What a game, what a match. Our hearts didn’t stop beating at a mad pace for a second. And every time we thought it was over and we had won, or they had won, something came along to change it all back again. We went from highs to lows to highs again (our emotions were all over the place). We criticised, were ecstatic and then at times furious, but we ended up winning to go through to the next round.
The day started with me getting up at 5.30 am, going to the gym, taking my dog to my daughters and then to Lee Valley in Edmonton to catch the Spurs coach to Manchester (£10). We left at 12.30 with half an hour stop, and got to the ground at 7.10 pm. I had to part from the others as I had a Category One ticket, which means, as this is a Champions League match a portion of the away supporters could sit in the family end of the home ground (UEFA rules). So my seat was on the opposite side where the away support was.
On my way around I was stopped and told by Stewards that I would not be allowed in the home end as I wasn’t a home supporter (they obviously didn’t know the Champions league rules). Anyway, I got to the X section and was allowed in without any problems (other than being told that if any Spurs fans caused any problems then they would be quickly ejected from the stadium).
I made my way up to my seat (got something to eat first) and then waited until the fun started.
Once the players started walking out the City fans started waving flags and really got caught up in the atmosphere, but then so did we; both set of fans thought it was going to be their night, sadly for them, it wasn’t going to be City (I hope I am not giving any spoilers away here?).
The flags down, the preliminaries over, players shook hands and we sat down (as opposed to the Spurs away end, where they all stood).
We overcame Manchester City in a classic encounter at Etihad Stadium to reach the last four of the Champions League for the first time, and what a night it was.
Fernando Llorente’s goal, bundled in from a corner and confirmed by VAR 17 minutes from time, gave us victory on away goals on a night of tension, attacking quality and defensive frailty that ended City and Pep Guardiola’s quest for a historic quadruple of Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.
In a game of relentless drama, City even thought they had won it in injury time only for Raheem Sterling’s goal to be ruled out for offside by VAR. When Sterling scored in the last few minutes, we thought it was all over. I had put my camera away, and we all sat there feeling dejected. Then the VAR came on the screen, and we just sat there with bated breath. Then their delirium suddenly changed as their goal was confirmed offside, and we were suddenly delirious as they sat there dejected. Then the whistle went and the excitement was beyond belief. We all hugged each other, patted each other on the back, it was crazy.
We came to protect a 1-0 lead from the first leg but an opening 21 minutes of chaotic brilliance saw City lead 3-2 on the night as both teams exchanged goals at will.
First up was Sterling’s goal, we sat there with long faces, then Son got two, and we went wild. Then Silva scored, followed by Sterling (again) and the whistle came to finish the first half. But we were still in with a shout, even though a bit down. Then Aguero scored in the second half, and we thought it was going against us (basically it was ove!). That is until Llorente scored, then we thought we were in with a shout again. That is until Sterling scored his third. As they say, the rest is history.
As I walked away from where I was seated, and amongst the City fans, they crestfallen and me on a high, I had to keep my emotions to myself until I managed to reach the away end/ coach park area. Then I let rip with all the other Spurs fans. So much hugging and back-slapping that, that alone exhausted me. Then on to the coach – still couldn’t believe our luck – chatted and slept. Finally reaching LeeValley at 5 am. I got home at 6.30, watched the Sports headlines on breakfast TV and went to bed. Got up at 10.30 and phoned my daughter, as we were going shopping and having a meal together.
As I write this article am still knackered and exhausted. It has been such a long day, and with so little sleep.
Next up, surprise, surprise, will be City (again), at City’s ground later this morning. You couldn’t make it up.
What a night, it will live on in our memories forever. A True Glory, Glory night. And it isn’t over yet. Next up is Ajax in the semi-finals. Liverpool face Barcelona in the other semi-final. What a memorable Wednesday evening it turned out to be.
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