Manchester City came within one goal of finishing first in Group D of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, winning 3-2 against defending champion Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in Munich. A 4-2 victory would have secured first-place, thus avoiding a top seed in the Round of 16 draw on Monday.
While City coach Manuel Pellegrini was satisfied with the performance, his post-match comments suggested that he thought his team needed two more goals to secure first-place, which is not true. When asked why he decided not bring striker Sergio Aguero on after James Milner scored the go-ahead goal in the 62nd-minute, the Chilean said: "I was tempted if we scored the fourth goal. It was important to be first in the group but not the most important. It was difficult to score two goals." Later, he added: "I said it would be very difficult to beat Bayern by three goals."
As it turns out, City only needed to beat Bayern by three clear goals unless it managed to score four goals or more, in which case the English giant would only need to win by two. Since Bayern won the first game, 3-1, in Manchester, a 4-2, 5-3, or even a 6-4 win by City would have been enough to secure first place despite a tied head-to-head score, thanks to UEFA’s away goals rule.
Nevertheless, Pellegrini could celebrate a first win over Pep Guardiola as well as a major statement to the other top seeds in Monday’s draw. For Bayern, it was only the Bavarian giant’s third loss in all competitions in 2013.