Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City players will need “time to process” what happened in the final minutes against Real Madrid, after they were dumped out of the Champions League in a dramatic fashion.
City led 1-0 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate as the tie entered the 90th minute, only for Real Madrid to score twice inside a minute to level the scores.
Karim Benzema scored a decisive penalty in the first period of extra time to set up a date with Liverpool in Paris on May 28. Guardiola admitted afterwards Real’s remarkable comeback had hit the dressing room hard.
“They are sad,” said Guardiola. “They were close to reaching the final of the Champions League.
“We need time to process that and come back with our people at home for the last four games [in the Premier League].”
City seemed in control when Riyad Mahrez scored midway through the second half, and Real Madrid couldn’t muster a shot on target, until substitute Rodrygo scored twice in injury time – both after crosses into the box.
Illustrating the scale of the comeback, at one point, Madrid were as long as 45-1 to come from behind against Man City with Caesars Sportsbook.
Guardiola’s team led the tie from the second minute of the first leg until the 90th minute of the second leg but still went out, and will now have to lift themselves for Newcastle’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as they try to hold off Liverpool in the title race.
“In the first half we didn’t have rhythm,” said Guardiola. “We were not good enough, but didn’t suffer much. After we scored we were better, we found our tempo, and the players were comfortable.
“In the last 10 minutes you expect they attack, and you suffer and it didn’t happen. Then they put a lot of players in the box with [Eder] Militao, Rodrygo, Vinicius [Jr.], [Marcos] Asensio and they scored two goals (sic).
“We didn’t suffer much, but we didn’t play our best but it is normal in a semifinal – players feel the pressure.
“We were close, but football is unpredictable. Sometimes it is like this, and you have to accept it.”