Champions League

Pellegrini: The group is not finished

2015-11-26 11:31
Manuel Pellegrini (AFP)

Turin - Manchester City were left facing the prospect of another unforgiving draw for the knockout phase of the Champions League after conceding their second successive defeat to Juventus in a 1-0 reverse on Wednesday.

A first-half strike from Mario Mandzukic saw Juventus, last season's beaten finalists, into the last 16 after Massimiliano Allegri's men produced a dominant display in Turin to drop City into second place in Group D at two points adrift.

City have never finished top of their Champions League qualifying group and last season were eliminated in the knockout round by Barcelona, who went on to beat Juventus in the Berlin final.

Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, put a positive spin on his side's chances but few punters would bet against Juve not claiming at least a draw away to Sevilla next month having already given the Spaniards a footballing masterclass in a 2-0 victory in Turin last month.

"We have to see what Juventus will do against Sevilla. It will be a very difficult game they must play away. Sevilla have to win that game to try to qualify for the Europa League," said Pellegrini.

"There's one game more, and the group is not finished."

To boot, City lost 'keeper Joe Hart to injury with 10 minutes remaining and he is now doubtful for this weekend's game at home to Southampton.

"He has a problem with his hamstring, I don't know if it's for the hamstring, or because he's been carrying a problem with his back for the last week," added the Chilean.

City had already qualified following their 3-1 win at Sevilla but their chances of avenging their 2-1 defeat to Juventus at the Etihad Stadium in September looked doomed from the outset.

City forwards Wilfried Bony, David Silva and Samir Nasri are all still sidelined but the absence of Belgian centre-back and captain Vincent Kompany was most felt as Juventus built on their solid home form.

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