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It was possibly the most bizarre story of the week, but for some long-suffering Manchester City supporters, it was also a horrible reminder of the bad old days.
Fortunately, City had already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League when they arrived at Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, but things looked ominous in the opening stages as the European champions waltzed into a 2-0 lead.
But this wasn't the stuff of nightmares for City fans; worse was to come.
The Premier League side remained resilient after that initial shock and stunned Bayern by coming back to claim a 3-2 victory over the Bundesliga side.
It was an excellent performance, which ended Bayern's 10-match winning sequence in the Champions League. But after James Milner scored the goal to put City 3-2 up, Pellegrini took off Edin Dzeko and replaced him with Jack Rodwell, leaving Sergio Aguero to remain on the bench.
Surely some mistake when you need one more goal to overtake Bayern and ensure a comparatively easier draw in the last 16? It was an odd decision by Pellegrini, and surely there must have been some logic to it? But no, there wasn't.
Pellegrini was quizzed on the matter in a television interview immediately after the match by Sky Sports and seemed unaware that just one more goal would have sealed the top spot when asked if he was tempted to play another striker:
I was tempted if we scored the fourth goal. Of course, that's why I sent Aguero to warm up.
But also I think it was a risk to continue with (David) Silva. He couldn't play more than 70 minutes.
It is very important to be first in the group but not the most important thing. It was difficult to score two goals and I think that Silva couldn't play more than 70 minutes.
Pellegrini then went into a press conference with the print media and promptly repeated the same response when questioned on his tactical switch, as Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph reported.
Nothing lost in translation there then for the Chilean.
But the game was up once City goalscorer Milner stepped in front of the cameras, as Bascombe also noted:
We didn’t know if 4-2 would be enough or if we would need 5-2. We thought it needed to be 5-2 to be honest.
It’s not easy to score three goals here, so to score four would have been a tough task. It’s pleasing to score three goals at a place like this and we’re going to need to do that in the next round.
We’re slightly disappointed we did not finish top of the group. But to be slightly disappointed at beating Bayern Munich in their own ground is pretty pleasing.
For older City fans, the incident was reminiscent of the infamous final Premier League game of the 1995-96 season when then-Maine Road manager Alan Ball mistakenly believed a 2-2 draw with Liverpool was enough to keep the club in the top flight, as the Daily Telegraph reported.
The late England international urged City midfielder Steve Lomas to keep the ball in the corner to wind down time until substituted striker Niall Quinn realised the error and called for another goal.
City went down, and the incident now features in Premier League folklore and the nightmares of older fans. This time, only pride has been hurt. At least until City find out which group winner they will be paired with on Monday.
Believability Meter: Very High
There was no way Manchester City or Pellegrini could talk their way out of this one, especially after Milner voiced his uncertainty over the number of goals required in Bavaria.
And sure enough, the City boss admitted his mistake on Friday before the visit of Arsenal, as Graham Chase of the Daily Telegraph reported.
It might not be considered as big a clanger as the one which cost City their top-flight status in 1996, but it will not go away easily if the team is paired with a major name in the last 16 next week.