PEP GUARDIOLA has found some extraordinary ways of losing major Champions League matches during six years as Manchester City boss, The Sun reports.
But none of them were remotely as maddening for the former Barcelona boss as this one.
Two goals up on aggregate in the 90th minute of the second leg, before a febrile crowd which loves to hate him, Guardiola witnessed a footballing version of a nuclear meltdown.
Real Madrid’s Brazilian Rodrygo struck twice in as many minutes to send the tie into extra-time, then conceded a Karim Benzema penalty and suddenly City face the very real prospect of ending the season potless.
City had already squandered one chance to deny Liverpool a quadruple in the FA Cup semi-final, now they have surrendered another opportunity with Carlo Ancelotti’s Real off to face Jurgen Klopp’s side in Paris on May 28.
Can they drag themselves off the floor to win their final four Premier League matches and pip the Reds to the title, after this agony?
They will need to discover a new lease of resilience – a quality which deserted them here in the din of this famous old cauldron.
City’s Champions League exit are often the product of Guardiola’s too-clever-by-half team selections – especially Lyon in 2020 and Chelsea in last year’s final.
Before that, there were the ridiculous goal-fests which saw them pipped on away goals by Monaco and Tottenham.
But this was the mother of all chokes.