Pep Guardiola apologises to referee after Man City’s thrilling Real Madrid victory

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that he apologised to the referee for his outburst during the thrilling 4-3 victory over Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.

The current Premier League leaders earned a big first-leg advantage ahead of next week’s Santiago Bernabeu showdown as they edged past the Spanish giants. City raced into an early two-goal advantage via Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus.

Los Blancos hauled themselves back into contention through Karim Benzema, before Phil Foden then restored the home side’s two-goal advantage after the break. Vinicius Jr then notched for Real once again before Bernardo Silva looked to have finished off proceedings.

There was still time for Benzema to have a final say as he converted an audacious panenka penalty following a handball by Aymeric Laporte. The two sides now head to Madrid next week with the tie still up in the air.

Following the final whistle in Manchester, Guardiola revealed that he felt obliged to apologise to referee István Kovács having picked up a yellow card for an outburst shortly after City’s third goal. From kick-off, the hosts thought they had won a throw-in, only for the decision to go the other way – triggering a furious response from the Spanish schemer.

Many things happen. With a throw in cross to the box we could not complain [about the second goal],” Guardiola said. “I apologised to the referee, it was just emotion. For me, I was there and thought it was for our side but they decide the opposite.”

Vinicius Jr found the net for Real Madrid shortly after Pep Guardiola's outburst. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Vinicius Jr found the net for Real Madrid shortly after Pep Guardiola’s outburst. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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To make matters worse, City were made to pay for the decision. The ball found its way to Vinicius Jr, the Brazilian tricking his way past compatriot Fernandinho before slotting home Real’s second goal of the game.

There is now plenty to play for ahead of the second-leg at the Santiago Bernabeu and Guardiola has warned his side that they need to improve if they harbour aspirations of reaching a second-consecutive Champions League final. He said: “Regardless of the result, if it was 2-0 or 3-0 we would still have to go to Bernabéu and play well.

“If we play like we did in the second half, we won’t be able to win. If we play like we did at other periods, we will. We want to be there to put on a good show, that is what I want to tell my players to do – don’t think of anything else.

“When I became a footballer and a manager, when you go to the Bernabéu you have to perform as yourself or there is no option to win. You have to come through these situations to win the Champions League.”

City of course took on Premier League rivals Chelsea in Porto last term, Kai Havertz goal seeing them fall to defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s men.

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