Manchester City have booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Real Madrid, thanks to an altogether uncharacteristic pair of mistakes on the part of Raphael Varane.
City host Real
Pep Guardiola’s men welcomed Los Blancos to the Etihad a short time ago, for a highly-anticipated Champions League last-16 2nd-leg clash.
It was tonight’s hosts who held the advantage ahead of kick-off, on the back of a deserved 2-1 win in the tie’s opener.
A meeting at the Bernabeu back in March eventually saw Gabriel Jesus cancel out Isco’s strike, before Kevin De Bruyne turned the matchup on its head from the penalty spot late on.
Adding to the uphill task facing Real Madrid, meanwhile, was the fact that they were devoid of the services of captain and leader Sergio Ramos tonight.
The Spanish stopper was given his marching orders late in the tie’s first-leg, with Ramos having been suspended in Manchester as a result.
Varane blows it
When all was said and done at the Etihad a short time ago, though, it was Los Merengues’ other star centre-half who grabbed the headlines.
With just 9 minutes on the clock, a careless mistake on the part of Raphael Varane saw Gabriel Jesus dispossess the Frenchman on the edge of the visitors’ box.
Jesus went on to power towards goal, before laying off to an unmarked Raheem Sterling 8 yards out.
And City’s in-form wide-man made no mistake with his finish, slotting home with minimal fuss to send the Sky Blues on their way to what, at times, looked as though it could prove a lopsided win.
Look away now Raphael Varane 👀
— Football on BT Sport #Club2020 (@btsportfootball) August 7, 2020
The attacking quality in Real’s ranks, however, soon shone through.
A neat piece of football down the City left eventually saw Rodrygo slipped in on the byline, with the Brazilian youngster having dinked a perfectly weighted delivery into the heart of the hosts’ box.
And it came as no surprise when Karim Benzema was on hand to nod home, dragging Zinedine Zidane’s men firmly back into the tie.
The remaining 20 minutes of the first-half, and opening 20 of the 2nd for that matter, saw both sides spurn a whole host of major opportunities.
Sterling and Benzema both went close to adding to their respective tallies, with Eden Hazard, Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo having all produced impressive stops, too.
When the evening’s telling goal did arrive, though, it came as a result of another defensive mistake.
And, incredibly, Raphael Varane was once again the man at fault.
The usually reliable French international twice fluffed the opportunity to head clear, with his 2nd attempt having slipped Gabriel Jesus in one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois in the Real goal.
Despite the latter having looked favourite to emerge with the ball, Jesus did brilliantly to poke a first-time finish beyond the reach of the advancing Belgian, to put Manchester City back in front:
Another mistake from Raphael Varane?! 😮
One of the best around, but he’ll be having nightmares about Gabriel Jesus!
— Football on BT Sport #Club2020 (@btsportfootball) August 7, 2020
And this proved all she wrote when it came to the evening’s scoring, as Pep Guardiola’s Citizens kept their Champions League hopes firmly alive, at the expense of Zidane and his European specialists.
Man City vs Lyon
City will no doubt be confident of their chances of advancing beyond the final-8, too, on the back of this evening’s other last-16 result.
A 2nd-leg meeting between Juventus and Lyon in Turin eventually saw the former emerge with a 2-1 win, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo double.
However, the Bianconeri’s 1-0 defeat in the tie’s opener in France meant that their 1-goal victory tonight did not prove enough, as the Serie A champions crashed out of Europe in disappointing fashion.
This, in turn, has seen Manchester City set up a quarter-final meeting with Rudi Garcia’s heavily unfavoured Lyon side.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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