It was indeed an intense moment. The anxious supporters in Manchester City’s stadium were eating up all their 3G credit, while desperately refreshing their mobile phones, hoping for news that Villarreal had scored in the other game against Napoli. In the meantime, a squad that would best be described as FC Bayern’s B Team had closed up shop for all of 36 minutes. David Silva received the ball from Edin Džeko and unleashed a volley from distance for a dream goal against stand-in goalkeeper Butt. The crowd erupted in joy whilst the mobile phones were once again put to the test, this time showing that Villarreal were still holding Napoli to a 0-0 draw and their eternal city rivals Manchester United losing to Basel, and facing elimination.
Shortly after the break, Manchester City added another. The crowd celebrated even more, as the camera switched to Uli Hoeness’ grim-looking face.
But shortly after the supporters had calmed down from their celebrations, Napoli’s Gökhan İnler picked up a loose ball and drilled in a shot from all of 25 metres. BEEP! BEEP! Many mobile phones let go of their notification sounds, and thousands of hands frantically unlocked their phones, their heart skipping a beat or two, a few milliseconds were needed for the eyes to adjust and read the message. “VILLARREAL 0-1 NAPOLI” which translates to “Manchester City is being eliminated from the Champions League.” The sold-out Etihad Stadium duly went quiet.
You know the rest of the story. Napoli went on to score another another goal, and the City fans left the stadium with their heads lowered, their only point of consolation being that fans of their rivals Manchester United would not be teasing them at work the following day.
This is the beauty of football, especially so when it is the clubs from Manchester to be eliminated, with FC Bayern safely through to the last 16. Bye bye, Manchester!
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