Previous
CSKA Moscow
Bayern Munich
0
1
LIVE 58'
Game Details
Manchester City
AS Roma
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Apoel Nicosia
Ajax Amsterdam
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Paris Saint-Germain
Barcelona
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
NK Maribor
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Lisbon
Chelsea
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
BATE Borisov
Athletic Bilbao
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Porto
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Cardiff City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
AFC Bournemouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Blackpool
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Birmingham City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
Charlton Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Blackburn Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Brentford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Nottingham Forest
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Crewe Alexandra
Notts County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Telford United
Chester City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Halifax
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Altrincham
Macclesfield Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Braintree Town
Barnet
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Aldershot Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Bristol Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Forest Green Rovers
Torquay United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Grimsby Town
Southport
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Gateshead
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Dartford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Woking
Nuneaton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Wrexham
Kidderminster Harriers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Aberdeen
St Mirren
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
León
Monterrey
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Queretaro
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
São Paulo
Huachipato
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Icasa
Luverdense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
Portuguesa de Desportos
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
Ceará
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Paraná Clube
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Al-Ain
Al Hilal
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 4
Game Details
Herediano
Universidad De Costa Rica
Postp
Postponed - now being played Wed, Oct 1
Game Details
Next

Usher: Reds defence key at Basel

Liverpool about an hour ago
Read

Rzouki: Juve need mature effort

Juventus 10 minutes ago
Read
Mar 17, 2011

Blooper Mario not super Mario

When a footballer has the talent to win any game but the temperament to lose any tie, he is a wild card in more ways than one. Even by the standards of eccentrics, Mario Balotelli is unusual and unpredictable but his wildness brought Manchester City's European run to an end.

• Europa League review
• Europa League Gallery Photo Gallery
• Mancini laments Balotelli red

For the most part, City's resident rebel can seem impervious to the consequences of his actions. Even Balotelli should be aware now because, as City exited the Europa League, he was a prime reason why their 35-year wait for a trophy is likely to be extended.

Not for the first time, Roberto Mancini's chosen maverick was more blooper Mario than super Mario. An often cautious manager's great gamble on his protégé backfired in one of City's biggest games for years. Having sustained a swollen face in the first leg, Balotelli put on a sullen face in the second. Having agitated for his removal in Kiev, he earned himself a premature departure in Manchester. An allergy to the Ukrainian grass may have amused, but a red card in the rematch annoyed.

Balotelli's loss of control resulted in his studs making forceful contact with first the stomach and then the groin of Goran Popov. While the pernickety Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir made few friends at Eastlands on a night of frantic whistling, he was correct to dispatch the Italian to the dressing room.

"I didn't see the foul," Mancini said. "I'm disappointed because this was a difficult game and you can't have a stupid red card like this." It was Balotelli's second in City colours and as Mancini has substituted him to avoid others in the past, his dreadful disciplinary record could be worse.

In one sense, City were better off without Balotelli: having been drawing 0-0 with him, they won 1-0 in his absence. Indeed the speed with which Balotelli's exit was followed by Aleksandar Kolarov's drilled strike indicated that one directly resulted in the other.

These are the sorts of games where reputations are made or marred and Balotelli's, like a struggling economy, suffered a double dip. Profligacy was followed by stupidity. From sidefooting over the bar from three yards to unwittingly deflecting David Silva's goal-bound shot wide with his back, he had contrived to harm his side both with his presence and his absence.

City's was a positive response to his removal, Silva teeing up Kolarov to drive the ball under Oleksandr Shovkovskiy. Indeed, as late as the 93rd minute, when Edin Dzeko shot straight at the visiting captain, they could have salvaged the goal that would have ensured extra-time.

But the massed ranks of the Dynamo defence weren't breached again. "If it had been 11 against 11 we would have scored two or three goals," Mancini added. "The other 10 players played a fantastic game for 60 minutes."

Kolarov and Micah Richards, who created more chances in the first four minutes alone, overlapped with greater verve than at any stage this season; Silva offered touches of class and Carlos Tevez chased tirelessly. Yet urgency did not bring enough clear-cut chances. All-out attack does not come naturally to City and an attempt to overload with potential scorers resulted in the withdrawal of Silva, the likeliest creator.

In the process, next month's Manchester derby in the FA Cup at Wembley has assumed all-or-nothing proportions for City. Cautious as Mancini has been in his aims in the league, the Italian has recognised the importance of finally bringing a trophy to Eastlands. It is now two down, one to go.

On the continent, the damning conclusion is that City didn't come close. The Europa League is a competition where sides can travel a long way without making any real progress. That is what City have done, playing 12 games without reaching the quarter-finals. Arguably the greatest legacy of their European run has been the Poznan dance copied from their Polish opponents in the group stages.

While an inability to secure silverware outside Italy accounted for Mancini's departure from Inter Milan, City will be more forgiving. Mancini himself may not be: Balotelli will not be involved against Chelsea on Sunday. Too often, his manager's trust in him was misplaced. The lesson should be clear: talent alone is not enough.

MAN OF THE MATCH: David Silva - Another display of lovely touches and elegant vision. It was a surprise when Silva was removed, even if it was to make way for an out-and-out striker in Dzeko.

MANCHESTER CITY VERDICT: The combination of their exertions with 10 men and the disappointment of their European exit should make Chelsea favourites to beat them on Sunday. Mancini named his strongest available side and the only one who wasn't overworked was Balotelli.

DYNAMO KIEV VERDICT: Their time-wasting irritated the City crowd, but there was much more to Dynamo than that. Several second-half breaks could have brought a goal, while Danilo Silva and Leandro Almeida were especially assured in defence. For all City's pressure, goalkeeper Shovkovskiy rarely needed to excel. Couple this with the 8-1 aggregate win over Besiktas in the previous round and Dynamo look one of the teams to beat.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.