Champions League Favorite Man City Crashes Out in Crazy Quarter Final vs Spurs
Posted on: April 18, 2019, 05:41h.
Last updated on: April 18, 2019, 05:41h.
Tottenham Hotspur progressed to the semifinals of the Champions league at the expense of former favorite Manchester City on Wednesday night in a breathtaking seven-goal thriller in which VAR (video-assistant referee) played a starring role. It’s hard to recall a game of soccer so heart-stoppingly dramatic and with so much at stake.
Trailing 1-0 after the first leg last week at the brand-new $1.3 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it was City that seemed determined to seize the game by the scruff of the neck at the Etihad Stadium.
Within four minutes of the kick-off, in-form England forward Raheem Sterling had levelled the scores, bending a shot into the corner from just inside the 18-yard box.
But it took Spurs’ impressive Korean striker Son Heung-min – deputizing for the team’s injured captain and talismanic top goal-scorer, Harry Kane – just three minutes to respond when a defensive mistake by Aymeric Laporte allowed Son to blast a shot at goal that cannoned in off City keeper Edison.
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Two minutes later, Son scored again. Once more, Laporte was at fault, giving the ball away to Lucas Moura in a dangerous position. Moura found the Korean, who curled a shot into the top corner.
Suddenly 3-1 down on aggregate, City needed a quick response, and Bernardo Silva was happy to oblige. Just two minutes later, he squeezed the ball in at the near post via a deflection.
All this within the first ten electrifying minutes.
But the away goal rule — which allows the team with the most goals scored away from home to progress in the event of a draw — meant City still needed to score twice to avoid elimination.
The Manchester side continued to press and on the 20th minute found a breakthrough when a Kevin De Bruyne cross fizzed across the goal to be met by Sterling, who netted his second from a tight angle.
City remained on the hunt until the 58th minute when Sergio Aguero sensationally made it 4-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. For the first time in the entire tie, City were ahead.
But 15 minutes later, it was advantage Spurs again when Fernando Llorente bundled the goal across the line, apparently with his hip, although VAR was called upon to determine whether or not the ball had hit his arm. It hadn’t, according to the replays, and the goal stood.
City had to score; Spurs to hang on. But a game like this was always going to provide one final twist.
In the dying minutes of stoppage time, City thought they had won it when Sterling swept in from an Aguero cross. The stadium erupted. But VAR has other ideas. A goal that would have stood in any other year, before the new technology had been brought in, was ruled out because Aguero’s foot had been offside.
Man City was eliminated from the Champions League by the finest of margins possible. And on Saturday, the two teams have to do it all again when they meet in the English Premier League.
City had been 3/1 favorite until its first meeting with Spurs last week. Now that honor goes to Barcelona (13/8), which made short work of Man Utd on Tuesday, thanks to an in-form Lionel Messi.
Barcelona will face second-favorite Liverpool (13/5), which beat Porto 3-1 last night, in the semifinals, while Spurs (9/2) will face the competition’s wild card Ajax (26/5).
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