As comeback attempts go this one will be placed amongst those marked ‘most frustrating’ in the Blues’ filing cabinet.
Head and shoulders the better team for the ninety minutes and without the red carded Mario Balotelli for most of the last hour, City battered away at Kiev with only one goal as a reward.
That came in the 39th minute courtesy of Aleks Kolarov sweet left foot and a poor bit of goalkeeping from Sandr Shovkovskyi in the Kiev goal.
The keeper may well have been unsighted as Kolarov ambled on to David Silva’s touched free kick but he will have been annoyed that the curling effort from the edge of the box skidded under his body and into the net.
The goal came less than three minutes after Balotelli had been given the second red card of his Blues career when he went in too high with his foot on Popov.
The act looked worse than the contact but controversy continues to attach itself to the talented Italian like a limpet with a grudge. Given what happened in the first leg, this has been a turbulent tie for the young man.
After the goal the Blues European dream was vivid for a good while but ultimately despite regular changes from the bench it faded and died, crashing on the twin rocks of a committed Ukraine defence and a weightwatcher’s portion of bad luck.
In truth City’s wayward finishing didn’t help their cause either but with a Premier League match with Chelsea to follow hot on the heels of this contest and an FA Cup semi-final grinning at everyone over the horizon, dwelling on a gallant Europa League defeat is not an option.
At the end of two legs some dodgy defending in freezing temperatures did for Roberto Mancini’s men
...City 1 Kyiv 0.
Tired his troops may have been but Mancini was in no mood to give his big names a rest. There were no surprises or untried youngsters in his 18. There was even the welcome sight of James Milner and Adam Johnson returning from injury.
Before he was dismissed Balotelli had been in the thick of the action lifting one effort over the bar from five yards and bouncing a header onto the roof of the net.
Kiev offered nothing as an attacking force in the opening half with Nigel de Jong dominating Shevchenko, cutting off his supply route with aplomb.
However, hard as they battered at the Kyiv door in the second half the Blues couldn’t find a second goal that would have stretched the tie to another half hour. The visitors came closest to the night’s second goal when Lescott headed off the line.
So with a touch of theatrical rolling around here and there, and two good Shovkovskyi saves from Toure and Dzeko, Kyiv eventually maintained their record, now 0-11, of never having won in England and lost for the first time in seven European contests.
This was the first time they have conceded a goal in more than six hours of football but it was enough...just!