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Man City’s UEFA hopes finished: Roberto Mancini

London/ Madrid, Nov 7 (Agencies)
Published on 7 Nov. 2012 10:06 PM IST
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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini conceded the club's Champions League ambitions were effectively "finished" after a 2-2 home draw with Ajax.

City have two points from four matches and must win their two remaining games to have any hope of going through.
"Unfortunately we took only one point and now I think it is finished for the Champions League," said Mancini. The Italian confronted match officials at full-time after a late City effort was ruled out for offside.

Sergio Aguero's sharp finish from Aleksandar Kolarov's cross three minutes from time appeared to have capped City's comeback from 2-0 down, only for the assistant referee's flag to deny them a winner.

"It was a goal," said Mancini. "The referee and his staff were really poor. I said to the referee 'congratulations - it was a goal'. I'm not the first or the last [to speak to the referee]. In football it can happen."

After storming on to the pitch to remonstrate with referee Peter Rasmussen, Mancini appeared to lose his cool as a cameraman followed him on to the pitch at the final whistle.

Mancini explained: "The cameraman went to film me and he followed me off the pitch. "It is not a film about me, it is the game. I told him it was finished."

Despite his grievances with the officials, Mancini admitted that his own team's failings had contributed to their downfall. Sloppy marking at corners allowed Ajax captain Siem de Jong to put his team 2-0 up inside 17 minutes, before City pulled goals back through Yaya Toure and Aguero.

"I think we scored three goals but the problem was we conceded two stupid goals from corners," said Mancini.
"You can't concede two goals from corners in a game like this. We had many chances to score today, but probably this is not our moment in the Champions League. Perhaps Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are better than us, maybe Ajax also."

It is still mathematically possible for City to reach the knock-out phase if they beat Real at home and Dortmund away. They would also require the German side to beat Ajax, and the Dutch team to get at least a draw against Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Mancini added, tongue in cheek: "If we finish with eight points I think we can win the Champions League. If we win these two games I believe it will be our destiny to win the Champions League."

European governing body UEFA have confirmed that Mancini will not face disciplinary action for his post-match behaviour after it was not reported by Rasmussen or their match delegate at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, A free kick from Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil in the last minute of normal time gave his side a vital 2-2 draw at home to Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League football game in the Bernabeu.

That draw, plus Manchester City’s 2-2 draw at home to Ajax Tuesday, keeps Real Madrid behind Borussia in their qualifying group, but retains their advantage over the English side, who they will visit in their next European tie, reports Xinhua.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho made one change to the side that defeated Zaragoza 4-0 at the weekend with Xabi Alonso replacing Michael Essien in the home side’s midfield.

With Karim Benzema out though injury, Gonzalo Higuain continued in attack partnering Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel De Maria.

As usual in their home ground Madrid started strongly with Gonzalo Higuain and Luka Modric both going close, before Borussia showed their quality thanks to left back Marcel Schmelzer.

It was a warning Madrid didn’t heed, because on 28 minutes Marcelo Rues took advantage of space down the Madrid left to flash a shot past Casillas in the Madrid goal.

The scores were level soon afterwards as Pepe powered a powerful header into the back of the visitors’ net from a Ozil cross from the left.

There were still 11 minutes left in a vibrant first half between two powerful and fast sides, but it was Borussia who retook the lead in the last minute of normal time as the Madrid defence totally failed to deal with a long ball from the keeper and Mario Goetze again beat Iker Casillas with the ball touching Alvaro Arbeloa on its way into the back of the net.

Mourinho made two changes at the break bringing on Essien and Javier Callejon for Modric and Higuain, who had suffered a muscle injury. Madrid got the goal they deserved in the 90th minute when Ozil scored a free kick.

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