By Alan Duffy
Manchester City 3-2 Sporting Lison (Aggregate 3-3 Sporting win on away goals) – Europa League – 15th March 2012
Despite coming from 2-0 down at home on Thursday night, Manchester City’s valiant 3-2 win against Sporting at the Etihad still failed to see them through to the last eight of the Europa League.
Taking a 1-0 first leg scoreline with them to Manchester, the Portuguese side totally dominated the first-half, with City producing a dismal display in front of their home fans. Matias Fernandez fabulous free-kick opened the scoring for Sporting on the half-hour mark, while the magnificently monikered Ricky van Wolfswinkel doubled the score just before the break to give the visitors a 3-0 aggregate lead.
However, after the break, City were a different side, with Nigel De Jong on for Adam Johnson. Sergio Aguero got one back for the Citizens on 60 minutes and then with 15 minutes left, Mario Balotelli netted from the penalty spot after Aguero was fouled in the box by Renato Neto.
Suddenly the comeback was on, and just seven minutes later Aguero made it 3-2 to set up a dramatic finish. However, ultimately City were unable to get that all important fourth goal (despite even Joe Hart going close late on) and so crashed out on away goals.
Still, like their title rivals and neighbours United, City too can now focus on the Premier League title.