Manchester City fans were celebrating like they had won the game, because, well, they had.
But then Raheem Sterling’s goal was overturned by VAR due to Sergio Aguero being slightly offside in the build-up. That decision sent Tottenham Hotspur to the semifinals of the Champions League. The Etihad was stunned into silence, with the exception of the traveling Tottenham fans and players losing their minds.
One Spurs player who wasn’t celebrating was Moussa Sissoko, as he was still mourning what he thought was a devastatingly late win for Man City. L’Equipe has the quotes from the Frenchman, who didn’t find out Spurs were through until a staff member came into the Tottenham dressing room and told him.
“I was on the bench, I saw the goal of the 5-3, and I was so in all my states that I returned directly to the locker room. I was alone, no one had accompanied me, no TV screen was broadcasting, and in my head we were eliminated. This is one of the staff members who entered the locker room at the end, and who launched me: ‘Incredible, we did it!’ I said, ‘How did we do it?’ At that moment, he told me that the goal had been canceled! So, I put on a T-shirt, I forgot my wound and I ran outside to join the others, not to miss the celebration of such a historic moment. It was an incredible emotional shock. “
Sissoko, who came off in the 41st minute with an injury, was so hurt by Sterling’s supposed goal that he couldn’t take it and limped back to the dressing room. That feeling is certainly a relatable one for Spurs fans, who went from heartbreak to happiness in an instant.
Thankfully, Sissoko was feeling well enough to come back onto the field and celebrate with his teammates in front of the away end. His injury seems minor. It will probably keep him out against Manchester City this weekend, but he could be able to return for next week’s midweek match with Brighton.
The 29-year-old always gives tremendous effort in the game, but he also wins fans over with his lighthearted attitude off the pitch. If you re-watch the post-game scenes, you can see Moussa arrive to the celebrations a bit late and then laugh with teammates about what has just happened.
Sissoko will be a key part of Tottenham’s next UCL mission: the semifinals. Ajax have a very talented young squad, and Spurs will need Sissoko in order to be at their best when they get their shot at reaching the final in Madrid.