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Pep Guardiola reacts to VAR decision after Man City’s “cruel” exit


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented his side’s “cruel” Champions League exit after VAR decisions awarded Tottenham a late goal and denied them a winner.

The Citizens played host to Spurs at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night for the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie looking to bounce back from a 1-0 aggregate deficit.

The two English teams would go on play a classic seven-goal thriller, with the first five goals coming during the opening 21 minutes.

Son Heung-min’s brace inside 10 minutes cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener and put Spurs ahead before Bernardo Silva equalised for City.

Sterling later put Guardiola’s men ahead by slotting home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross to make it 3-3 on aggregate. After the break, Sergio Aguero struck to hand City control of the tie.

But VAR decisions intervened in Spurs’ favour, with  Fernando Llorente’s goal being allowed despite suggestions of a handball.

Sterling was then denied a hat-trick and, crucially, a winner for City after a VAR review deemed he was offside.

Despite maintaining his positive stance on VAR, Guardiola was left to rue the system’s decisions in what ultimately ended City’s quadruple aspirations.

“In first 20 minutes, it was 3-2. Five goals in 20 minutes is not quite normal,” Guardiola told BT Sport.

“We scored our goals and after, VAR made the rest.”

“The handball was inches. It [Sterling’s disallowed goal] was offside.

“I support VAR but maybe from one angle Fernando Llorente’s goal is handball, maybe from the referee’s angle, it is not.

“It was cruel. The moment we celebrate and we are so close to the semi-finals. It is what it is.

“The first half was good. In the second we created a lot of chances. Spurs are a strong team so it was quite equal. Unfortunately, we are not at the next stage.”

After winning the Carabao Cup in February, City can still win a treble this season as Watford await in the FA Cup final and hopes of retaining the Premier League title remain strong.

“We have a lot of games from the league and FA Cup final,” said Guardiola.

“Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too but the day after we will be ready to fight for the Premier League.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 17: General view inside the stadium showing the score during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)