Manchester City is headed to the Champions League quarterfinals, thanks to Raphael Varane.
The Real Madrid defender committed a pair of gaffes deep in his own end, both of which led to goals in Man City’s 2-1 win over the Spanish champions and cemented a 4-2 aggregate triumph in the round of 16. City had won by the same scoreline in Madrid in the first leg more than five months ago, and with goals by Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, it’s onto the eight-team mini-tournament in Lisbon, Portugal, that begins next week.
Both sides were without some key contributors, with Man City still without injured striker Sergio Aguero. Real Madrid was missing a Sergio of its own, as center back and captain Sergio Ramos served a suspension for the red card he received at the end of the first leg at the Bernabeu.
Jesus applied high pressure to Varane, who coughed it up deep in his own half. The Brazilian fed a wide-open Sterling at the goal-mouth, where he easily redirected home to make it 1-0 on the day, 3-1 on aggregate in the ninth minute.
Real Madrid pulled one back in the 28th minute through Benzema, who powered a header home off a cross from Rodrygo to make it 1-1 on the day and 3-2 on aggregate. That left Real Madrid a goal away from pulling even on total goals and away goals.
It was another mistake in the back from Varane that gift-wrapped Man City its insurance goal. The Frenchman’s ill-advised header toward Courtois wasn’t hit with nearly enough power, allowing Jesus to stride in and finish to make it 2-1 on the day, 4-2 on aggregate.
Man City will face Lyon next after the French side eliminated Juventus on the away goal tiebreaker after a 2-2 aggregate draw.
The final eight will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, where the remaining sides will play single-elimination matches between Aug. 12 and 23 to determine the European champion.