- Aguero was in offside position as ball touched Silva
- Guardiola questions decision and earlier Llorente's goal
- While Silva only deflected ball, laws show decision was correct
Tottenham sealed a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history thanks to Fernando Llorente’s hip and a big helping hand from VAR.
In an all-time classic game, it was heartbreak for Manchester City who had a last-minute winner from Raheem Sterling controversially ruled out for offside.
Christian Eriksen had been at fault, playing a rash pass back towards his own defence, with the ball looping up off Bernardo Silva’s leg and into the path of Sergio Aguero.
Read more: Llorente and VAR give Spurs win over Man City in inconceivable classic
The Argentine forward squared the ball to Sterling who sent the ball past Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and the Etihad crowd into raptures.
Elation turns to despair
One of THE most remarkable phases of play the Champions League has seen…
∙ Sterling scores late winner
∙ The Etihad erupts
∙ Goes to a VAR check
∙ Disallowed for offside
Just about every emotion in 120 seconds 🤯 pic.twitter.com/j6CTZByTXQ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 17, 2019
But the elation didn’t last long, with referee Cuneyt Cakir being alerted by the Video Assistant Referee that he needed to check for offside.
Darren Fletcher’s reaction on BT Sport commentary to what happened next said it all: “He’s given offside against Sergio Aguero! Oh my word!”
Replays showed Aguero was standing in an offside position as the ball cannoned off Silva’s leg and, according to football’s laws, the ball from Silva did not have to be a deliberate pass (see below) to make Aguero offside.
What the laws say
A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched* by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:
- interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or
- interfering with an opponent by:
- preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
- challenging an opponent for the ball or
- clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
- making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball
*The first point of contact of the ‘play’ or ‘touch’ of the ball should be used
via the Football Association
How the moment unfolded
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Pep Guardiola said: “It is cruel but it is what it is and we have to accept it. After 20 minutes we were 3-2 up. In the second-half we created a lot of chances and we scored the goals we needed. Unfortunately, it was a bad end for us so congratulations to Tottenham and good luck for the semi-finals.
“I support VAR but maybe from one angle Fernando Llorente’s goal is handball, maybe from the referee’s angle it is not.”
On Sterling’s disallowed goal: “I watched the action and the people from above decided it was offside. We missed a penalty in the first leg but I am so proud of the players and the fans. I have never heard noise like that since I have been in Manchester but football is unpredictable.”