With Manchester City through to the last 16 of the Champions League, Yaya Toure picked up a yellow card and will miss the Citizens' final group match.
That final group match is a big one, too.
On Dec. 10, the Citizens will travel to Munich to take on Bayern Munich. The German giants are a perfect five for five in Group D play and sit three points ahead of Manchester City for the top spot.
City can erase that three-point deficit with a win, but it will be meaningless unless they can win big. Bayern beat City 3-1 at Etihad in Champions League play on Oct. 2. So, the Citizens are going to have to score at least three goals to have a hope of stealing the top spot.
Considering Bayern haven't allowed more than two goals at any home match this season and have won a record 10 Champions League matches in a row, the odds of City pulling this off are long, which very well could be why Toure picked up this yellow card.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Ian Taylor certainly seems to think this is the case:
The yellow card came after the 90th minute and with City in the lead 4-2.
So, Toure will be out for the match against Bayern, but have a clean slate once the knockout stage begins. Given the nearly impossible task laid out in front of City in their trip to Munich, this is a solid tradeoff.
Still, it's not like the Citizens will just throw in the towel against Bayern. This team will look for a shock win against the Munich powerhouse; they will just have to do so without their vice captain.
Any evidence of how detrimental this will be to the Citizens can be gleaned from their match on Wednesday. Toure didn't come on the pitch until the 64th minute. The match was tied at one. City were looking stale and sloppy.
In less than a minute, Toure had made a crucial pass that helped set up a goal. The Citizens were more potent for the remainder of the match.
To get by without him, the Citizens will need better performances from Fernandinho and Javi Garcia.
On Wednesday, Toure came on for Fernandinho after the midfielder had taken one shot and picked up two fouls in mostly ineffective play. Still, he was playing with more energy and looked better than Garcia, which really isn't a surprise.
By almost all accounts, Garcia has been a flop since his transfer to the Citizens from Benfica in 2012. Hope that he can turn around his career with City is quickly vanishing.
However, the 26-year-old can go a long way toward inspiring hope with a strong performance in Munich while City deal with the absence of Toure.
Getting a strong performance from Garcia is City's best shot at overcoming Toure's absence. Bayern look nearly unbeatable. There is no way to hide weaknesses against this club, and it's nearly impossible to find a weakness of Bayern's to attack.
City will just need all 11 players on the pitch to come up with their best effort of the season.
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