Man City crash out of Europe without a win
Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta, centre, celebrates scoring against Queens Park Rangers with teammates Gareth Barry, right, and Sergio Aguero. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
UEFA Champions League groups A to D concluded on Wednesday morning Australian time. In group D, first-placed Borussia Dortmund and second-placed Real Madrid made the round of 16.
Despite losing 4-1 to Madrid on the final match day, Ajax Amsterdam will proceed to the Europa League. Manchester City lost 1-0 to Dortmund and find themselves in last position.
For the final round of matches Ajax travelled to Real Madrid while Manchester City travelled to Borussia Dortmund, with both travelling teams fighting for a position in the Europa League.
Madrid’s manager Mourinho and Dortmund’s Klopp rested some key players from their squads. Ajax played their strongest eleven, unchanged from their 3-1 league victory over PSV.
City left top scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench with his position filled by Scott Sinclair at the start of the mach.
Madrid were denied goals in the seventh and tenth minute by the linesman’s flag and the goal post respectively.
Ronaldo was not to be denied in the 13th minute, however, when Benzema ran behind the Ajax defenders to pick out a cross from Modric. Benzema squared the ball across to Ronaldo, who fired the ball into the back of the net.
Madrid added a second goal in the 28th minute after Modric sent a long ball through for Callejon who tapped in the shot off the right post.
While Madrid dominated their match from early on, Dortmund and City’s match started more evenly. Slowly Dortmund seemed to take control of the match, and had a number of shots on goal.
Dortmund’s best chance was Marco Reus’ 36th minute shot that rebounded off the post, but Reus and Dortmund failed to convert their chances, and ended the first half 0-0.
In the first half Ajax did not defend efficiently enough against Madrid, and had trouble connecting their midfield and forwards together for an affective attack. City was having better possession that Dortmund, but was also struggling in attack.
As the results stood at half time both City and Ajax would find themselves with four points. With a better head to head against City thanks to their victory and draw, Ajax would proceed through to the Europa League.
Madrid’s domination continued at the start of the second half, as Kaka powered a 49th minute shot straight past the unmoving Vermeer in the Ajax goals.
As Manchester City attempted to win their game, Manicini substituted Aguero on in the 57th minute. Unfortunately for the Citizens, Julian Schieber scored for Dortmund seconds later.
A cross from substitute Blaszczykowski found the sliding Schieber, who found the back of Joe Hart’s net.
Ajax managed a goal themselves in the 59th minute when the Madrid keeper came off his line to punch a header away. The ball fell to the feet of Derk Boerrigter who knocked the ball into the open goal.
Madrid added a fourth in the 88th minute when the head of unmarked Callejon was found by a Morata cross, and the ball found itself once again in the back of Vermeer’s goal.
Dortmund continued to pressure City as they had a number of good chances before the final whistle, but the score was to remain at 1-0.
Ajax is now the only Dutch club left in European competition as they continue their campaign in the Europa League.
In the other matches PSG defeated Porto 2-1 to place first in group A. The Parisians will be joined by the Portuguese in the round-of-16. Dinamo Zagreb drew 1-1 at home to Dynamo Kyiv to earn their first point of the group, and Kyiv will continue in the Europa League.
Schalke won top spot in group B with a 1-1 draw away to Montpellier. Arsenal was already through to the round-of-16, but lost 2-1 away to Olympiacos. The Greeks place third and go through to the Europa League.
Zenit defeated AC Milan 0-1 at the San Siro to earn a Europa League place. Despite drawing 2-2 with Anderlecht, Malaga topped group C and will continue through in the Champions League with Milan.
Groups E to H will conclude on Thursday morning. In group E Chelsea and Juventus will be playing for second position when they face Nordsjaelland and Shakhtar respectively.
Benfica and Celtic will be fighting for the same in group G when they verse Barcelona and Spartak Moscow.