London: Manchester City’s already slim hopes of remaining in the Champions League beyond next week suffered a devastating blow on Saturday when a tearful Sergio Aguero joined their lengthening injury list.
Aguero, the Premier League`s leading scorer with 14 goals, suffered a knee ligament injury in the opening minutes of City’s 1-0 home Premier League victory over Everton and has already been ruled out of their final group game away to AS Roma on Wednesday.
The Argentine striker, who has been in the form of his life in recent weeks, looked distraught as he was helped from the pitch and replaced by 18-year-old Jose Pozo.
"It is not good news, he has problems with his knee ligament. He will not be with us for Roma," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told reporters.
"He was more calm when I saw him after seeing the doctor but generally we are not sure how he is."
City have mustered only five points from their first five Champions League games but can still go through to the knockout stage behind group winners Bayern Munich if everything goes their way.
If City win they will go through as long as CSKA Moscow do not beat Bayern in Munich but the English champions could also progress with a score draw if the Russians lose.
However, Aguero’s injury could not have come at a worse time, with fellow forwards Steven Jovetic and Edin Dzeko both struggling for fitness.
Dzeko warmed up when Aguero was injured on Saturday but Pellegrini opted against throwing him on for so much game time after a month out with a calf injury. "Edin was not able to play 70 or 80 minutes, he could play a maximum of 35," Pellegrini said after introducing the Bosnian during the second half of a game decided by Yaya Toure’s first-half penalty.
"I always say this team is not just Sergio Aguero. We also miss Jovetic and Dzeko, David Silva too, all of them are very important offensive players so I think the way we won today is important for the trust in the defence that we know how to win just 1-0.
"We will see tomorrow (about Jovetic). We hope it is just a small problem with his hamstring.
"Of course to have to play such an important game without such important players is a difficult challenge but I never complain about injuries.
"We have a squad and we must try to win on Wednesday to continue in the Champions League."