Manchester City needed a win to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League but despite fighting back to draw 2-2 with Ajax their hopes are hanging by a thread. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini had all but admitted progression in the Champions League was beyond them unless they won their final three group games.
And his sombre prediction was proved to be correct as City conceded two goals in the space of seven first half minutes after looking lively in the opening minutes when Pablo Zabaleta fired over.
But poor defending at a couple of corners allowed Ajax to take a two goal lead by the 17th minute.
Skipper Siem de Jong as the beneficiary of City's slackness at the back by first reacting quickest to open the scoring after the ball ran loose, then was left unmarked at the near post to head home Christian Eriksen's corner.
City hit back almost immediately as Yaya Toure controlled a high ball on his chest before turning to volley home from ten yards.
The onslaught from the host's did not arrive until the second half but after Sergio Aguero had a goal disallowed for offside then slipped after rounding the keeper it looked like City would not get a lifeline.
But with 16 minutes remaining City's pressure paid off as Aguero ran on to a through ball and slotted home. Substitute Mario Balotelli then saw a header saved by Kenneth Vermeer as the English champions went all out for a winner.
Aguero did find the net in the final minute but was ruled offside - deep into injury time Balotelli appeared to be held in the penalty area but almost immediately the Danish referee blew for full time to be instantly surrounded by protesting players. Referee: Peter Rasmussen (DEN)
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Yellow cards: Blind (AJA), Poulsen (AJA)