Pellegrini's error could cost Man City after win in Munich
Man City manager missed chance to top Champions League group after a mathematical mistake
Bayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3.
MATHS is clearly not Manuel Pellegrini's bag. The Manchester City manager appears to have miscalculated just what his side needed to do to win Group D and gain a top seed for the last 16 draw of the Champions League.
When James Milner put City 3-2 up on 62 minutes in Munich there was still plenty of time for the visitors to score a fourth goal - enough to leapfrog them over Bayern to top of the group table.
The small band of City fans looked towards the bench, where striker Sergio Aguero was sat, but the club's top-scorer this season with 18 goals remained where he was, his manager doubtless saving him for Saturday's crucial league clash with Arsenal. Instead the City manager hauled off striker Edin Dzeko and replaced him with midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Asked at the post-match conference why Aguero wasn't introduced in the final half-hour as City searched for the decisive fourth goal, Pellegrini replied: "I was tempted if we scored the fourth goal…[but] it was difficult to score two goals."
When it was pointed out that they required just one more goal, Pellegrini's reply confirmed that sums aren't City's strong suit. "I said it would be very difficult to beat Bayern by three goals."
In fact at 3-2 City needed just one more goal to finish top of the group. Having lost 3-1 to Bayern at home in October, a 4-2 victory over the German giants would have left both teams on a goal difference of +2. Crucially, however, City's four away goals over the two legs to Bayern's three would have taken them top of the group.
As it was, Bayern's goal difference meant that though both clubs finished on 15 points, the reigning European champions go through to the knockout phase as group winners with City runners-up.
Mathematics apart, it was a good night for City who ended Bayern's run of 10 consecutive Champions League victories. The win was all the more impressive because Bayern had raced into an early two-goal lead after strikes from Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze. City held their nerve, however, and David Silva pulled one back on the half-hour mark. Aleksandar Kolarov then equalised from the penalty spot on 59 minutes and three minutes later Milner put them in front after good build-up work from Jesus Navas and Silva.
"We wanted revenge for the first game," said Pellegrini later. "I know that we didn't have results in the Premier League playing away but we haven't played badly in those games, so we must continue finding a style of play - and this match could be very important for us."
Unfortunately for him, the same may be said for his miscalculation when the draw for the last 16 is made on Monday. ·