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Man City v Tottenham: The anatomy of a Champions League classic

‘Oh my god’. BT Sport co-commentator Jermaine Jenas is left speechless as the Eithad Stadium is gripped by disbelief and despair.

Raheem Sterling’s 93rd minute winner has been chalked off by VAR. Manchester City are going out of the Champions League and their quadruple dream is up in smoke.

Tottenham have made it to their first ever semi-final on away goals after a night of high drama and emotion at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola sinks to his knees after Manchester City’s quadruple dreams came to an end

Mauricio Pochettino celebrates with the Tottenham fans after the final whistle at the Etihad

Mauricio Pochettino celebrates with the Tottenham fans after the final whistle at the Etihad

Fernando Llorente proved the difference as he scored the vital third away goal at the Etihad

Fernando Llorente proved the difference as he scored the vital third away goal at the Etihad

MATCH FACTS 

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson 6, Walker 6, Kompany 7, Laporte 4, Mendy 6 (Sane 83), De Bruyne 9.5, Gundogan 5.5, Silva 6 (Fernandinho 63, 6), Sterling 9, Aguero 8.5, Bernardo Silva 8

Subs not used: Muric, Stones, Mahrez, Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus

Manager: Pep Guardiola 7

Goals: Sterling 4, 21, Bernardo 11, Aguero 59

Tottenham (4-1-2-1-2): Lloris 5.5, Trippier 5, Alderweireld 6.5, Vertonghen 6, Rose 6 (Sanchez 90), Sissoko 7 (Llorente 41, 6.5), Wanyama 6, Alli 6, Eriksen 8, Lucas Moura 8, Son 8.5

Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Lamela, Foyth, Davies, Skipp

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino 8

Goals: Son 7, 10, Llorente 72

Yellow cards: Son, Sissoko, Rose, Wanyama 

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey) 5

*RATINGS BY JACK GAUGHAN AT THE ETIHAD* 

The incident caps an extraordinary football match, where the lead in the tie changed three times during 90 intense minutes.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the fourth minute. By the 11th it was 2-2. 

In the end it was a fortuitous bounce off Fernando Llorente’s hip – or was it his hand? – that set up a date with Ajax in the semis for Spurs.

Sportsmail take a look through one of the all-time Champions League classics… 

Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham (Raheem Sterling 4) (Aggregate 1-1)

No one in Europe, let alone England, stars as fast as Manchester City.

And sure enough they find themselves ahead inside the first five minutes. Kevin De Bruyne springs the middle of the pitch and finds Raheem Sterling in space on the left hand side of the penalty area.

He checks onto his right foot and unleashes a stunning drive into the far bottom corner. City draw level in the tie after the 1-0 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City with a fine curling effort after only three minutes

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City with a fine curling effort after only three minutes

Manchester City 1-1 Tottenham (Son Heung-min 7) (Agg 1-2)

Dele Alli swivels on the ball 25 yards from goal and looks for Christian Eriksen but Aymeric Laporte is there to cover.

His interception diverts the ball straight to Son Heung-min, with Ederson stood on his six-yard line having rushed out.

The South Korean takes the chance first time and it squeezes in off the City goalkeeper’s outstretched left boot.

Parity in the tie lasts only three minutes. This can no longer go to penalties or extra time. It will be decided in 90 minutes. 

Spurs have the advantage and will hold it until the hour mark. 

Son Heung-min brought Tottenham level on the night with an effort that beat Ederson

Son Heung-min brought Tottenham level on the night with an effort that beat Ederson

Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham (Son 10) (Agg 1-3)

City are wobbling and Laporte takes a heavy touch on the halfway line with Lucas Moura onto it like a flash. He breaks away with speed.

He reaches the edge of the area and feeds Christian Eriksen, who sprays it wide to Son. He lines up the shot and curls the ball into the top corner with his right foot.

Within six minutes of falling behind, Spurs seemingly have one foot in the semi-finals.

Now City need to score three more times without reply. 

Less than five minutes later, the South Korea international put Spurs ahead on the night

Less than five minutes later, the South Korea international put Spurs ahead on the night

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham (Bernardo Silva 11) (Agg 2-3)

After an end-to-end opening 10 minutes is it any surprise that City hit back immediately?

Within a minute they have reduced the arrears. Sergio Aguero ploughs through the middle of the pitch and finds Bernardo Silva in acres of space on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

He cuts in to shoot on his left, Danny Rose closes him down but can’t help wrong-footing Hugo Lloris as the ball deflects into the back of the net.

Just 11 minutes into this Champions League quarter-final second leg and it’s 2-2. 

To cap an incredible start, Bernardo Silva scored a second for City in the 11th minute

To cap an incredible start, Bernardo Silva scored a second for City in the 11th minute

Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham (Sterling 21) (Agg 3-3*)

On a night of high drama there is still time for slick attacking football. This is vintage Manchester City.

Bernardo Silva flicks the ball to De Bruyne in space on the right-hand side. The Belgian fizzes a first time ball across the six-yard box and Sterling is unmarked at the far post to slam home with his left foot.

City retake the lead on the night and draw level on aggregate.

This is the first game in Champions League history to have five goals in the opening 21 minutes and an extraordinary evening is well underway.

Raheem Sterling celebrates after latching on to the low ball and firing past Hugo Lloris

Raheem Sterling celebrates after latching on to the low ball and firing past Hugo Lloris

Sub: Sissoko OFF, Llorente ON – 41

With 18-year-old Oliver Skipp the only midfield option on the bench, Pochettino faces a huge decision as Moussa Sissoko goes down again holding his hamstring.

The sensible decision would be to reinforce the backline with Davinson Sanchez. Instead it’s the much-maligned Fernando Llorente who is summoned.

It’s a decision that has the potential to make or break Tottenham’s season.

Moussa Sissoko's injury brought Fernando Llorente into the game in a pivotal moment

Moussa Sissoko’s injury brought Fernando Llorente into the game in a pivotal moment

Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham (Sergio Aguero 59) (Agg 4-3)

After five goals in 21 minutes the Etihad is starved for another 38. Tottenham are clinging on and Hugo Lloris does well to palm a fierce drive from De Bruyne past the post.

His resistance is broken just five minutes later.

De Bruyne is again the architect for his third assist of the game. He weaves through the middle and breezes past Victor Wanyama.

He pokes the ball through to Sergio Aguero in the penalty area, who smashes a first time beyond Lloris’ grasp at the near post.

For the first time in the tie City are ahead and heading to just their second Champions League semi-final appearance. 

After 15 minutes of the second half, Sergio Aguero put City ahead in the tie for the first time

After 15 minutes of the second half, Sergio Aguero put City ahead in the tie for the first time

Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham (Fernando Llorente 73) (Agg 4-4*)

Drama yet again. Kieran Trippier’s corner floats over Vincent Kompany and lands at the head of substitute Llorente.

The ball bounces off the Spaniard and trickles behind Ederson and into the back of the net. Cue bedlam in the away end.

Spurs have the away goal advantage once more. But referee Cuneyt Cakir is summoned to the monitor at the side of the pitch for a VAR goal review.

Where on Llorente’s body did the ball strike? His right hand is out in front of him with his elbow by his hip, just where it hit him.

The angle he is given shows the ball strike him squarely in the hip. Cakir is satisfied and points to the centre circle to award the goal, and then gesticulates at his hip as he explains to the City players.

Had he been shown the opposite angle, he would have seen Llorente did handle it, and would have been forced to overrule his decision.

Spurs are back ahead on away goals. City’s lead in the tie lasted only 14 minutes. 

Llorente bundled the ball home to take Spurs through to the semi-finals on away goals

Llorente bundled the ball home to take Spurs through to the semi-finals on away goals

Referee Cuneyt Cakir checked the goal on VAR but he was not shown this angle of the incident

Referee Cuneyt Cakir checked the goal on VAR but he was not shown this angle of the incident

Referee Cakir consults the pitch-side monitor to check for handball after the Spaniard's goal

Referee Cakir consults the pitch-side monitor to check for handball after the Spaniard’s goal

Cakir returned to the pitch after reviewing the goal and indicated he saw it hit Llorente's hip

Cakir returned to the pitch after reviewing the goal and indicated he saw it hit Llorente’s hip

90+3 – Sterling scores 

City continue to push and dominate possession and territory. In the 85th minute substitute Fernandinho sprays the ball out to Leroy Sane, who strains every sinew in his neck to nod the ball into the path of Ilkay Gundogan, but hits his effort on the turn over the bar.

Then the drama. Two minutes into five minutes of added time and Tottenham emerge with the ball after a Gundogan shot is blocked on the edge of their area.

Christian Eriksen has the ball but is forced to turn back to goal as De Bruyne and Fernandinho pressure him.

For reasons known only to him, he tries to pass the ball back to Ben Davies. Bernardo Silva gets a crucial touch on it, and diverts it into the path of Aguero.

Raheem Sterling thought he had won the game at the death, only for the goal to be ruled out

Raheem Sterling thought he had won the game at the death, only for the goal to be ruled out

Sterling wheels away in celebration as the Etihad Stadium goes wild with joy late in the game

Sterling wheels away in celebration as the Etihad Stadium goes wild with joy late in the game

On the touchline Pep Guardiola bounces around and punches the air with joy after the goal

On the touchline Pep Guardiola bounces around and punches the air with joy after the goal

Sterling points to the heavens after seemingly sealing City's spot in the semi-finals

Sterling points to the heavens after seemingly sealing City’s spot in the semi-finals

Tottenham's players are in disbelief on the pitch as Toby Alderweireld shrugs his shoulders

Tottenham’s players are in disbelief on the pitch as Toby Alderweireld shrugs his shoulders

Dele Alli picks himself up from the ground as Spurs contemplate a dramatic European exit

Dele Alli picks himself up from the ground as Spurs contemplate a dramatic European exit

Aguero squares to Sterling in space, who lets the ball roll across him, and drills it on his left. Lloris gets a foot to it but it’s not enough. Right at the death, City have done it.

The camera is shaking as it follows Sterling’s delirious celebration. The Etihad is bouncing. The quadruple dream is back on! 

He races to the corner flag and celebrates in front of the home fans going bananas. The camera pans to Guardiola, who is bouncing up and down on the touchline and punching the air.

Mauricio Pochettino turns away from the pitch with his hands on his hips. In the background back-up goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga lies back in his seat with his hands on his head.

Toby Alderweireld shrugs while Llorente sinks to his haunches. Lloris sits in his goalmouth, motionless. A rueful side glance towards the euphoric City players.

Sterling punches the air and looks and points to the heavens. Dele Alli picks himself up after dropping to the ground. Bedlam.

VAR Goal Review – No Goal 

Suddenly ‘VAR Goal Review’ echoes around the stadium tannoy. There are huge gasps and the ground falls eerily silent. The air sucked out of the stadium and into the evening sky.

Referee Cakir has his hand to his ear and puts his whistle to his mouth. The VAR signal is made. Groans fill the air before an explosion in the away end. No goal! Aguero is ruled adjudged to be offside when the ball hit Bernardo Silva.

On BT Sport Jermaine Jenas can’t believe it: ‘Have they disallowed it? Oh my god. I cannot believe what we are seeing. Speechless’

A member of Tottenham’s coaching staff punches the air before retreating to the bench after being told to calm down by another. Pochettino remains pensive and puts his hand to his mouth. 

The mood changes in the stadium as the goal is reviewed for offside against Sergio Aguero

The mood changes in the stadium as the goal is reviewed for offside against Sergio Aguero

Referee Cakir indicates the goal has been disallowed after a consultation with VAR

Referee Cakir indicates the goal has been disallowed after a consultation with VAR

The City fans are in shock as the big screen confirms the goal has been ruled out by VAR

The City fans are in shock as the big screen confirms the goal has been ruled out by VAR

Guardiola cannot believe what has happened as he turns to look back at the pitch

Guardiola cannot believe what has happened as he turns to look back at the pitch

City's fans are in a state of shock after having their quadruple dream dramatically crushed

City’s fans are in a state of shock after having their quadruple dream dramatically crushed

Guardiola, wide-eyed, folds his arms and cannot believe what has just happened. City fans in the crowd are in shock. Crestfallen.

Pochettino lets off one final signal of encouragement as Guardiola turns around with his hands on his head before flinging off his fleece.

The final whistle goes and Pochettino and his staff embrace. The fierce emotion on the Spurs manager’s face is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 

Guardiola turns on his heels and marches down the tunnel. City’s players sink to their knees on the pitch. Glorious triumph has evaporated to be replaced by agony.

Manchester City’s official Twitter account can only muster this response: ‘wfiuhefijvbeojefvnojegfnvepgfjevgpinbgw’.

The European dream is over for another year in the cruelest way imaginable. For Tottenham a maiden semi-final appearance.

You won’t forget where you were when you watched one of the all-time great Champions League games.



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