Manchester City’s hope of landing the Champions League which has been the holy grail for years has just been dashed by French side Olympique Lyonnais, in the quarterfinal in Lisbon.

Two late goals from substitute Moussa Dembélé condemned last season’s quarter-finalists to a 3-1 defeat after labouring for an equaliser nine minutes after the hour.

Pep Guardiola’s side were the favorites prior to the encounter but surprisingly came out second best against a determined Lyon in the keenly-contested game that was full of controversy and seemingly errors in the latter parts.

Lyon went ahead in the 24th minute with Maxwel Cornet’s meticulous finish but City, after toiling for more than 30 minutes levelled things following Kevin De Bruyne’s precise strike which was assisted by Raheem Sterling. 

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Former Celtic forward Dembélé came on as a substitute in the 74th minute and in the 79th minute, restored Lyon’s lead in contentious circumstances with just 11 minutes left on the clock, with the video assistant referee ignoring an obvious foul by the goalscorer before he was able to put the ball past Ederson. 

Raheem Sterling
After 31 goals this season, Raheem Sterling suffered a season-defining miss. (Reuters)

Thereafter, City tried to get another equaliser but Sterling missed a glorious opportunity, somehow sending his finish over the top of an open goal from Gabriel Jesus’ pass. The miss proved to be costly for a visibly shocked City as a few seconds later, Lyon set up a semi final date with Bundesliga Champions, Bayern Munich, when Dembélé scored his second after Ederson fumbled a shot from Houssem Aouar’s routine shot.

Holy Grail Out Of Sight, Pep Should Take Responsibility

Guardiola has been showered praises for a magnificent job he’s done and the success he has brought to the club since 2016 that he’d joined.

Yet somehow, his biggest target has been eluding him and tonight was yet another humiliating night for the former Barcelona Manager.

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola has noone but himself to blame for overthinking another big game. (Reuters)

Obviously, Pep’s decision to match Lyon’s shape with a three-man defense and to leave City’s creators and manipulators on the bench is suicidal. Thus, the City team looked lifeless for most parts of the game.

Nevertheless, Lyon deserve much credit after knocking out Serie A champions, Juventus, but for them to have reached the semifinal since 2010, there’s some level of over achievement.

He eventually introduced Riyad Mahrez after the break to some effect but Lyon were offered hope and encouragement by Guardiola’s approach and showed magnificent grit and resilience to secure the win.

Again, City suffered another VAR disappointment when it failed to penalize Lyon in what appeared to be a foul on Aymeric Laporte by Dembélé but the team defending for the second goal was horrific, with every City player bar keeper Ederson in the Lyon half when the goal was created. 

Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele came off the bench to turn the screw on Manchester City. (Getty Images)

The Catalan must feel the pain of this season’s ouster more than the previous ones because in terms of quality, Lyon are not in the class of the Tottenham Hotspurs or Liverpool side that knocked out Pep’s men in the past.

So, he must take full responsibility for this loss simply because his decision and flawed gameplan gave hope to the French side.

Rudi Garcia’s Lyon face Bayern Munich in the second semi final on wednesday, looking to reach the biggest game in club football at Estádio da Luz on sunday.

Babajide Adewunmi-EverBlazin
August 15, 2020
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