Manchester City's second flirtation with the Champions League ended as the first on Wednesday in a deeply frustrating group stage elimination after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Real Madrid.
After finding Bayern Munich and Napoli too hot to handle 12 months ago, City at least had the consolation of winning the Premier League title.
But in European terms, Roberto Mancini's men have yet to make the grade after Sergio Aguero's second-half penalty garnered only their third point from five outings, leaving nine-times continental kings Real to cruise into the last 16.
Arsenal, PSG advance
The Spanish were joined by Schalke and Borussia Dortmund of Germany, England's Arsenal, Paris Saint Germain of France, and Italian giants AC Milan.
Two-times champions Porto, 3-0 winners over Dinamo Zagreb, and debutants Malaga, who drew 2-2 at Zenit St Petersburg, had already qualified before the fifth round of group action.
Had City managed to hold onto a 2-1 lead in Madrid in the opening match in Group D it could all have been so different — but Real fought back to win 3-2 and two dropped home points against Dortmund and four more spurned against Ajax closed the door firmly shut on the English side's ambitions.
AC Milan moved through to the knockout phase for the 11th straight season in a Group C which Malaga have dominated after the Italians won 3-1 away to Anderlecht.
Arsenal meanwhile moved into the last 16 after second-half goals from Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski enabled the Gunners to see off French no-hopers Montpellier to ensure they go through with Schalke, who still top Group B by a point after a 1-0 success over Olympiakos pushed the Greeks out of contention. PSG are still vying for top spot in Group A and are through to the second phase after Ezekiel Lavezzi struck both goals in the 2-0 win at Dynamo Kiev.