Manchester City’s failure to beat AS Roma at the Etihad has all but guaranteed them a first European trophy since the 1969/70 Cup Winners’ Cup.
The Citizens’ are 8/1 to win the Europa League this season, a competition with which they seem destined to become better acquainted after a deflating draw against the Italians.
Said stalemate leaves Rudi Garcia’s side on four points in Group E, two points behind leaders FC Bayern Munchen and three ahead of the Sky Blues.
City and Roma are inseparable at 9/10 to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
What’s more City have the prospect of their two easiest games of the section on the immediate horizon in away and home ties against CSKA Moscow.
Roma, meanwhile, must gird their loins for a double-header against the 2012/13 winners.
Yet, even if the Manchester club emerge from those two games with maximum points while the Giallorossi strike out, it may not be enough to usurp the Italian side in what looks a race for second place in the group.
After all when the Citizens played FC Bayern in last year’s tournament they fared far better against the Germans away (won 3-2) than at home (lost 3-1).
Therefore there’s little guarantee they will be able to extract any points from Die Roten at the Etihad.
This means, with Roma arguably just as likely as Manuel Pellegrini’s men to add three points to their Moscow airmiles, qualification could all come down to the teams’ meeting in the ‘Eternal City’ on December 10.
By that time Garcia should be able to call upon the injured first-teamers who were out of the picture for the draw in Manchester.
They include key men such as Italian international Daniele de Rossi and centre-half Leandro Castan, both of whom played a huge part in last season’s unexpectedly glorious campaign, as well as summer signing Davide Astori.
A stronger Roma will await City in what is likely to be the group’s decisive fixture.
Given how impressive the Giallorossi were in Manchester, points harvested against FC Bayern may have watered down its importance since then regardless.