There were four goals in the opening 11 minutes of the Champions League quarter-final second leg between Manchester City and Tottenham and still they weren’t the main talking point come the end of the evening.
With Spurs 1-0 up from the first leg last week, City new that away goals wouldn’t be in their favour and yet still shipped three on a maddening night at the Etihad.
Indeed, goals aplenty from Raheem Sterling and Son Heung-Min saw the aggregate score level at 3-3 at the hour mark when Kevin De Bruyne played Sergio Aguero in to put City ahead in the tie for the first time…
However, substitute Fernando Llorente then added another for Spurs in the 73rd minute, levelling things back up at 4-4 after squeaking through a VAR check on a possible handball (the ball appeared to deflect in off his hip/outer thigh).
With time running out, Pep ordered his men forward in search of a precious winner and, as the 93rd minute wicked away, it seemed for all the world like Sterling had wrangled it.
The Etihad erupted, Sterling celebrated like a man possessed, Guardiola leapt around frantically on the touchline. City thought they’d done it… and then VAR adjuged Aguero to be absolutely infinitesimally offside in the build-up…
Cue palpable heartbreak. The deflation inside the stadium probably registered on the Richter scale. A straight, stiff uppercut gut-punch to the soul.
Guardiola was in a heap. Distraught. Tottenham celebrated all around him. Relief, shock, disbelief, you name it. Into the semi-finals of the Champions League despite never really having the upper hand.
So, it’s Pochettino’s Tottenham who will face Ajax in the last four, meaning a place in the grand finale for one of them. What a phenomenal job he’s done.
Could it really be? Could it finally be Spurs’ year?
As for City, woe betide their next Premier League opponents. There’s going to be an awful lot of pent-up frustration let loose on *checks notes* Tottenham.