Roberto Mancini hit out at the referees after Manchester City were denied a goal as well as a penalty in the final moments of the 2-2 draw between Ajax, with the Italian admitting his side's chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the Champions League were "finished."
City had another of those European performances to forget, even if they might have come back from two goals down against Ajax. Siem De Jong gave the Dutch side a two-goal advantage in the first 17 minutes, with Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero making the scores even with 15 minutes remaining.
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Aguero then seemed to have given City all three points in the final moments of the game, converting a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov, only for the goal to be incorrectly ruled out for offside. Mario Balotelli also could have had a penalty in the final kick of the game, but referee Peter Rasmussen refused to give the spot-kick saying he had already blown the final whistle.
"The referee and his staff were really poor tonight, I think that we scored three goals and we conceded two stupid goals," said Mancini, who stormed onto the pitch after the match ended demanding an explanation from the referees.
"I told the referee that it was a goal -- I didn't see the last situation with Mario for the penalty decision but the players told me that it should have been."
City remain bottom of Group D, with two points from four matches, five points behind second-placed Real Madrid, who salvaged a point against group leaders Borussia Dortmund (8), thanks to a late Mesut Ozil goal. City will need to win their next two games - against Real and Dortmund - and hope some of the results go their way. Ajax are third on four points.
Mancini, however, believes his side's chances of qualifying are as good as over. "It's finished," he said. "I always believe in my team but now I think it is very difficult.
"If we win two games, get eight points and go through, we can win the Champions League, it's simple -- if our destiny is this then we should win the Champions League.
"We had a chance to win in the Bernabeu but we made some mistakes, against Ajax away it was the same, we didn't play well but we took the lead and had two chances to score the second goal but we didn't take the chances.
"It was the same thing tonight, but it's finished."
Ajax manager Frank De Boer said he was reasonably happy with the point. "Before the match started, we would have taken a 2-2 draw here," the former Dutch international said. "But after the match I have the feeling that the players were actually disappointed with the result. We could have delivered a hammer knockout blow to City.
"It is a good sign that the players were disappointed with this result. We could have taken a giant step tonight. That they scored their second goal out of nothing was very disappointing for us. But you know when you play here, it will get tough. In the second half it was difficult for the first ten minutes, but after that things went well again.
"They just have a lot of quality, though, so I can only be proud of my boys. If we could have been more precise with our opportunities, like for instance (Christian) Eriksen at the end, we could have won it. Although the goal could have come for them."