Manchester City are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate.
Pep Guardiola’s side carried a 2-1 lead into the return fixture and they beat Los Blancos by the same scoreline at the Etihad Stadium to seal their place in the last eight.
Goal Scorers Vs Varane
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored the goals, although both were handed on a plate by Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.
The Frenchman was without his usual centre-back partner Sergio Ramos, who was suspended for the return fixture.
And so Zinedine Zidane was looking for Varane to step up and keep City out.
He did the exact opposite.
In the ninth minute of the match, Varane dithered on the ball as the visitors tried to pass the ball out and relinquished possession to Jesus, who squared for Sterling to score.
Real were level shortly afterwards through Karim Benzema’s fine header and suddenly we had a game again.
But Varane gave up any chance Madrid had of producing a comeback when he made a mess of an attempted clearance.
His attempted header back was met by Jesus, who slotted the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois.
Real Madrid couldn’t get back into the tie as Man City marched through to the next round.
City’s best player? Raphael Varane.
City Heads to Lisbon
City were simply too good for Real, who are admittedly not the force they were, as they inflicted a first Champions League knockout defeat on manager Zinedine Zidane, a three-time winner.
There still remains real quality in the competition in the shape of the usual powerhouses Barcelona and Bayern Munich, quality that will decorate the new one-leg knockout format as the Champions League closing stages now move to Lisbon. Other serious threats await in Portugal.
Yet City, in this mood, will feel they can match anyone over one game – even if there must also be caution because we have seen City capable of bad days in the Premier League this season.
This feels, however, more like City’s time and their best opportunity than in previous seasons, with Liverpool disposed of by the dangerous Atletico Madrid while Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo have been removed by Lyon, the next opponents for Guardiola.
The Champions League has, at times, also appeared to be a tournament City have struggled to fall in love with, their fans notoriously badly-disposed towards organisers Uefa.
But here at Etihad Stadium as Real were eliminated, there was so much passion and energy on display that it was hard to avoid the growing sense that the Champions League pieces might be falling into place.
Guardiola’s team were relentless, intense and disciplined as they applied pressure that was simply too much for Real, who seriously missed their suspended captain Sergio Ramos.
On the sidelines, noisily shattering the usual eerie silence of behind-closed-doors games, City were urged on by their substitutes and support staff, who often leapt from their seats to lend their backing.
The constant shouts of “squeeze” and “press” confirmed what we already know about much of the core of Guardiola’s philosophy.