City ended a disappointing UEFA Champions League campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Group D winners Borussia Dortmund.
Having finished bottom of the group, City's participation in Europe is now over for this season with the hosts claiming a narrow victory courtesy of Julian Schieber's second-half strike.
The damage was not done during this 90 minutes, more the failure to beat Ajax home or away or perhaps losing a 2-1 lead at Real Madrid with just moments remaining.
Despite previous set-backs, the message coming out of the Blues’ camp before kick-off was that City were determined to win this game and proceed to the Europa League stages.
The pundits had already dismissed City’s performances in this competition with many claiming the Club’s lack of Champions League experience was an unacceptable excuse for this season’s failure to progress – yet it took Manchester United and Chelsea many years to eventually lift this most coveted trophy, begging the question: why are the Blues considered any different?
It seems there is one rule for Manchester City, one for everyone else.
Injury and suspension robbed Mancini of such luminaries as David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner and Gael Clichy so there was a rare start for Scott Sinclair as well as recalls for Matija Nastasic and Javi Garcia while Dortmund rested one or two of their big names with qualification already guaranteed.
The first-half was a fairly even affair with City rarely troubled at the back and Edin Dzeko came closest to breaking the deadlock with a dipping 30-yard effort just past the half-hour – the hosts’ best effort saw Marcus Reus fire a vicious low drive onto the outside of the post three minutes later.
Dzeko had a great chance to put the Blues ahead just three minutes into the second period but his weak header from six yards turned out to be costly as Dortmund gradually turned the screw and finally found a way past Joe Hart through Schieber’s close range finish on 57 minutes.
City toiled away with Carlos Tevez putting a typically industrious shift in up front but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances to level the score and then push for a winner.
So the European sojourn is over for this season, but lessons have been learned. The Blues will bounce back from this disappointment and learn from the mistakes that were made.
For now, the small matter of defending the Premier League title will be at the forefront of City’s mind – success in the Champions League will have to wait at least another year. It will come, eventually.