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Toby Alderweireld hails "unbelievable" drama as Tottenham beat Manchester City

Alderweireld hails
© Reuters
Raheem Sterling struck deep into injury time but the goal was disallowed following a VAR review.

Toby Alderweireld went from "hell to heaven" as Tottenham snatched a Champions League semi-final place on a night of VAR drama at Manchester City.

Spurs thought their hopes of reaching the last four had been dashed at the last moment when Raheem Sterling struck deep into injury time of a pulsating quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

But the goal was disallowed following a VAR review and Spurs, despite still trailing 4-3 on the night, prevailed courtesy of the away goals rule in a 4-4 aggregate draw.

"It was from hell to heaven," said Spurs defender Alderweireld. "I was thinking we can't concede in that moment, we knew what we had thrown (away).

"I think we were a little bit angry in that moment but then we saw the ref going back saying, 'Offside'.

"It was unbelievable. I couldn't believe it on the pitch. For the neutral fans it was an unbelievable night."

The drama and VAR interventions were not just restricted to the closing moments in what was a classic encounter.

Sterling opening the scoring inside four minutes but Spurs were leading by the 10th minute courtesy of a quickfire Son Heung-min double. City equalised through Bernardo Silva a minute later and were leading again after 21 minutes as Sterling scored his second.

Sergio Aguero put City in command of the tie after the break but Fernando Llorente bundled in another Spurs goal after 73 minutes, awarded only after a lengthy VAR check for suspected handball.

Sterling thought he had settled the affair in the most dramatic fashion but City's jubilation quickly turned sour and Tottenham were left to celebrate a first European Cup semi-final appearance since 1962.

"It is a historical day for Spurs," said Alderweireld, 30, who came through the Academy ranks at semi-final opponents Ajax. "The mentality of the team, even after going behind, was unbelievable.

"To go through against the team of the moment in City was unbelievable for us. I think we can be proud of ourselves."

On returning to Amsterdam, Alderweireld said: "I think (it's like) going back home. I had a wonderful time there.

"It is an unbelievable semi-final for us and we know it is a top team to beat."

After ending City's quadruple dream, Spurs return to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

That game also has plenty riding on it with City involved in a tight title race with Liverpool and Spurs needing points to secure a top-four place.

Forward Dele Alli said: "It's going to be another difficult game. They have got a lot to play for and so have we. There is a lot at stake.

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UNREAL NIGHT!! WE'RE IN THE SEMIS!! 💙💙#COYS

A post shared by Dele (@dele) on

"We have to prepare and recover properly. We'll try and enjoy this but it's another big game."

Alli believes the Champions League victory was another big step in Spurs' development on the big stage.

"We have proved we deserve to be here at the top, amongst the top teams in the world," he said.


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Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring Manchester City's first goal against Fulham in the Premier League on March 30, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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