Manchester City’s gripping system failure offers glimmer of hope to others | Barney Ronay

Madrid being cast as underdogs is a grotesque measure of where we are but absorbing tie was a telling clash of contrasts

It turns out Pep Guardiola was right after all. Manchester City’s pursuit of the double-treble will now remain “a hypothetical dream”.

This was Pep’s own excellent phrase before Wednesday’s second leg against Real Madrid, a formulation that suggests even Guardiola’s dreams are full of theory, algebra, hypotheticals, like a footballing version of Evelyn Waugh’s professor Silenus, the modernist architect who doesn’t sleep but instead lies in the dark for eight hours with his eyes shut doing high-speed calculations, before rising at dawn to design another machine-age masterpiece.

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Champions League team of the week: Kimmich breaks record … and Arsenal

A round packed with goals brought us a smiling Ousmane Dembélé, a frustrated Bukayo Saka and match-winning performance from a goalkeeper

If Tuesday night’s Champions League second legs tipped one way and then the other with attacking flair, then Wednesday was a night for grit to win the day – and English football to be the loser. It also brought a restoration of the old order, with Bayern and Real Madrid to meet in the semi-finals.

Goalkeeper: Andriy Lunin, Real Madrid

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‘No regrets’: Guardiola proud that City did ‘everything’ despite European exit

  • Guardiola admits Real Madrid ‘a little bit better’ in shootout
  • ‘Football is about scoring goals … they are in the semi-finals’

Pep Guardiola claimed he had “no regrets” after Manchester City’s dream of a ­double-treble ended in the heartbreak of a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid on a night when Arsenal also crashed out of the Champions League, their 1-0 loss at Bayern Munich consigning them to a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

City came from behind in their quarter-final second leg at the ­Etihad Stadium, Kevin De Bruyne’s 76th-minute strike cancelling out Rodrygo’s opener early in the first half. Yet despite the holders dominating ­possession, Real held on until the end of extra time and eventually prevailed from the spot.

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Bayern Munich 1-0 Arsenal (agg: 3-2): Champions League quarter-final, second leg – as it happened

Joshua Kimmich’s power header decided a tight tie as Arsenal’s wait for a first semi-final appearance since 2009 goes on

5 min: That early attack has got the Bayern fans hollering again. So much for Arsenal’s opening stadium-shushing gambit, then.

3 min: Sane probes down the right. He makes it into the box and attempts to work space to shoot, but then pings Kimmich in on the overlap. Kimmich dinks across to Kane, who tries to steer a shot into the bottom right. The ball bobbles wide. That was a dangerous move.

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Real Madrid beat Manchester City on penalties in Champions League quarter-final – as it happened

The holders were eliminated in a shootout and will rue not making more of their almost total dominance in the 120 minutes which preceded it

Pep Guardiola: With our people, we feel safe, we feel protected, we feel supported,” said the Manchester City manager in his pre-match press conference. “We know we can handle momentum. We are going for it. We have a gameplan we believe in, and we are going for it. If we lose, we lose. We shake hands – Real Madrid will deserve it. I want us to play and deserve to be in the semi-finals.

“You have to adjust something from Bernabeu - the result was good, but we have to perform a little better. We have the last training session, and we will talk about that and hopefully go through. We need to feel the pressure - we don’t want to lose the game. We need hunger to compete. It is true we feel more comfortable because we have won [this competition now]. Our people at home will help us a lot. You can’t for 90 minutes, all the time, be better, you have to suffer.”

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Barcelona 1-4 PSG (4-6 agg): Champions League quarter-final, second leg – as it happened

Ronald Araújo’s first-half sending off turned the tide, as Kylian Mbappé, Vitinha and former Barça player Ousmane Dembélé scored the goals that sent Xavi’s side crashing out

2 min: Mbappé runs at young Cubarsí but comes off second best, sprawling on the turf. He wants a foul, but play is waved on, correctly so. Great challenge by the 17-year-old defender. “In the First World War, the Turkish troops fought their own division in a thick fog while trying to progress in Russia,” writes Krishna Moorthy. “I always thought this was an exaggeration but after FCB fans attacking their own bus, I tend to believe it could actually have happened.”

PSG get the ball rolling. Peter Oh isn’t finished, meanwhile. “Throwing stuff at your own team’s bus?! Mes Que Un Flub.”

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Manchester City are holders, but Real Madrid’s kings must still be dethroned

Last year’s semi-final blitz at the Etihad was a triumphant night yet Pep Guardiola knows there is no guarantee of a repeat

Blowing away Real Madrid in a Champions League semi-final second leg before their home crowd was the fantasy Manchester City made reality last spring. the challenge for the holders is to knock the Madridistas out again at the Etihad Stadium, and after the scintillating performance of a year ago there is no sense of inferiority.

By the close of a seismic night at a jubilant Etihad Stadium Pep Guardiola’s team were 4-0 victors, 5-1 on aggregate, a step closer to the treble, and Carlo Ancelotti’s continental aristocrats were heading back to the Spanish capital shellshocked.

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Double-treble is Manchester City’s motivation, admits Bernardo Silva

  • Midfielder says desire to ‘create a legacy’ is inspiring players
  • Kyle Walker winning battle to be fit for Real Madrid second leg

Bernardo Silva believes Manchester City’s bid to claim a historic second consecutive treble and become arguably the greatest club team of all-time is “an inspiration” with the team a possible 12 matches from achieving the feat.

City face Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg with the tie poised at 3-3 after last week’s opening match at the Bernabéu. City lead the Premier League by two points from Arsenal and Liverpool with six games left of the campaign. On Saturday they play Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

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‘They’re going to demand a lot’: Barça’s Xavi braced for PSG second leg

  • Barcelona take 3-2 lead into Tuesday’s second leg at Camp Nou
  • ‘We need our fans to be loud because PSG will make us suffer’

Barcelona are ready for a battle against Paris Saint-Germain in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final, Xavi Hernández said on Monday, adding that his players are willing to suffer in order to advance.

Barça beat PSG 3-2 in the first leg in France last week but Xavi said his side would need to be nearly flawless to reach the semi-finals for the first time in five years.

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Watching live as Haaland, Bellingham and Mbappé fluffed their lines was exhilarating | Barney Ronay

The world’s three best players had stinkers, but it did not detract from a pair of breathtaking Champions League games

This week I travelled 3,000 miles to watch the three best footballers in the world so you didn’t have to. All three of them were terrible. And it was great.

The Champions League quarter-finals were great. The early morning budget airline flights worked. All four teams were excellent in different ways. Just being allowed to report on Real Madrid v Manchester City, followed by Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona the next day, walking through those city spaces while four sets of fans had a moment in the spring sunshine was a privilege, and a reminder of the many good things that are still there – warmth, collectivism, open borders – all of this only slightly overshadowed by Islamic State saying it wanted to machine-gun everyone.

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Scottish teams lose automatic spot in Champions League group stages

  • Czech Republic boosted by taking 10th place in Uefa rankings
  • Next season’s Scottish champions will enter in playoff round

From next season, Scottish Premiership champions will no longer automatically make it into the group stage of the Champions league, after Czech Republic overtook Scotland to take 10th spot in Uefa’s coefficient rankings.

Viktoria Plzen’s goalless draw at Fiorentina in their Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg on Thursday was the crucial part of the jigsaw which means Scottish title-winners beyond the current campaign will enter the Champions League in a playoff round against a side from outside the top 10 European leagues.

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Spanish TV station fires pundit for derogatory comment about Lamine Yamal

  • Germán Burgos sacked by Movistar Plus+
  • Barcelona and PSG refused to give interviews

The Spanish TV station Movistar Plus+ has fired the analyst Germán Burgos after Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain refused to give interviews to the network on account of his comment about Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal before Wednesday’s Champions League match.

Movistar Plus+ had earlier apologised to Yamal after Burgos, a former Argentina goalkeeper and assistant manager at Atlético Madrid, said “if [professional football] doesn’t go well for him, he could end up at a traffic light”.

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Champions League team of the week: Jules Koundé erases Mbappé in Paris

The knockout stages have finally started to deliver, with standout performances from Phil Foden, Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona’s reluctant fullback

Perhaps the quarter-finals are where the Champions League can be counted to catch light. This week’s first legs saw goals aplenty, with a mix of veteran and young guns starring, with each second leg set up for even more excitement.

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak, Atlético Madrid

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Harry Kane draws on Spurs 2019 example as pointer for Bayern | Nick Ames

Striker sees parallels between run to the final five years ago and his current club’s European adventure amid domestic woe

Harry Kane emerged from the Emirates with the look of a man who had enjoyed himself. “I think they have a soft respect for me, the Arsenal fans,” he laughed, a glimmer of mischief crossing the striker’s face as he remembered the cacophony that had accompanied his every move upon returning to enemy territory. The jeers were never louder than when he stepped up to the penalty spot, blocking out the noise to roll calmly past David Raya and give Bayern Munich the upper hand.

Bayern felt they had just about departed with it, even though Leandro Trossard’s equaliser set up a titanic rematch in Munich next Wednesday. Kane’s demeanour could be explained by the fact Bayern, a soft touch domestically of late, had shown a resilience that has deserted their Bundesliga campaign. It had clearly encouraged him, suggesting that well-documented dream of a Wembley final for the England captain may not quite be a thing of fantasy after all.

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