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Football: ‘It’s cruel,’ says Guardiola

by [email protected]
Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola bemoaned VAR’s failure to rule out Fernando Llorente’s decisive goal for Tottenham as Manchester City’s quadruple bid was shattered by a “cruel” Champions League quarter-final exit on Wednesday (Apr 17).

Guardiola’s side were closing in on a place in the semi-finals after staging a thrilling comeback to lead 4-2 in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

But Tottenham striker Llorente bundled home in the 73rd minute via a combination of his arm and hip, with VAR allowing the goal on review despite City’s appeals for handball.

Guardiola could be seen gesturing for handball while the VAR check was made, but his protest was in vain.

Adding to the City manager’s frustration, Raheem Sterling appeared to have scored what would have been the winner in the final seconds of stoppage-time, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for offside against Sergio Aguero.Advertisement

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

“I watched the action and the people from above decided it (City’s disallowed goal) was offside.

“In the moment we celebrated and we were so close to the semi-finals.

“It is cruel but it is what it is and we have to accept it.

Despite the painful end to City’s attempt to win all four major trophies this season, Guardiola insisted he was proud of the effort put in by his team and their supporters.

“We missed a penalty in the first leg but I am so proud of the players and the fans,” he said.

“I have never heard noise like that since I have been in Manchester, but football is unpredictable.”
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