After the 2:2 (1:2) against ajax amsterdam, the english champions are as good as eliminated, just like last year. Coach roberto mancini immediately took issue with the referee and the english media over this de-feat. When he looked at the table of the dortmund group, he was left with only one bitter realization: "I think the champions league is over."
Theoretically, mancini’s million-dollar squad can still hope to win its two remaining games against real madrid and BVB, plus get protective help from ajax against one of those two teams. But in practice, not even a single victory against the aubenseiter from amsterdam was enough in the past two weeks. Ajax, which loses its best players year after year, is something like the exact opposite of this highly ambitious city project financed with vast sums of money.
Taken over by sheikh mansour bin zayed al nahyan of abu dhabi in 2008, manchester united’s city rivals have since thrown money around like no other club in the world. Mancini has been allowed to sign new players for more than 330 million euros in the past three years. At least in the champions league, the balance sheet is devastating in terms of these investments.
Last year, mancity was defeated in the preliminary round by bayern munchen and SSC neapel; this year, they are trailing three teams in group D. "European flop mancini," wrote the "independent" on thursday – well aware that the italian had exactly the same problem during his time at inter milan: nationally, he won three championships with his team, but internationally, he was knocked out far too early year after year.
The 47-year-old reacted with corresponding irritation after the game against ajax. "The referee and his team were very bad," he scolded, because city – who had just made it 2-2 from 0-2 – ended up being awarded neither a regular goal nor a would-be penalty. Similarly coarse was his resentment of the media, which have long speculated about his replacement by pep guardiola. "We’ve won three trophies in two years, you should respect that," mancini hisses at a journalist. "Before that, this club had not won anything for 50 years."
But mancini does not need to hope for sympathy because of the referee’s decisions or a grace period after winning the championship, with all the money his club has. "Don’t complain about the referee, it’s your own fault," wrote the "mirror".
In group C, zenit st, which is supported by the energy giant gazprom, also proves that money does not always push goals. Petersburg. After the 0:1 at RSC anderlecht the russian champion fell back to last place. The table is still led by FC malaga (1-1 at AC milan), which despite this success is something of a cautionary tale for many city fans. Because the owner sheikh abdullah bin nasser al thani from qatar simply turned off the money tap this summer.