MANCHESTER CITY 4, TOTTENHAM 3 (4-4 on Aggregate – Tottenham go through on away goals)
Blue Flags, Goals, and Atmosphere
There was the customary booing of the UEFA Champions League theme and the requested atmosphere was easy to find with blue flags and the moon shining in the blue sky over the Etihad.
Raheem Sterling scored to kick start the night after just 4 minutes but the goals didn’t stop coming. Five goals in 21 minutes – a new record for goals at the start of a Champions League match – and the Etihad was rapturous.
After 59 minutes when City completed their comeback with Sergio Aguero’s goal there was a crescendo of noise.
But it wasn’t over yet, and after Fernando Llorente put Spurs back in the lead, City thought they had won it in added time Aguero style through Raheem Sterling but VAR spoiled the party.
Premier League game will be different between the two sides
With defending seemingly optional in the opening minutes, it’s perhaps too much to expect the weekend’s game to be different.
Spurs will be fully aware that Manchester City will once again need goals – preferably early ones – to chase the domestic treble but will they need to change their game plan after losing Moussa Sissoko to injury after 41 minutes.
Fernando Llorente replaced the midfielder and Dele Alli – playing with his hand in a cast – had to drop deeper into midfield.
City couldn’t deal with Son Heung-min but perhaps took their eye off the ball when Llorente came on.
Pep Guardiola tries to shuts up shop again
Immediately after taking the lead in the tie, Fernandinho was brought on to replace David Silva as Guardiola opted for safety first but they couldn’t defend Trippier’s corner from which Fernando Llorente put Spurs back into the lead in the tie with.
VAR ends Manchester City quadruple chase
After Bernardo Silva had won the ball off Christian Eriksen the ball reached Sergio Aguero in added time.
The Argentine passed to Sterling who seemed to have won it in injury time but the cruellest blow of the night came after the Etihad roof had been blown off yet again.
Only then did the fans realise that VAR had ruled it out for Aguero’s offside in the build-up.
Guardiola, who has been calling for VAR for some time now, was as distraught as Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was ecstatic after full time.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester City 4, Tottenham 3
Ederson: 6. Exposed by wobbly defending, still dared to come off his line with a header. Saved from Fernando Llorente and Christian Eriksen in the second half.
Kyle Walker: 6. Poor cover for Son’s goals but did a lot of running to create extra options higher up the pitch and won free kicks in importance spaces.
Vincent Kompany: 7. Was slow to turn for Spurs fast breaks but put some big tackles and interceptions in after the game got going. Went up front in injury time as City chased one final goal.
Aymeric Laporte: 4. His mistakes led to the Spurs goals in the first half. Some passing went astray but he didn’t hide.
Benjamin Mendy: 6. Busy dealing with Christian Eriksen and probably under instructions to cut down his runs forward – was wasteful when he did go forward.
Kevin De Bruyne: 9. A hat trick of assists for the Belgian. Great vision to pick out Sterling for the opening goal of the night and crossed to create Sterling’s second in quick succession before picking out Sergio Aguero to score the goal that put them ahead on the night.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6. Not a Fernandinho replacement. Volleyed a golden chance over the bar late on.
David Silva: 7. Early free kick too high. Some of his passing not crisp but improved after the break. Taken off as City tried to protect a lead.
Raheem Sterling: 9. Great start for City with the opening goal, quickly scored a second, constantly threatened Spurs throughout and then had his own Aguero moment in injury time which was then fatally ruled out by VAR for offside.
Bernardo Silva: 8. Immense work rate and earned City’s equaliser. Excellent on the ball, drew a lot of fouls as Spurs struggled to cope with him and could have scored in the second half.
Sergio Aguero: 8. Found Bernardo Silva for City’s equaliser. Worked in a deeper role and although not everything he tried came off he was there when Kevin De Bruyne found him in the second half to put City ahead on aggregate with their fourth goal of the night. Had a late chance saved by Hugo Lloris after City had fallen behind on aggregate again and was offside when Sterling thought he had won it.
Fernandinho (for David Silva 63): 6. Brought on to protect City’s precious lead.
Leroy Sane (for Benjamin Mendy 84): Too late to mark.
GOALS – Manchester City 4, Tottenham 3
Man City 1, Tottenham 0: 4. Raheem Sterling whipped in the opening goal from 16 yards out wide on the left to level the tie after a mazy run by Kevin De Bruyne and a pass to release the winger.
Man City 1, Tottenham 1: 7. Son Heung-min equalises after pouncing on Aymeric Laporte’s poor attempt to clear Dele Alli’s through ball. City now need to score two more times to win the tie.
Man City 1, Tottenham 2: 10. Son curls in his second after a fast break by Spurs which ended with Christian Eriksson finding Son with an incisive pass – the South Korean curled one past Ederson.
Man City 2, Tottenham 2: 11. Sergio Aguero found Bernardo Silva on the right and his shot took a massive deflection off Danny Rose to deceive Hugo Lloris from 6 yards out. City level but still need 2 more goals to beat Spurs.
Man City 3, Tottenham 2: 21. Kevin De Bruyne’s quick free kick release Bernardo Silva who gave the ball back to the Belgian. A swift right wing cross later and Raheem Sterling was firing City back into the lead on the night from 3 yards out wide on the left.
Man City 4, Tottenham 2: 59. Kevin De Bruyne slipped through Sergio Aguero after a great ball forward by Ilkay Gundogan and the Argentine did the rest from 7 yards out with Spurs in disarray
Man City 4, Tottenham 3: 73. Fernando Llorente rose highest to meet Keiran Trippier’s corner which came off the Spaniard’s thigh and into the back of the net. A swift VAR check confirmed the goal, despite suspicion of handball) and City needed to go again.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 4, Tottenham 3
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy (Sane 84), De Bruyne, Gundogan, David Silva (Fernandinho 63), Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Aguero
Man City Subs Not Used: Muric, Stones, Mahrez, Otamendi, Jesus
Goals: Sterling 4, 21; Bernardo Silva 21; Aguero 59
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier. Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose (Sanchez 90), Sissoko (Llorente 41), Wanyama, Alli, Eriksen, Moura (Davies 82), Son
Tottenham Subs Not used: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Skipp
Booked: Sissoko 40, Son 48 (pulling back Kevin De Bruyne), Rose 54 (foul on Bernardo Silva), Wanyama 77 (trip on Kevin De Bruyne as he tried to break on the counter attack)
Goals: Son 7, 10; Llorente 73