Top five conclusions: Manchester City 3-2 Sporting Lisbon (3-3 on agg)
1. Unlike Arsenal’s fightback against AC Milan, this cannot be termed a glorious failure. City stayed in first gear longer than a learner driver on a 5mph country road. While Arsenal blitzed Milan from the first whistle, City only rose from their self-inflicted coma with 30 minutes to go. Frustration, not pride, was the emotion of the night.
2. Getting dumped out of the Europa League will only serve to plonk a huge amount of pressure on Roberto Mancini. This loss, sandwiched between a defeat to Swansea and a match against a rejuvenated Chelsea, may signal an end of season trophy cabinet more empty than Mario Balotelli’s non-existent first half performance.
3. An English team needing to grab four goals in a European tie: where was Massimo Maccarone when City needed him? Well, Joe Hart almost pipped him for one of the most dramatic European comeback winners ever scored. Despite City’s Jekyll and Hyde display, there is no doubting that Hart’s header would have capped an unforgettable comeback.
4. Has anyone contacted the infamous crying Manchester City fan in the last 24 hours? OTP fears for his personal well-being. The man’s tearducts must have been on over-drive last night.
5. Sporting Lisbon aren’t that sporting. Mirroring Athletic Bilbao, the Portuguese outfit played with bags of assurance and effortless technique on the ball. Unfortunately, that fine play was overshadowed in the closing stages by some first-class time-wasting with bodies dropping and convulsing like a poorly choreographed WWE Royal Rumble.