Manchester City bow out of Europe after 1-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund
London: Manchester City’s underwhelming Champions League campaign ended with a whimper as the Blues slumped to a lacklustre 1-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund.
Julian Schieber’s second-half finish from close range was enough to see off the visitors, with the German side enjoying the better of the scoring chances throughout the game.
The result means Roberto Mancini’s side finish bottom of Group D without a win, while Dortmund go through to the knockout stage as group winners.
The hosts had a near-full squad to choose from, but Jurgen Klopp chose to leave stars Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski on the bench, with qualification already guaranteed, meaning Schieber started as lone striker.
Scott Sinclair earned a place in the starting line-up for City, with Yaya Toure suspended and David Silva, Gael Clichy and Aleksandr Kolarov all injured, with Matija Nastasic deputising at left-back and Edin Dzeko starting up front alongside Carlos Tevez.
It was a very quiet start to the game, with both sides exchanging lengthy – but non-threatening – periods of possession, and it took until the 12th minute for the first shot on target as Oliver Kirch drove straight at Joe Hart from 20 yards out.
The visitors eventually fashioned an opening of their own, as Dzeko slid the ball across the six-yard box looking for Tevez, but Marcel Schmelzer was able to snuff out the danger.
Dortmund were on top and perhaps should have scored when, first, Marco Reus cut into the area and blasted a left-footed effort towards Hart’s near post, which the England international managed to tip on to the woodwork and behind, before Perisic curled an effort from range as the sides went into the break on level terms.
City nearly went in front straight after the restart when Dzeko met Samir Nasri’s cross, heading straight at the goalkeeper when he looked odds-on to score.
Perisic then, again, forced a save from Hart, meeting Kirch’s cross with a rasping volley from the left-hand side of the area, which the City goalkeeper had to palm over the bar before being called into action by denying Kevin Grosskreutz with an excellent one-handed stop low at his near post.
Just after Aguero was introduced by Mancini, the deadlock was finally broken in the 57th minute as the hosts took a deserved lead. Substitute Jakub Blazczykowski burst down the right and slid an excellent cross into the path of Schieber, who arrived at the far post to poke the ball into the net.
City switched to a back three with the introduction of Mario Balotelli and Pablo Zabaleta, as Tevez produced a fine piece skill to work space in the box and force a save from Weidenfeller.
The away side still struggled to force their presence on the game as Moritz Leitner had a superb chance to make it two after the impressive Blazczykowski pulled back, but the midfielder could only steer his effort wide.
Substitute Robert Lewandowski then forced a save from Hart after shooting from a tight angle, before Weidenfeller saved a left-footed Aguero strike at the other end as the hosts saw out the win and secured top spot.