Deja vu for Man City as VAR saves Spurs again
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola bemoaned a sense of deja vu as his side saw a late winner against Tottenham ruled out by VAR for the second time in four months as Saturday’s Premier League clash ended 2-2.
Spurs won a thrilling Champions League quarter-final tie between the sides on away goals in April when Raheem Sterling had an injury-time strike ruled out by VAR.
And City were denied once more when Gabriel Jesus saw a stoppage-time winner disallowed on review for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.
“Deja vu. It was the same,” said Guardiola. (The) last action we score a goal, VAR disallowed it. What should I say? It’s the second time, it’s tough.”
Guardiola was angered by the inconsistent use of the technology as City were not awarded a penalty in the first-half when Rodri was hauled to the floor by Erik Lamela.
“It was incredible it wasn’t a penalty in the first-half, but VAR said it wasn’t and then at the end they did.”
City twice led through Sterling and Sergio Aguero, but just like in last season’s European clash between the sides, the hosts were susceptible on the counter-attack and at set-pieces.
Lamela’s long range effort briefly brought Spurs level in the first-half and substitute Lucas Moura equalised with his first touch 11 minutes into the second period as Mauricio Pochettino’s men scored with their only two shots on target.
A share of the points sees both sides fall two points behind Liverpool just two games into the new season, but on this evidence another shootout between City and Liverpool for the title looks likely as Tottenham struggled to cope with Guardiola’s men, who had 30 shots on goal.
“Better than that I don’t know if we are able to reach it,” added Guardiola. “We would like to win because the guys deserve it, but football sometimes is like this.”
Sterling continued his stunning early season form by opening the scoring with a fine header from a delightful cross by Kevin de Bruyne.
City had been utterly dominant for the first quarter of the match, but were hit with a sucker punch just three minutes after going in front.
Lamela was afforded acres of space inside the City half and took advantage of poor position by Ederson to curl home an equaliser from well outside the box.
The goal briefly gave Spurs the belief Pochettino had talked of before the game that they can push City and Liverpool for a three-way title race this season.