Football

Manchester City eye the missing trophy

Laporte believes Man City just need a little more luck to win the Champions League

The Champions League is the missing piece in Manchester City's growing silverware collection, defender Aymeric Laporte said ahead of his side's last-16, second leg against Real Madrid tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

City have dominated English football in recent years under Pep Guardiola, although they finished second to Liverpool in the recent English Premier League season, but have yet to add Europe's most coveted prize to their trophy cabinet.

"City have unfinished business in the Champions League, we have been talking about it for a long time, it's the thing we are missing," Laporte told Spanish newspaper AS yesterday.

ROUND OF 16, 2ND LEG
MAN CITY REAL MADRID

"Last year, we won four trophies in the same season but couldn't win the Champions League, so if it's our turn this year, perfect."

City were knocked out in the quarter-finals last year on away goals by Tottenham Hotspur after having a last-gasp effort ruled out by a VAR review. They were beaten on away goals by AS Monaco in the last 16 in 2017.

"I don't know what we've been doing wrong as the team has been the same in the last few years. Away goals have been key. Last year, Tottenham scored the same number of goals as us but eliminated us," added Laporte.

"We have all the ingredients to do great things. The team is really up for it, we don't have to change much, we just need a little more luck. We have lacked that final spark which I'm sure we'll find soon."

City hold a 2-1 lead over Real going into the second leg at an empty Etihad Stadium and will be without all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero through injury.

Real will be missing captain Sergio Ramos, who was sent off in the first leg.

"Everyone knows Aguero, he's an important player to be missing just like theirs. All the goals that he has scored and the career he's had since he was young speak for themselves," added Laporte.

"He's one of the best strikers I've ever seen but we believe in our other teammates. Sergio Ramos is also a very important player but we want to show that we can play better than them."

Even with Aguero out, City manager Pep Guardiola believes they are ready for the Real test.

"We want to impose our own style on the game, whether we're defending or playing on the counter-attack or whether Madrid are countering.

"What we want to try and do is take the game to certain areas of the field where we can hurt Real Madrid, where we can show the qualities of our players.

Guardiola also revealed that City's 19-year-old Spanish defender Eric Garcia, a reported Barcelona transfer target, has turned down a new deal with the club.

The centre-back, who was born in Barcelona and came through the club's La Masia academy, joined City in 2017 and broke into the first team this season.

"He announced to us that he doesn't want to extend his contract with Manchester City. He has one more year and, after that, he doesn't want to extend.

"We want it but he doesn't want to extend it, so I imagine he wants to play in other places," Guardiola said.

City announced on Wednesday that they have signed centre-back Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. British media reported that the fee is £40 million ($71.8m). - REUTERS, AFP

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