post.

The only words of redemption were that Balotelli ended up with less time than it initially appeared he would have as Dynamo defenders closed in.

Still, inside the six-yard box, the 20-year-old should have found the net instead of lifting a woefully disappointing effort over the bar.

What a difference that would have made to the tie.

It allowed Kiev to settle into a rhythm of soaking up pressure, whilst attempting to hit their opponents on the break to grab an away goal that would kill the contest.

Balotelli nodded Kolarov's corner over from close range, then got in the way of a Silva piledriver that was off target anyway.

It was an eventful half hour for a player who seems to attract attention like paper clips to a magnet.

And it came to a suitably ridiculous conclusion with his red card.

Balotelli expressed surprise when Cuneyt Cakir dispatched him to the dressing room, and Mancini was not very impressed either.

However, after sticking his studs into Popov's chest, very much in the manner of City team-mate Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final, then planting them on the defender's thigh for good measure, it was difficult to see what alternative the Turkish official had been left with.

It seemed like the end of any City hopes of progressing. Such is the quirky nature of this club they instantly halved the deficit.

Kolarov strode onto a short free-kick with relish and belted a low shot through a posse of defenders, catching goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyi totally by surprise as it flew through his dismal attempt to save.

After spending so long complaining of the tiredness being felt by his squad, Mancini was now faced with the prospect of urging his remaining 10 men for greater effort.

Richards powered a header over after climbing to reach Silva's free-kick, before the Spain star attempted to check back onto his left foot after an opening had been created that invited an effort with his right.

The more desperate City became, the easier Kiev found it to make chances amid a growing number of yellow cards.

Joleon Lescott headed a Denys Garmash effort off the line, not long after the Kiev man had replaced Andriy Shevchenko.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Mancini had claimed he did not have another player who could change a game like Adam Johnson.

He must have spent the intervening period mulling this over because not only did Mancini name the former Middlesbrough man on the bench after previously declaring it would be better to let his ankle injury recover fully during the international break, he brought him on with 20 minutes to go.

Edin Dzeko followed soon afterwards as Mancini shed his cautious image.

But with legs tiring badly, the urgency had disappeared from City's play.

Dzeko did create one last chance for himself in stoppage time but neither he, nor Yaya Toure with his even later free-kick could not prevent the Blues from bowing out.

Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home