Man City gets buried in group of death
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Manchester City's dismal exit from European competition after a 1-0 loss against Borussia Dortmund is not an embarrassment and could boost the big-spending club's defence of the Premier League title, according to manager Roberto Mancini.
Had City qualified for Europe's second tier competition, which awaits the third-placed clubs after the Champions League group stages, they could have faced up to nine further European matches on top of domestic fixtures.
City's haul of just three points from six games was the worst performance by an English club in the Champions League group stage with Mancini's men finishing bottom of Group D and failing to qualify for the Europa League as well.
Dortmund, which was drawn into the toughest pool as the lowest-ranked team, sealed its deserved group win against the underachieving English champions. Julian Schieber scored in the 57th, sliding between defenders to connect with Jakub Blaszczykowski's pass at the far post. "I think we've earned some respect now," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "I didn't necessarily think that we would end the group with 14 points." Manchester City exit with just three points, the worst return from an English team in any Champions League group.
Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke sealed top spot in their groups, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored his tournament-leading sixth goal to help Real Madrid beat Ajax 4-1. A 17-minute snow delay during the Dinamo Zagreb-Dynamo Kiev match offered something unexpected on a night when all places in the last 16 were decided before kickoff.
PSG beat pre-match leader FC Porto 2-1 to top Group A. Last-place Zagreb collected its first goal and first point of the campaign in a 1-1 draw with Kiev. Arsenal lost 2-1 at Olympiakos, allowing Schalke to be No. 1 in Group B despite drawing 1-1 with Montpellier. Tomaz Rosicky opened the scoring for the Gunners in the first half but two second half goals for the home side kept the English side to second spot. Malaga had already clinched Group C before drawing 2-2 with Anderlecht, and second-place AC Milan lost 1-0 at home to Zenit.