'Cruel' exit won't change Pep's VAR view

China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-19 09:34
Fernando Llorente scores Tottenham's third goal during Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal, second leg against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium. A VAR review of the goal ruled that Llorente had not handled the ball. ACTION IMAGES/REUTERS

City boss still supports video reviews despite heartbreaking elimination

MANCHESTER, England-Three minutes into stoppage time, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling slid across the pitch and puffed his chest to the crowd, roaring in elation.

Tottenham players collapsed to the turf, some flat on their backs, forlorn and heartbroken.

From the brink of Champions League elimination, Manchester City was celebrating its passage to the semifinals on Wednesday.

But not for long.

As City manager Pep Guardiola was leaping on the touchline, the video screen flashed "VAR review" and the stadium fell silent as Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir received updates in his ear from the video assistant referee checking replays.

When Christian Eriksen's misplaced back-pass deflected off Bernardo Silva into the path of Sergio Aguero, the City striker was offside before setting up Sterling in the penalty area.

"It's cruel," Guardiola said afterwards.

"I support VAR. It's just to see the goal from (Fernando) Llorente is handball. From one angle it looks like handball, from the angle the referee saw it doesn't," said Guardiola.

"I'm fine for the fair football, for the fair decisions. If it's offside, it's offside. In the future, even the present, it will be fair."

There would be no eighth goal on this breathtaking night of epic drama. Tottenham advanced on away goals following a 4-3 loss that left the teams tied 4-4 on aggregate and crushed City's dream of a quadruple.

Guardiola, a Champions League-winning coach with Lionel Messi's Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, failed to reach the semifinals for the sixth straight time, his third with City after three misses with Bayern Munich.

Instead, Tottenham reached its first European Cup semifinal in 57 years and will play Ajax.

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