Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and Atletico Madrid lie in wait following Manchester City's miscalculations
City's failure to score a fourth goal and subsequently leapfrog Bayern Munich in Group D could have huge implications for their Champions League hopes
Wednesday 11 December 2013
Both Manuel Pellegrini and James Milner played down Manchester City’s failure to score a crucial fourth goal that would have elevated them above Bayern Munich in Group D of the Champions League, but the repercussions could be a lot worse than many feared at the time.
With top goalscorer Sergio Aguero on the bench and City leading Bayern 3-2, Pellegrini’s side needed just one more goal to overhaul the defending champions. However, instead of introducing Aguero, the Chilean brought on defensive midfielder James Rodwell for striker Edin Dzeko, in a ploy to try and hold on for a famous win.
Both Pellegrini and match-winner Milner admitted after that there was some confusion as to whether City needed to win by two or three goals, with clarification coming after that 4-2 would have been enough to overtake Bayern on away goals in the head-to-head battle.
As it stands City now face a daunting draw against one of four sides due to the ruling that a side cannot be drawn against another team from the same league or the club they played in the group stages.
Providing both Arsenal and Chelsea hold onto their top positions, and with Manchester United securing their place as group winners with the victory over Shakhtar Donetsk last night, City suddenly find their options very limited.
They of course cannot meet Bayern Munich again until the quarter-finals, leaving them the pick of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris St-Germain and either Barcelona or AC Milan. With 20 Champions League titles between Real, Barcelona and Milan – PSG and Atletico are yet to taste success – City would certainly be up against it ahead of their first ever appearance in the last 16.
Should Arsenal slip-up, either Borussia Dortmund or Napoli would be added to that list, with the German’s finishing last season as runner-up to rivals Bayern, while Chelsea could lose out to Basle or Schalke, who would on paper provide an easier path to the last eight.
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