Football

Manchester City ousts Real Madrid, Lyon next in Champions League quarterfinals

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne jumps for a header with Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne jumps for a header with Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus seized on defensive mistakes to lead Manchester City to a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League on Friday, reaching the quarterfinals with a 4-2 aggregate victory.

"We were extra hungry tonight,” Sterling said. “The energy and the fight - we showed that throughout the game.”

After knocking out the record 13-time European champion, City’s mission to win the continent’s elite competition for the first time will continue against Lyon on August 15 as part of UEFA’s unique, pandemic-enforced last eight tournament in Lisbon.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg in February — before the coronavirus shut down sports — Sterling extended the Premier League runners-up’s advantage in the ninth minute at an empty Etihad Stadium.

With Sergio Ramos banned after being sent off in the Madrid leg, Raphael Varane was without his usual central defensive partner. And the Frenchman was caught out in possession by Gabriel Jesus, who squared for Sterling to tap past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for his 100th City goal.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, center, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, center, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Real began to make its presence felt and equalized through Karim Benzema, who headed in powerfully from Rodrygo’s cross in the 28th minute.

City went close to a second before the break after a poor clearance from Courtois went straight to Kevin De Bruyne, but Phil Foden - playing as a false nine with Sergio Aguero injured - struck wide.

But another blunder by Varane in the 68th minute was again capitalized on by Gabriel Jesus.

"Mistakes are part of football,” Madrid winger Eden Hazard said. “I know it’s hard for rafa because he did two mistakes but we will support him. Today was not his best game.”

Varane failed to cut out a long ball forward and then made an ineffective attempt to head back to Courtois. Gabriel Jesus closed in quickly and dinked the ball over Courtois.

"With the players that we’ve got, there’s no inferiority, we played really well,” Sterling said. “They’ve got some great players but with the energy, the performance we showed, we were brilliant tonight.”

In his fourth season in charge of City, Pep Guardiola remains in contention to win the Champions League for the first time since his 2011 success with Barcelona.

But the newly crowned Spanish champions were eliminated from a Champions League knockout round for the first time under Zinedine Zidane. He led Madrid to three consecutive titles from 2016 to 2018, resigned after delivering the 13th title but returned as coach in March 2019.

"It’s hard for the club because the club always wants to win the Champions League,” Hazard said. “We won La Liga but we want to win everything.”

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Champions League round of 16 second leg, soccer match between Juventus and Lyon at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Champions League round of 16 second leg, soccer match between Juventus and Lyon at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Madrid in 2018 like Zidane, hasn’t won the Champions League since then with Juventus.

The Portugal star scored two goals in Friday’s other quarterfinal but Juve’s 2-1 victory over Lyon wasn’t enough to avoid elimination. Memphis Depay’s penalty allowed the French side to advance 2-2 on away goals after winning the first leg in February 1-0.

Lyon’s quarterfinal against City will be played in the stadium of Lisbon club Sporting. The seven games in the Portuguese capital, including the final at Benfica on Aug. 23, will be played without fans due to pandemic restrictions.

The lack of spectators meant the match in Manchester was not preceded by the usual booing of the Champions League anthem by supporters angered by UEFA pursuing Financial Fair Play cases against the Abu Dhabi-owned club.

Since the first leg, though, City overturned a two-season ban from European competitions after being cleared in an appeal case over the source of funding from jersey and stadium sponsor Etihad to comply with break-even rules.

But City’s obstruction in the case was strongly condemned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which led to the club being fined 10 million euros, which was two-thirds less than the original UEFA punishment.

Now City’s season can still end with the club UEFA wanted to ban picking up its biggest club prize.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2020 4:16:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/manchester-city-ousts-real-madrid-lyon-next-in-champions-league-quarterfinals/article32301309.ece

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