Borussia Dortmund 1 Manchester City 0

UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 4 December 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany (c), Lescott, Nastasic, Barry, Garcia, Nasri (Zabaleta 68), Sinclair (Aguero 57), Tevez, Dzeko (Balotelli 65)
Unused: Pantilimon, Meppen-Walter, Evans, Nimley
Booked: Garcia, Lescott, Balotelli

Referee: Milorad Mazic
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez


It was the visitors who started the game the brighter, with Gareth Barry winning the first corner as his free kick was nodded behind. From it, Dzeko couldn’t get his header on target. Two slack balls from Mats Hummels were nearly punished by Tevez, but Dzeko was twice offside in the build-up, before Hart had a routine save from a shot on the edge of the box.

With 20 minutes gone, City created their first good chance of the game. Lescott won the ball back on the half-way line, before finding Tevez. The Argentine knocked it on to Nasri, who played a lovely pass to send Dzeko through to the corner of the box. The Bosnian tried to return it to Tevez in the middle, but the final ball across was intercepted and put behind for a corner.

Just after the half hour, the visitors nicked the ball back in the Dortmund half and it broke to Dzeko in the middle of the half. He turned and smashed a shot at goal that might have dipped in, had it not been for the fingertips of Weidenfeller touching it around the post. The home side responded, though, as Reus cut inside Nastasic and unleashed a shot, that Hart needed the faintest of touches to divert it onto the post.

As half time approached, Dortmund began to step up the pressure on the City goal, but Perisic’s effort was well held by Hart. At the other end, Dzeko had the chance to slide a ball through to Tevez, but it was just cut out and put behind for a corner, with the Bosnian probably feeling like he should have taken on the shot.

Seconds after the break, City should have been in front. Tevez did well to win the ball and find Nasri on the left flank. He crossed into the six yard box and Dzeko got up above his marker to win the header, but it was straight at the goalkeeper, who held it well. Either side of him and it would have been a goal – the visitors should really have had the lead.

A minute later and it was Dortmund who should have had the opening goal. A free kick from the right wing was curled towards the back post where Hummels ghosted in, unmarked. He connected to the cross on the stretch, but couldn’t get enough of a touch to trouble Joe Hart, who was able to leave it to bounce behind.

Perisic produced a brilliant volley to smash a shot at goal, but City’s keeper was equal to it, pushing it over the bar. From that corner, the ball was worked to Grokreutz who managed to blast at the near post from inside the six yard box. A good arm from Hart, though, got the ball behind and Kompany was able to clear from the next flag kick. Dortmund were stepping it up.

That pressure told just before the hour mark. City were overran on the right flank and Blaszczykowski blazed past Barry to produce a fantastic low ball into the box. Kompany couldn’t cut it out, Hart couldn’t come for it and it left Schieber to touch it over the line. City’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League were hanging by a thread.

With 66 minutes played, Tevez could have pulled the visitors level. Good work by Aguero slid his fellow countryman through and he just ran at the Dortmund defence. He kept going through three challenges and got a shot off, that Weidenfeller saw late and had to spoon behind. Since going a goal ahead, though, Dortmund were looking far too comfortable for City’s liking.

City could have been further behind with eight minutes to play, as Lewandowski broke past Lescott and Nastasic. Hart was off his line to force him wide and, as the striker shot, the City keeper blocked it with his face. The Dortmund keeper responded similarly: Aguero go in behind the home side’s defence and shot, but Weidenfeller was there to block.

It was another game in the Champions League without a win for City, making them the first English side not to earn a victory in the group stages. All in all, it’s been a dismal campaign and the blues finished exactly where they deserved to over the six games: Bottom of the group.


Manchester City 1 Real Madrid 1

UEFA Champions League Group D
Wednesday 21 November 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Maicon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Kolarov (Garcia 45), Y Toure, Nasri (Tevez 60), Silva, Dzeko, Aguero (Milner 89)
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Barry, Sinclair
Goals: Aguero (pen 73)
Booked: Y Toure, Maicon, Nasri, Zabaleta, Garcia

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi
Man of the Match: David Silva

In a must-win game, City started quite brightly, though it did often feel like the team were always on the verge of the wheels falling off during the opening stages. Kolarov produced a free kick that needed Casillas to dive to punch away, before the left wing-back blocked brilliantly as Benzema blasted a shot after stepping past Nastasic.

But, with ten minutes played, City’s already difficult task became harder. From a right-wing cross, Benzema ghosted in, unmarked, at the back post. Kompany couldn’t stretch enough to head the ball clear, while Maicon was caught daydreaming and the Frenchman touched it past Hart, who could have come to collect the cross. It was another defensive mistake that had cost City another Champions League goal.

It could have been worse just two minutes later, as Ronaldo turned Kompany inside out on the left wing and crossed for Khedira to head at goal. Fortunately for the home side, his effort hit the side netting, though he should have done better. Nastasic did brilliantly to clear the ball from behind Hart after a Ronaldo lobbed the City keeper. It took another fantastic save from Hart to keep the ball out again, as Khedira waltzed through the back line, but the England international blocked the one-on-one.

At the other end, City were struggling. Aguero managed a shot from range that needed Casillas to tip it over the bar – though he would have been disappointed had it gone in – before the Argentine was forced wide on a breakaway and had to settle for a corner as his shot was deflected behind. Maicon should have pulled City level after trying the direct approach and breaking into the box, but he toe-poked wide.

Early in the second half, the home side were showing signs of improvement. Aguero couldn’t quite turn a Maicon cross into the net, before Silva broke into the box and the ball ran on to Aguero, but he couldn’t get it under control. It escaped his grasp and Casillas was able to block, before Silva found the goalkeeper’s hands after some neat work by Dzeko on the right flank.

Just after the hour mark, City would have been level but for a brilliant Casillas save. Maicon’s cross to the back post was deflected right into the path of Aguero and he seemingly had a tap-in. He side-footed the volley and got it on target, but, out of nowhere, Casillas arrived to scoop it off the line and Silva couldn’t force the rebound towards the net. City really should have equalised.

Ten minutes later and City had a golden chance to pull level. Arbeloa, who had already been booked in the first half, pulled down Aguero as he was played in on goal, and the Madrid man earned himself a second yellow card. City were awarded the penalty and Aguero dusted himself down to send the goalkeeper the wrong way. The hosts had pulled a goal back, but still needed another to keep any faint hopes of qualifying alive.

With ten minutes to play, Dzeko did well to get to the by-line and smash a cross through the six-yard box. However, unfortunately for City, Aguero couldn’t grow enough and couldn’t get the vital touch to take it into the net. Tevez then shot straight at Casillas after some great interplay between himself, Aguero and Zabaleta.

As the game entered stoppage time, it was now or never for the home side. Silva broke away from midfield and lofted a great ball over the top for Tevez to chase through on goal. Unfortunately, though, it bounced just too far ahead of the Argentine and that allowed Casillas to collect and the City striker couldn’t get a touch to take the ball into the net.

With that, City’s hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages disappeared and the highest they can finish in the group is third place. A win in Dortmund could see the blues in the Europa League, providing Ajax don’t win in Madrid. In truth, though, City haven’t been good enough in the groups and have been taught some very harsh lessons.

Manchester City 2 Ajax 2

UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 6 November 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Garcia (Balotelli 45), Y Toure, Barry (Kolarov 86), Nasri, Tevez (Dzeko 66), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Maicon, Sinclair, Meppen-Walters
Goals: Y Toure (22), Aguero (74)

Referee: Peter Rasmussen
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez

City started their must-win Champions League brightly, with Vermeer rushing out to steal the ball away from Tevez’s toe, before Zabaleta was neatly played through, but his effort on goal was well over the bar. But, completely against the run of play, City gave themselves work to do by switching off at a corner: de Jong was unmarked at the back post and reached the flick on before anybody else, lifting it over Hart into the roof of the net.

Any hopes of qualifying, though, looked to be on the ropes just seven minutes later. A second corner for the visitors and this time de Jong was left completely unmarked by Yaya Toure, who let him go at the front post and he nodded home from inside the six-yard box. With just 17 minutes played, City had a mountain to climb.

The response took five minutes. Yaya Toure finished brilliantly after a neat chest-trap to volley in at the near post, after Ajax couldn’t clear Nasri’s initial cross. With his back to goal, the Ivorian performed a semi-bicycle kick to leave Vermeer with no chance and halved the deficit.

The goal spurred the hosts on. Zabaleta almost created an equaliser just before the half hour, as he chipped the ball back into the middle from the by-line, but Barry couldn’t quite force it over the line. It wouldn’t have counted, though, as the referee had blown for a foul. The full back almost scored the equaliser two minutes later as he latched onto a Garcia cross, but couldn’t stretch enough to get decent power in his header.

City upped their game in the second half. Nastasic couldn’t keep a volley down from a Barry free kick that was nicely worked, before Yaya Toure smashed a free kick into the Ajax wall. From the rebound, Aguero found the net, but he was correctly flagged offside.

The visitors, though, weren’t out of it and fired a warning shot to City. Eriksen powered an effort at the home side’s net and it needed two strong hands from Hart to get it behind for a corner. De Jong was denied his hat-trick by a brilliant Hart save from a free kick, as the away side looked to put the game beyond doubt.

Aguero broke through the middle and got to the ball before Vermeer, taking it round the goalkeeper in the process. But, just as he was about to pull it back for a supporting player, he slipped and the chance had gone. A moment later, though, and the home side were level: Balotelli rose well to flick on a Hart clearance and Aguero out-paced the defence to get to the ball first. He found the bottom corner and the scores were all square.

With ten minutes to play, City were hunting for a winner to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Balotelli climbed highest in the box the head at goal from a Nasri free kick, but Vermeer was equal to it and pushed it away. Kolarov joined the action and almost immediately created a goal as he fired a wicked cross into the box, but Dzeko couldn’t touch it on target.

In the final minute of the game came the first of two controversial decisions. Dzeko did well to hold the ball up in the box before he laid it off to Kolarov. The Serbian’s cross was neatly converted by Aguero, but the celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag. He’d ruled Kolarov had been in an offside position when the ball to him was played, but it was the wrong call.

And, with the last kick of the game, City were denied a clear penalty. Dzeko flicked the ball to the back post after Hart had pumped a free kick long into the box. There, Balotelli controlled and tried to find a shot, but was hauled to the ground by the covering defender, who was also grabbing a handful of the Italian’s shirt. But, instead of awarding a penalty, the referee blew for full time, much to the annoyance of City’s players, fans and manager.

City can still qualify from the group, but it will require two wins from the final two games and results elsewhere to go in their favour. And, with some of the defensive errors that have been present in the blues’ Champions League campaign so far this season, those two wins feel like they’re a long way away. City cling on to their European lives by the skin of their teeth.

Ajax 3 Manchester City 1

UEFA Champions League Group D
Wednesday 24 October 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott (Kolarov 63), Clichy, Barry (Tevez 71), Milner (Balotelli 77), Y Toure, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Nastasic, Evans, Sinclair
Goals: Nasri (22)
Booked: Kolarov, Y Toure

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen
Man of the Match: Micah Richards

The early pressure of the tie came from the home side, with City starting off on the back foot. De Jong tried an effort from range after a neat one-two on the edge of the box, but it wasn’t troubling Joe Hart. Dzeko had the visitors’ first attempt on goal from a long way out and he dragged the shot well wide. Eriksen found space on the edge of the box and tried a blast at the top corner, but it curled away from the far post and behind.

Aguero took the ball from Barry on the edge of the Ajax box and carried it along the line. He had the ball just nicked away from him as he was about to pull the trigger, but it almost rebounded back into his path on the penalty spot. At the other end, a great tackle from Kompany thwarted a breakaway from the home side.

At the 20 minute mark, it was all the home side. Eriksen touched the ball superbly past Barry and found space in the middle of the City half. He shot from range and it had Hart worried, but it just slipped wide of the post. This followed de Jong not being able to grow tall enough to nod a cross at goal.

Two minutes later, the visitors had the lead, somewhat against the run of play. Richards produced a sublime pass into the path of Milner, who broke towards goal. His route was blocked off, but that allowed him to roll the ball into the path of Nasri on the left. The Frenchman shot first time and found the bottom corner.

Just before the half hour, it could have been two for City. Richards did well to steal the ball in midfield and knock it into space. He got on the end of it and, undecided whether to square or shoot, he took his time and, when he did unleash the shot, the goalkeeper was set and palmed it away. The rebound fell kindly for the home side to clear.

Van Rhijn flashed an effort over Hart’s bar from the right corner of the box after he had cut inside Clichy. It was a relief for City to watch it behind, with there being better options for the Dutchman square inside the box. Babel had a shot from long range and it was aimed at the bottom corner, but Hart got down well to hold on to the effort.

City had dropped too deep and minutes before half time, Ajax’s pressure paid off. Van Rhijn pulled a low ball into the box and de Jong, left unmarked to drift to the edge of the area, smashed a shot into the bottom corner. Hart had no chance and could only watch it hit the back of the net.

From kick off in the second half, City could have been back in front: Aguero was found in the area by Nasri and tried to poke it past the goalkeeper, but it was blocked. The ball found its way back to him and he tried to chip it back to Dzeko, who would have faced an open goal had the ball made it, but the cross was cut out.

Despite City’s early pressure in the second period, ten minutes after the break, the visitors were behind. It was a simple goal for the home side, Moisander was completely unmarked from a corner, finding space between Yaya Toure and Lescott. His flicked header from the cross was on target at the back post and flew past Hart, who was, once again, helpless.

With just under 20 minutes to play, City’s Champions League hopes were hanging by a thread. Barry slipped under pressure in the middle of midfield and the ball broke to Eriksen on the edge of the box. He took on Kompany, beating him too easily, and fired a shot towards the far corner. Clichy stuck out a foot and redirected the shot past Joe Hart who, once again, could do nothing about the goal.

A minute later and it could have been four for the home side. Sana beat Clichy with a quick one-two to set up a one-on-one with Hart. The England international was off his line quickly to block and keep the score at 3-1. Immediately, Dzeko could have pulled a goal back as he was played in over the top, but Vermeer saved. Dzeko then found himself one-on-one and tried to go around the goalkeeper, but he recovered well to save.

Yaya Toure pulled out a brilliant ball to Nasri in the area and the Frenchman should have had a penalty for a pull-back as he tried to shoot. The effort went well wide, thanks, in no small part, to the tug. Aguero tried a shot on the edge of the box, as Balotelli lost possession and the ball broke to the Argentine, but it flashed over the bar. City were out of luck and seemingly out of the Champions League.

Manchester City 1 Borussia Dortmund 1

UEFA Champions League Group D
Wednesday 3 October 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy (Balotelli 81), Y Toure, Garcia (Rodwell 34), Nasri (Kolarov 58), Silva, Aguero, Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Tevez
Goals: Balotelli (pen 90)
Booked: Kompany, Y Toure

Referee: Pavel Kralovec
Man of the Match: Joe Hart

City started the game brightly. Nasri had a low drive well saved by Weidenfeller, as the home side looked to get themselves on the front foot early on. Aguero had an effort well saved, before Zabaleta skied a shot from inside the box. It had been described as a must-win fixture and it looked like the blues were taking those words to heart. But soon it all started to slow down and the game swung towards the German opposition’s favour.

With 12 minutes on the clock, Hart pulled off his first world class save of the evening. Gotze seized upon a loose ball in the middle of City’s defence and found himself one-on-one with the home side’s goalkeeper. He drove the shot at the far post, but Hart was equal to it, fingertipping it onto the upright.

City tried to respond: Silva slipped Aguero through on goal, but the Argentine was stretching to get his shot away and could only direct it down the middle of the goal. It almost crept through Weidenfeller’s legs, but he got down well to block with his knees. The rebound fell just behind Nasri, as he tried to adjust to slot the ball into the net. Aguero then forced a great save from the Dortmund keeper from well outside the box.

But, once again, the game swung towards the visitors. Subotic fired a shot just wide of Hart’s goal, before Zabaleta had to scramble across the box to block a through ball. City were pinned in their own area and the pressure almost told when Gotze got through once again. He fired at the top corner, but Hart got his fingers to it and pushed it onto the underside of the bar.

Despite the pressure, it could have been City who went into half time in front. Aguero slipped the ball to Zabaleta as he broke into the six-yard box and he delivered a great cross to the middle, where Silva was arriving. The Spaniard, though, couldn’t control his volley and side-footed it over the bar with his right foot.

The final say of the half, though, went to Joe Hart again. Gundogen found himself with time and space eight yards out from goal, but the City keeper was off his line quickly to block his shot. It was, somehow, goalless at the break and thanks in no small part to the home side’s number one.

It was the visitors who settled in the second half the quickest. City’s right full-back Zabaleta was again in the right place to put in a crucial, last-gasp challenge to deny Reus the chance to shoot at goal, before Hart again pulled out all the stops to keep the ball out of the home side’s net. Hummels was inches away from flicking a header into the net, but Zabaleta did enough to put the Dortmund centre-back off.

But, as the hour mark came up, the visitors took the lead. A slack pass in the centre of midfield from Rodwell gifted the ball to Dortmund. With the City numbers depleted, the away side broke quickly and efficiently, with Reus going one-on-one with Hart. He got a hand to the shot, but this time the City keeper couldn’t prevent the ball from crossing the line. It had been coming.

Ten minutes later, it was beginning to feel like Joe Hart was taking on the German side on his own, as he produced yet another stunning save to block a low shot, before getting up quickly to turn an effort bound for the top corner over the bar. Lewandowski should have put the visitors further ahead, but he managed to slide the ball wide when it seemed easier to score.

With three minutes to play, City looked like they had an unlikely way back into the game. Zabaleta crossed to the back post where Aguero connected with a header. It looked destined for the net, but Weidenfeller got across his goal well to palm the ball behind. City had been struggling for chances in the second half and that looked like the best it was going to get.

But, as the clock ticked to 90, the home side were handed the chance to steal a point – a handball in the box gifted the hosts a penalty. Balotelli stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way coolly, pulling the blues level.

City could have edged ahead minutes later as they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Kolarov was on the scene first and there was never going to be any other taker – he stepped up and tried to curl the ball into the near post, but it clipped the top of the wall and bounced away to safety.

The final say of the game, though, went to man of the match Joe Hart. With City caught out still riding the high of the equaliser, the visitors nearly won the game in stoppage time. Lewandowski fired an effort at goal from the edge of the box and it looked like it would sneak into the corner until Hart got across to push it behind.




Real Madrid 3 Manchester City 2

UEFA Champions League Group D
Tuesday 18 September 2012, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Maicon (Zabaleta 74), Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Barry, Garcia, Y Toure, Nasri (Kolarov 37), Silva (Dzeko 62), Tevez
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Rodwell, Aguero
Goals: Dzeko (69), Kolarov (85)
Booked: Garcia, Kompany, Dzeko

Referee: Damir Skomina
Man of the Match: Joe Hart

City’s trip to the Spanish champions started with the hosts offering the early possession. The visitors, though were remaining firm and the opening efforts from Ronaldo were off target and not troubling Hart. The best of the opening exchanges, though, fell to Ronaldo, who stepped inside Kompany in the box and first at goal, but Hart turned it behind.

Three minutes later, Hart was on form again as Ronaldo got inside Maicon. The hosts were beginning to control possession and play was staying in City’s half – the former Manchester United winger took the ball inside early and fired towards the top corner. Higuain got a flicked header on it right in front of Hart, but the England goalkeeper pushed it away with Kompany completing the clearance. At the other end, Yaya Toure was inches away from slipping Silva through for a one-on-one.

City were very much on the back-foot, but when they did get forward they were looking to break quickly. Maicon crossed towards Tevez, but it was just headed away as both he and Casillas challenged to meet it. Silva almost poked the ball through for Maicon, but Arbeloa stole in before him. Higuain was onside from a ball over the top, but Hart did enough to force him wide. Khedira deflected Ronaldo’s follow-up towards goal, but he couldn’t keep it down.

Yaya Toure broke up play on the edge of the City box with just under ten minutes to go to half time and, after one of his trademark runs, the visitors found themselves with a four-on-three. Toure went right to Silva, who cut back inside onto his left foot to shoot, but Alonso charged it down. Perhaps Kolarov on the left was a better option. City were growing into the game, but the hosts were still on top.

With five minutes of the half to go, Madrid should have been in front. A ball from deep into the box evaded Kompany and Hart hadn’t come for it, leaving Higuain the chance to connect to it. He didn’t get it on target, though, blazing it over and it was a let off for the away side. Maicon then block a Ronaldo effort as the hosts piled on the pressure. City had their goalkeeper to thank that the scores were level at the break.

A golden chance to get a good ball into the box early in the second half was wasted by Kolarov as he knocked it too far in front of himself after Yaya Toure had played it through to him down the left. He made up for it, though, intercepting brilliantly as Alonso looked for Ronaldo. The Serbian slid to stretch just enough to knock it back to Hart. Toure broke from midfield to unleash a shot, but it was deflected behind for City’s first corner of the match.

Nastasic almost put Hart in trouble under pressure from Higuain and his backpass was short. The goalkeeper was off his line quickly to clear, ahead of the Madrid man. A low cross from Marcelo was begging for a touch, but Clichy was aware and able to clear when staring straight at his own goal.

With the hour mark approaching, it was again all Madrid. Marcelo unleashed a vicious shot towards the top corner and it just swerved away at the last minute; Hart had thrown himself towards it, but might not have gotten there had it been on target. Ronaldo was in place to head away a City free kick at the other end, before Tevez fired over from a 30 yard snapshot.

Despite the Madrid pressure, though, City got themselves in front. Yaya Toure did brilliantly to hold off the challenges of three players on the edge of the City box and break away. Suddenly, City had a two-on-one. Toure drew the challenge, slid it in to Dzeko and he passed the ball into the back of the net with his left foot. City had been on the back foot all game, but had a vital breakaway goal.

Straight afterwards, Madrid looked to get level. A free kick was flicked over his own bar by Kolarov, before Hart was beaten to the cross from the resulting corner. But it was City who almost had a second – Kolarov smashed a ball into the box and Casillas spilled it, but neither Dzeko or Tevez were in the right place to capitalise.

Yaya Toure had the chance to grab a second goal for City with 15 minutes to play after Tevez did well to hold the ball up and slide it through to the Ivorian. It was just too far ahead of him and, stretching, he could only find the side netting.

And it turned out to be costly. Immediately down the other end, Marcello cut inside onto his right foot and shot at goal. Hart dived for it, but was cruelly beaten by a deflection and the hosts were level. Zabaleta nearly flicked the ball past Casillas, as Tevez found him inside the six yard box. It was becoming stretched and suddenly it was an end to end game.

Despite the Madrid pressure, it was City who got the next goal. Zabaleta did well to win a free kick on the right flank and, from deep, Kolarov played a ball towards the back post. Alonso challenged and several City players stretched for it, but it bounced inside the post and the away side were back in front.

The equaliser came straight away, though. Benzema turned on the edge of the box and Nastasic couldn’t get there to block. His shot was tucked inside the post and Hart just couldn’t stretch enough to save it. City were asleep after going in front. Hart was again on form to deny Benzema, before Ronaldo won the game for the hosts. A dipping shot flashed past Kompany, who should have got the block in, and Hart couldn’t keep it out – City made them work for the points, but ultimately, it was a defeat on the opening game of the group.

Manchester City 2 Bayern Munich 0

Champions League Group A
Wednesday 7 December 2011, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Savic, Lescott, Kompany (c), Clichy, Barry, Y Toure (Balotelli 81), Nasri, Silva (A Johnson 85), Aguero, Dzeko (de Jong 78)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Zabaleta, Milner
Goals: Silva (36), Y Toure (52)

Referee: Stephane Lannoy
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

City knew that only a win would do if they were to stand any chance of making the knock-out stages of the Champions League and, seeing the visitors rest a few players, the hosts set out to attack from the off. Aguero should have opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock as Nasri found him unmarked in the box, but his header was over the bar and into the fans.

Bayern could have taken the lead shortly after, but a comfortable save from Hart at his near post saw the ball bounce behind for a corner. Lescott had the ball in the Bayern net on 16 minutes, but it was eventually ruled out by the referee for a foul on the goalkeeper. The assistant on the line didn’t see it, the assistant behind the goal didn’t see it, but the referee thought long and hard before disallowing the defender’s header from Nasri’s free kick.

Alaba skied the ball over the bar when faced with Joe Hart, before the home side took the lead. A ball from deep from Barry was cutely flicked to Silva by Dzeko. The Spaniard took the ball on his chest and volleyed it from the edge of the box, finding the bottom corner with force.

It was all City: Barry lifted an effort of the bar when there were shouts of handball, Aguero took on and beat the whole Bayern defence to shoot past Butt – though ex-City defender Boateng got back to clear from behind his goalkeeper – and Aguero curled an effort just wide of the post from inside the box.

The first action of the second half saw the hosts double their advantage. Yaya Toure nipped in ahead of the Bayern defence to a Dzeko through ball and he poked the shot under Butt. It was neat, flowing football, but it was dulled by the news the Napoli had taken the lead in Spain, putting them through and City out as it stood.

Nevertheless, the home side continued to press and look for more goals. Nasri smashed a shot just wide of the post after Aguero and Dzeko had worked the ball across to him on the right flank, before Barry volleyed an effort from the edge of the box as a corner was half-cleared, but Butt got two strong hands on it to push it away.

It was an excellent performance from City and they did what they could to influence qualification on the night, but it turned out not to be enough, with Napoli winning at Villarreal. The opening draw with the Italians and the defeat in Naples were the killers, but the City fans got a performance to be proud of in going out of the competition.