LONDON: Manchester City and both Manchester United, against all the pre-competition odds, collapsed out of the UEFA Champions League tonight in a shock double for the Premier League’s top two.
City beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at Eastlands but slipped into third place in Group A and into the Europa League because Napoli won away to Villarreal; United, despite the drama of a late strike from Phil Jones, went out after losing 2-1 away to Basel in Switzerland.
City’s maiden Champions League campaign came to an end despite goals from David Silva and Yaya Toure. Disappointed manager Roberto Mancini said: “The Europa league is another trophy and it’s an important trophy for Manchester City. It’s a disappointment because we wanted to play in the Champions League – 10 points is very difficult to go out.
“If you are in the final [of the Europa League] it will be very important because I’ve never won the Europa League. We are a good team. We played well, we’re very sorry for our supporters and I’m sorry for our players. I think we need to improve as a team because we got a tough group [in the Champions League] this year.”
As for United, they were always struggling at St-Jakob-Park once Marco Streller had given hosts Basel a ninth-minute lead. Wayne Rooney, who faces a UEFA disciplinary hearing in nearby Nyon on Thursday, wasted their best chance, with Markus Steinhofer belting the ball against his own crossbar midway through the second half.
Alexander Frei added Basel’s second eight minutes from time, although United did not go down without a fight. Phil Jones grabbed a lifetime near the end but the visitors were unable to conjure up a miracle second, leaving Basel to celebrate the greatest night in their history.
“They got what they deserved,” said watching former captain Roy Keane. United join City in the Europa League.
Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer said: “It’s incredible. A Swiss team, a little country, against Manchester United, one of biggest teams in the world – it’s crazy. But we believed in our strength and we fought until the end, this was the key. Manchester are a good team, they had a lot of pressure and sometimes we were a bit lucky not to concede, and this is a crazy night. We are through and Manchester are out – it’s super.”