Pep laments VAR heartbreak: ‘It was offside. It was cruel’

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola leapt high into the air, his sweater jacket billowing out as he joined the Etihad Stadium in celebrating Raheem Sterling‘s stoppage time winner.

Only it wasn’t a winner. VAR checked its angles and found that the goal resulted from an offside start, and Guardiola is still coming to grips with Tottenham Hotspur advancing over Man City due to away goals following a 4-3 win but 4-4 draw on aggregate.

[ RECAPS: Man City-Spurs | Porto-Liverpool ]

“It was offside,” Guardiola said. “It was cruel. The moment we celebrate and we are so close to the semi-finals. It is what it is.”

Now City turns its attention to what still could be a treble if it defenders its Premier League title and adds the FA Cup to its League Cup win.

And his challenge to the City fans was met: The Etihad was roaring for his men all afternoon long.

“We missed a penalty in the first leg but I am so proud of the players and the fans,” Guardiola said, referring to Hugo Lloris‘ stop on Sergio Aguero back in North London.

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“I have never heard noise like that since I have been in Manchester but football is unpredictable. … Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too but the day after we will be ready.”

Guardiola also was upset that VAR did not determine Fernando Llorente to have handled what stood as the match-deciding goal. From the BBC:

“I support VAR but maybe from one angle Fernando Llorente‘s goal is handball, maybe from the referee’s angle it is not.”

He’s long been a proponent of VAR, and will feel stung by it today, but it’s implementation will get things right more often than not. The fact that it saps some drama from the moment while also injecting a different kind of emotion is what we’ll debate for the rest of time.

On Wednesday, it was cruel (unless you’re a Spurs supporter).