Pep Guardiola appeared gutted to see his side eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage yet again, with VAR confirming a late goal for Tottenham while ruling out what would have been a late winner for Manchester City on Wednesday.
City came into the night, trailing 1-0 from the first leg and needing to win by two clear goals following an early onslaught that saw Spurs bag two away goals before half-time. This as the sides split five goals in the first 21 minutes of the second leg.
Sergio Aguero’s second-half strike had City out in front once again before VAR decisions took over in the closing stages.
First, it was a goal for Fernando Llorente , confirmed by VAR despite the hint of handball, putting Spurs back in front in the tie on away goals, before Raheem Sterling’s stoppage-time strike that would have been a winner for City, was ruled out for offside after being checked.
The loss in the tie ends City’s chase for a quadruple, and Guardiola was not pleased with how his club’s run in the Champions League came to an end.
‘In first 20 minutes it was 3-2. Five goals in 20 minutes is not quite normal,’ he told BT Sport . ‘We scored our goals and after, VAR made the rest.’
‘The handball was inches. It [Sterling’s disallowed goal] was offside.
‘I support VAR, but maybe from one angle Fernando Llorente’s goal is handball, maybe from the referee’s angle it is not.
‘It was cruel. The moment we celebrate and we are so close to the semi-finals. It is what it is.
‘The first half was good. In the second we created a lot of chances. Spurs are a strong team, so it was quite equal. Unfortunately we are not at the next stage.’
City still have plenty to play for, with an FA Cup final against Watford to come, and the club in a battle for the Premier League title with Liverpool.
And while Guardiola admits the loss to Spurs will be hard to take, he promised that his club would be back up for the closing run in a couple of days.
‘We have a lot of games from the league and FA Cup final,’ he said. ‘Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too, but the day after we will be ready to fight for the Premier League.’
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