Even though they did enough to avoid elimination, Manchester City are virtually done in Champions League after drawing with Ajax.
Manchester City did well enough to avoid being mathematically eliminated from Champions League on Tuesday, but their failure to win has only delayed their likely inevitable exit. Ajax got off to a brilliant start, putting City down two goals early, but couldn't hold onto the league. Some serious dramatics at the end put the result in doubt for both sides, but nothing come of the stoppage time action as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Siem de Jong scored twice in the first 17 minutes of the match, with both goals coming on corners. A 10th minute corner took a deflection off Niklas Moisander and fell to de Jong, who put in an incredible narrow angle finish at the far post. His second goal was a much simpler one, as City left him unmarked and allowed him to comfortably score Ajax's second.
City got back into the game in the 22nd minute, through a stellar goal by Yaya Toure. A diagonal ball into the box by Samir Nasri took a deflection and fell to him to finish brilliantly. He took the ball down on his chest, then turned and struck a great right-footed half-volley past Kenneth Vermeer to cut City's deficit to one goal.
Ajax held off City for the rest of the first half and for most of the second half, until Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko entered to make massive impacts for the home side. Balotelli set up City's equalizer, an impressive route one goal. His header of a Joe Hart longball fell perfectly into the path of Sergio Aguero, who surged forward and finished clinically to tie up the match.
The Citizens had numerous other chances to score, but were denied each time, either by Kenneth Vermeer or the referee. In the 79th minute, on a corner, Vermeer made an unbelievable save on a Balotelli header. City thought they had the winner in the 88th minute when Aguero poked in a cross by Aleksandr Kolarov, but Kolarov was offside when Dzeko played the ball to him.
Christian Eriksen nearly won the match in the 92nd minute with a great long shot that forced Joe Hart into a save, but City would have the game's final chance. Balotelli had a chance to score in the 94th minute, but was taken down in the penalty box by Ricardo van Rhijn. He pulled the City forward down, getting a handfull of jersey, but the referee didn't spot it. The entire City side and Mancini were incredulous, confronting the referee about the missed penalty call and the disallowed offside goal after the match, obviously to no effect.