Manchester City fans are set for an anxious wait for the outcome of a match which could genuinely determine the fate of their faltering title defence, in a match being played nearly 3,500 miles away from the Etihad Stadium.
Tomorrow night's Africa Cup of Nations Group D decider between Ivory Coast and Cameroon in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea will no doubt have one keen viewer City boss, as he waits to see if Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony are available for Saturday's crunch Premier League showdown with Chelsea.
Toure and Bony could be back in Pellegrini's plans should they fail to qualify for the quarter-finals, but incredibly their AFCON fate chances of being at Stamford Bridge this weekend could quite easily come down to the drawing of lots.
Prepare for a headache
Ivory Coast are facing the very real prospect of a lottery deciding who survives, because their record is identical to Cameroon thanks to both sides drawing successive matches 1-1 over the last week.
That pesky 1-1 scoreline has been the final result in all four matches in Group D thus far, which presents tournament organisers with a huge headache Guinea and Mali also be deadlocked by 9pm tomorrow night.
City could still get huge boost
Of course the side affectionately known as the Elephants could still do the business against Cameroon and render this interesting permutation redundant, but if the outrageous recent run of score draws continues then AFCON organisers need to have a plan in place to separate sides with inseparable symmetry in terms of their slow progress in the tournament to date.
Pellegrini could ultimately be the beneficiary, afforded the chance to hand £25m January signing Bony a debut far earlier than expected.
Toure is arguably far more crucial for City, who have failed to win any of their three matches since he left to represent Cote d'Ivoire earlier this month.
The prospect of losing to Chelsea and falling eight points behind Mourinho's men this weekend is unthinkable for Pellegrini, who could effectively be waiting on a game of pure chance to learn if his strongest possible starting XI is available for their most important game of the season by some distance.
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