Aymeric Laporte was in tears after getting injured during Real Madrid v Man City

  • Kat Lucas

Manchester City could not have headed to the Bernabeu under any more pressure.

Not only did 13-time European champions Real Madrid lie in wait in the last-16, Pep Guardiola’s men know full well this may be their last chance to win the Champions League before their two-year UEFA ban (pending an appeal) kicks in.

Yet Guardiola went bold with his starting XI, leaving both Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling on the bench.

Gabriel Jesus nearly rewarded his manager by carving out one of the better chances of the early exchanges, but he was denied by Thibaut Courtois.

That wasn’t the only occasion in which the Real stopper kept the scores level, but his heroics weren’t the most frustrating element of the first half for the visitors.

Aymeric Laporte had to be substituted after just 33 minutes and replaced with Fernandinho after going down in pain.

We’ve all seen in the past how City have struggled without the Frenchman.

In fact, many even feel his prolonged absences have been a major factor in handing Liverpool the title.

On a personal note too, it’s hard not to feel for the centre-back. His luck has been woeful and he looked genuinely devastated as he left the pitch.

Peter Crouch described it as a “cruel blow” in the BT Sport studio. 

City may be long out of the title race but it remains to be seen whether Laporte’s absence now has a big impact on their Champions League hopes. 

Fernandinho has some big shoes to fill in defence, which he’s done with mixed results in the past. 

Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery.

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