It took Roberto Mancini just 10 minutes to destroy what little chance his Manchester City had to salvage anything from the shipwreck that's been its UEFA Champions League campaign on Wednesday.
In spite of an ugly precedent, and his players' public proclamation that it made them uncomfortable, Mancini went back to a 3-5-2 formation, the very ploy that had backfired in Europe several times before.
And so they were predictably peeled apart, layer by layer, by a savvy Real Madrid .
City desperately needed the home win to have even a prayer of staying in the running to qualify for the Round of 16. But the simplicity and frequency with which City gifted Real chances was never going to allow that.
Just 10 minutes in, Luka Modric found Angel Di Maria on the right, who cut the ball back onto his preferred left and heaved a looping cross towards the back post. There, Karim Benzema easily ran away from Maicon and Pablo Zabaleta, perhaps confused over who was supposed to cover the ...