Accept it or not, but it’s not Pep’s Manchester City who are in the semis but its Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur who are. This fixture was not just between two teams, but it was between two English teams who know each other so well and played for their survival as it was not a just a league match. Both the teams have utter respect for each other and so do the managers.
During the two legs, VAR (Video Assistant Referee) played a major role from giving a penalty to denying a winner. With an aggregate score of 4 – 4, Spurs moves ahead to face Ajax in the semi-finals by winning the game on the third tiebreaker. The second leg was so much of a late-night drama and there are no words for those who missed this fixture.
While City was playing for their quadruple hopes alive, Spurs were playing for their first European semi-final since 1992.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (1st Leg)
City started their game with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench and Fernandinho starting in his place. There was no change in the Spurs squad. City, as usual, with their style of play, dominated the game by having 59% possession. But that wasn’t enough for them to win the game as they couldn’t convert any of their 36 dangerous attacks in the game.
Manchester City couldn’t convert the 11th minute awarded penalty into a goal as Hugo Lloris guessed correctly to save Aguero’s effort. No one could have thought that this miss would cost City like this.
Harry Kane was forced off the field as he suffered an ankle injury after having a collision with Fabian Delph. He’s now out for the rest of the season.
At the 78th minute, Heung-Min Son stayed onside after from Eriksen’s pass and showed great balance to keep the ball in play at the byline and netted in a beautiful goal, leaving all of the city players shocked.
Apart from the dominance of City, Spurs were the ones who outshined everyone as they didn’t let City score an important away goal.
Both the managers on post-match conference:
Mauricio Pochettino: “Still, a lot of work to do, still Man City is the favorite to win the Champions League. Of course, it is going to be tough. In one week, it will be a completely different game. But the win gives us the belief, we are going to be there and fight a lot.”
Pep Guardiola: “It leaves us in this situation in the second leg, but sometimes 1-0 can be better than 0-0 because you know exactly what you have to do.”
Score: Manchester City 0 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur
MOTM: Heung-Min Son
Etihad Stadium (2nd Leg)
What a dramatic night it was!
In the first 20 minutes of the game, both teams scored a total of 5 goals. It all started with Raheem Sterling netting in the 4th minute of the game. But Spurs didn’t let their hopes down and Son came ahead twice and scored in the 7th and 10th minute of the game, giving a lead to Spurs. But it was B. Silva who netted in, in the 11th minute. Then at the 21st minute, Sterling scored again.
Minute after minute, both the teams were proving their worth. After half-time, Sergio Aguero in the 59th minute scored another goal for City. Now the final aggregate score was 4 – 3, with City leading but at the 73rd minute Llorente scored in. For many, it was a hand but no one knows why VAR approved for that goal.
Now the aggregate was 4 – 4 and if the score remained like that, Spurs will win according to the third tiebreaker rule. City didn’t give up and tried their best till the end.
Kevin De Bruyne showed his class with a hat-trick of assists in the match.
City succeeded in the extra time when Raheem Sterling netted in. The whole stadium got lighted up and one could see celebrations all over the stadium but VAR denied the goal as Sergio Aguero was ruled offside.
Score: Manchester City 4 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur (Aggregate: 4 – 4)
MOTM: Kevin De Bruyne
Now, Spurs will face Ajax ahead in the semi-final on 1st and 9th of May.