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Friday, May 14, 2021

On This Day: VAR steals headlines as Spurs knocks out City in seven-goal UCL thriller

With seven goals and VAR involvement, Manchester City's UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg clash against Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: April 18, 2020 3:46:53 pm
VAR ruled out Raheem Sterling’s potential winner for City, making Fernando Llorente’s goal with his hip to be deciding one. (Source: Reuters)

On April 17, 2019, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling’s celebration after scoring an apparent tie-deciding goal in 90+4′ minute was rendered futile because of a Video Assistant Referee decision, as Tottenham Hotspur progressed to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on away goals despite losing 4-3 in the second leg at Etihad Stadium.

With seven goals, the intervention of video referee decisions, and Pep Guardiola on his knees at the full-time whistle, City’s quarter-final second leg clash against Spurs was a rollercoaster ride start to finish.

After losing the first leg at the Wembley Stadium, Guardiola’s Manchester City came into the deciding leg with all guns blazing. But Mauricio Pochettino’s side too had similar things on their mind. From the kick-off itself, the match showed that it had a little bit of everything — a flurry of early goals, a barrage of tense moments and a bit of late refereeing drama.

The match saw four goals in the opening 11 minutes, as Son Heung-min, who had scored the winner in the first leg, scored twice, while Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva also fired goals for the home side. After Sterling added another in the 21st minute, the match calmed down a bit with the aggregate stuck on 3-3, with Spurs going through on away goals.

But after City’s Argentine talisman, Sergio Aguero rocketed a shot past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to give City the advantage in the 59th minute, the match took a berserk turn. Controversially enough, Spurs’ Fernando Llorente scored from a corner with his hip and restored his team’s advantage amidst complains from the entire stadium that it was a handball.

The Premier League champions didn’t bow down and kept on trying till the last minute. But Spurs managed to hold on to the 4-4 aggregate, with Raheem Sterling’s last-gasp left-footed finish ruled out because of a VAR interruption. The technology had adjudged Sergio Aguero to be in an offside position in the buildup to the goal.

After defeating City on away goals, Spurs met AFC Ajax next in the semi-finals and managed to beat them dramatically with a Lucas Moura second-leg hattrick, before ultimately losing to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final.

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