London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Premier League defending champion Manchester City was booted out of the Champions League group stage for the second straight year after settling for a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid Wednesday at City of Manchester Stadium.
Karim Benzema scored an early goal for Madrid in the 10th minute but Sergio Aguero’s spot kick in the 74th minute from a red card by Alvaro Arbeloa tied the game, keeping the City unbeaten at home in 20 European ties.
However, the draw did not help City’s cause as it needed a victory to advance to the last 16, which Real Madrid did, together with five other teams Wednesday.
“I am disappointed to go out, like everyone here. When we started this group we knew it was difficult. We are a good team, but we went and made mistakes, and this is the Champions League,” said City manager Roberto Mancini, whose wards finished last in Group D with three draws and two losses.
“We are a good team, but you can lose to teams like Madrid and Dortmund. This can happen, but we wanted to go to the next stage,” he added.
Real Madrid, for its part, advanced to the last 16 together with Paris Saint-Germain, Porto, FC Schalke 04, Arsenal and AC Milan, joining Manchester United, Barcelona, Valencia, Shakhtar Donetsk, Malaga, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munchen.
“My players worked very hard, they played a good game. We have won the point that has put us in the next round. It is important that we have achieved qualification with one game to spare,” said Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.
Porto kept a one-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain in Group A with a 3-0 home victory against Dinamo Zagreb while PSG defeated Dynamo Kyiv, 2-0. The two teams will fight it out for pole position in a showdown in Paris.
In Group B, Arsenal defeated Montpellier, 2-0, while Schalke dashed Olympiakos’ last-16 ambitions with a 1-0 victory to qualify to the next round.
Milan joined Group C winners Malaga in the Dec. 20 draw after they prevailed over RSC Anderlecht, 3-1, with Philippe Mexes scoring a wonderful overhead kick.
Earlier, FC Zenit St Petersburg came from two behind to settle for a 2-2 draw with Malaga but the point was not enough to keep them in contention following Milan’s victory.