MANCHESTER CITY had one hand on the Premier League trophy on Saturday – but then in the manner of a surprised drunk stumbled, fell over and threw up all over themselves.

Okay so they didn’t actually chunder but they certainly made their fans feel sick.

Pep Guardiola’s side had the beautifully rare chance to be crowned champions on their own patch against their hated Manchester rivals. From Glasgow to Guilford United fans were facing the unthinkable.

And the pass masters embarrassed the past masters in the first half. It seemed that once again Jose Mourinho had parked the bus – but this time it was an open-top bus for City’s champions’ parade.

Skipper Vincent Kompany had headed City into the lead before Ilkay Gundogan scored a thing of beauty to send the Etihad faithful into frenzy.

It should have all been over but Raheem Sterling fluffed a hat-trick of opportunities and referee Martin Atkinson also had a performance to forget as he failed to award TWO penalties against Ashley Young.

Sterling is such a frustrating player as he has the speed, skill and desire to improve but his football intelligence is sadly lacking. Still on the bright side for the England winger when the zombie apocalypse comes he’ll be safe as the undead eat brains.

Paul Pogba, complete with his odd Sky Blue hair, scored twice to turn the game around with just 97 seconds between his goals and unlikely hero Chris Smalling won it 3-2 with his head.

Yet now the dust has settled United fans need to face the stark reality. They finished so far back in what many predicted to be a two-horse race that had they been nags they would have gone to the glue factory months ago.

The glimpses of fantastic free-flowing football are just that – glimpses – and are likely to stay that way with arch-pragmatist Jose Mourinho in charge.

And days later it was their two fiercest rivals slugging it out for a place in the Champions League semi-finals – not them. United have had to leave it to the big boys, the European elite with bigger numbers than three on their role of honour.

Those cool badges which can only be earned by lifting five or more European Cups – or winning it three times in a row – are out of reach once again for Mourinho’s men.

But one of Real Madrid (12), Liverpool (5) and Bayern (5) could be getting a new number– and that is enough to make supporters of all colours in Manchester sick.

The other team in the last four is Roma and the last time they made it to the semi-finals was in 1984. They went on to lose the final . . . to Liverpool. Could history repeat itself?

Jurgen Klopp’s side won 2-1 at the Etihad as Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino replied to Gabriel Jesus’ second-minute opener.

The Reds were once again responsible for severe damage to City’s coach – except this one was human. Pep Guardiola ended the night head in hands after being sent to the stands and sent tumbling out the competition 5-1 on aggregate.

Klopp and his players were more disciplined, organised and mature than England’s champions-elect and he has got his side flying.

You have to love the German – he is so unfailingly positive that if he tripped down a flight of stairs, he’d be happy he got down there so fast.

AND finally European football said goodbye to its greatest goalkeeper this week as Gigi Buffon’s Juventus were beaten in the cruellest manner away at Real Madrid.

But like the legend he is he went out fighting and left us with a genius quote.

The 40-year-old was sent off for his meltdown as the Spaniards were awarded a stoppage-time penalty after Juve had bravely fought back to make it 3-0 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate.

Buffon went bananas and was red carded for his protestations. He later said English referee Michael Oliver had ‘a garbage bin for a heart’.

Some days the availability of curse words is insufficient to meet your demand. Wednesday was one of those days for poor Gigi.

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