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City scorer says elimination is hard to stomach as Guardiola faces Uefa rap

By Andy Hampson

Gabriel Jesus admitted Manchester City's Champions League exit was tough to take.

The Premier League leaders bowed out of the competition on Tuesday despite launching a spirited fightback in their quarter-final against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Jesus struck in the second minute as City made a stunning start in their attempts to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit but the task ultimately proved beyond them on a compelling but controversial night.

City were stung by an incorrect decision to disallow a Leroy Sane goal for offside and, as Liverpool weathered the storm, second-half strikes from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino secured a 5-1 aggregate success that booked their place in tomorrow's semi-final draw.

"It's difficult to take," said Jesus. "It wasn't what we wanted but this is part of football.

"We didn't play great in the two games but we congratulate Liverpool and focus on the six games we have until the end of the season to wrap up the title."

City played at high intensity as they completely dominated the first half and produced numerous chances to further reduce the arrears after Jesus' opener.

The drama was at its most fierce just before the break as Bernardo Silva hit the post and Sane was then thwarted by a flag raised wrongly after the ball came to him off Liverpool's James Milner.

That prompted some angry protests that continued after the half-time whistle, with City boss Pep Guardiola sent to the stands for complaining to referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz - an angry confrontation that yesterday saw the Catalan charged with two counts of misconduct by Uefa.

The first charge relates to his exchange with Lahoz and the second concerns a potential breach of regulations which forbid dismissed managers from communicating with the bench.

He was ordered to watch the remainder of the game from the stands, from where he would not be allowed any contact with the technical area under Article 69 of Uefa's regulations. After reviewing TV footage, European football's governing body believe there may have been a breach in this area.

On the frustration of that chalked off goal, Jesus said: "We managed to score very early, in the second minute which was very important, and then after that we managed to control the ball and keep it in their half.

"Then we had a goal disallowed for Sane and that was difficult to take because it affected the game a little bit.

"But it's hard to talk about a goal, and whether it's allowed or not. It is part of football and sometimes these things happen."

It has been a difficult week for City, with their two losses to Liverpool coming either side of a derby defeat by Manchester United.

The United loss denied them the chance to wrap up the Premier League title with a record six games to spare and they may now need another two victories to secure the crown, but Jesus, 21, added: "It's heads up. There are six games to go and we must focus on that, finish the season with a Premier League trophy. It's nearly done but now we need to wrap it up."

Uefa has, meanwhile, also charged Liverpool on two counts over the behaviour of their fans, for letting off fireworks and throwing objects.

The cases will be dealt with at a hearing on May 31. The Reds were already the subject of disciplinary proceedings after City's team bus was attacked by supporters outside Anfield ahead of the first leg last week.

Belfast Telegraph

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