From one angle it is handball, from another it is not - Pep Guardiola on Fernando Llorente's goal
Written by: Neil Talnikar
The Spaniard was clearly dejected after VAR ruled out Raheem Sterling’s 93rd minute strike for offside.
On an astonishing night at the Etihad Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur progressed to the semi finals of the Champions League, despite losing the game 4-3 at the hands of Manchester City. There was a flurry of goals from both sides as spectators were left in awe from what they were watching, while Spurs advanced in the competition thanks to the number of away goals.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had a huge huge role to play on the night as both its goal reviews went in the favour of the visitors. Without the VAR, the story of the game would have been much different.
The game started with Raheem Sterling opening his account for the hosts in the very fourth minute however Spurs’ in-form forward Heung-min Son equalised just a couple of minutes later. The South Korean then again scored in the 10th minute to put his side forward only for Bernardo Silva to level the scores in the following minute.
With four goals already in the first 12 minutes of the game, the spectators had a little idea about the goal fest that was to follow. In a matter of another hour, Sterling had netted again along with a strike from Sergio Aguero while Fernando Llorente’s scuffed finished was ruled in his favour by the VAR.
At this stage, the aggregate score was 4-4 with Spurs in advantage because of the away goals. However, City were in no mood to settle for a loss and resumed their relentless attacking display.
Their persistent approach finally helped them as Sterling found the back of the net in the 93rd minute of the game sending the fans and the coaching staff berserk. Massive celebrations were on their way as City were in for a historic win.
However, what followed was just a series of emotional breakdowns on part of the City fans and celebrations for Spurs. The referee blew his whistle after a VAR check, ruling Aguero offside during the build up to Sterling’s winner.
Pep Guardiola had jumped with excitement after the goal but was seen hands-on-head for the remaining minutes, post VAR’s decision. The Spaniard went on to make a case for a possible handball during Llorente’s goal, after the game.
“I support VAR, it is just to see the goal maybe from Llorente’s handball. From one angle, it is handball. From another, it is not,” he added.
“I am fair for football, when it is offside, it is offside. I think in the future, even in the present it will be fair,” said the 48 year-old as he admitted that the decision was a correct one.
Published: Thu Apr 18, 2019 07:14 PM IST