Sunday, October 20, 2019 | ePaper

Guardiola chases Champions League vindication

  • Print





After a series of painful Champions League failures, Pep Guardiola is on a mission to seal his Manchester City legacy by finally getting his hands on the trophy again.
City start their latest bid to win the club's first European Cup with a trip to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Group C opener on Wednesday.
The long flight to the Ukraine will give Guardiola plenty of time to ponder his curious streak of Champions League flops in recent years.
Guardiola has conquered English football spectacularly after winning the last two Premier League titles, the first in record-breaking fashion and the second as part of an unprecedented domestic treble last season.
Yet the Champions League has proved impossible for Guardiola to master since he arrived at the Etihad Stadium.
In fact, Europe's elite club competition has been a cruel mistress for Guardiola for most of the last decade, with a series of frustrating exits during his spells in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.
Guardiola first won the Champions League as a manager in 2009 with Barcelona.
But he has failed to reach the semi-finals in any of his three seasons as City boss, extending his long wait to win the tournament for the third time - his second triumph coming with Barca in 2011.
City's best Champions League run was under Guardiola's predecessor Manuel Pellegrini, who made the semi-finals in the last season before the Spaniard took over.
And Guardiola's inability to win the Champions League without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in his team is a black mark his critics use to question the 48-year-old's right to be ranked as a managerial legend.
While that assessment is harsh on the innovative and inspirational Guardiola, his European campaigns with City have undoubtedly been painful experiences that exposed the few flaws in his team.
VAR was the scapegoat for last season's dramatic quarter-final defeat against Tottenham, but the real reasons for City's failure to progress were a subdued first leg performance in north London and a defensive meltdown in the second leg.
The year before that Liverpool punished City's oddly timid display quarter-final display at Anfield, while Monaco shockingly eliminated Guardiola's side after an error-prone last 16 tie in his first season.
With five Champions League semi-final defeats on his CV - two with Barca and three with Bayern - Guardiola has become the competition's nearly-man since 2011, when his Messi-inspired team delivered a masterclass in the Wembley final against Manchester United.

More News For this Category

Liverpool defender Joel Matip signs new deal until summer 2024

Liverpool defender Joel Matip has signed a new long-term deal which will keep him at the club until summer 2024. The 28-year-old Cameroon international has scored two goals in nine

Murray into first semi-final since 2017 Roland Garros

Murray into first semi-final since 2017 Roland Garros

AFP, Belgium :Former world number one Andy Murray reached his first semi-final since the 2017 French Open with a battling three-set win over Romania's Marius Copil in Antwerp on Friday.The

SKS Cup Golf Tournament ends in Rangpur

BSS, Rangpur :The third three-day "SKS Cup Golf Tournament-2019" concluded through a colourful prize distribution function at Rangpur Golf and Country Club (RGCC) auditorium in Rangpur Cantonment here on Friday

BAF Inter Shaheen Hockey Competition concludes

Inter Shaheen Hockey Competition-2019 of the BAF Shaheen Colleges was concluded at the Hockey Turf of BAF Shaheen College Dhaka Saturday.In the final match, BAF Shaheen College Dhaka team clinched

Russia's Beterbiev stops Gvozdyk to unify two titles

Russia's Beterbiev stops Gvozdyk to unify two titles

Russian world champion Artur Beterbiev unified the light heavyweight boxing division on Friday with a 10th-round stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk, extending a remarkable knockout streak and undefeated pro career.Beterbiev knocked

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday.

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday.

Ottis Gibson likely to team up with Justin Langer as Australia mentor

Ottis Gibson likely to team up with Justin Langer as Australia mentor

After a not so happy end to his stint with South Africa, where he was sacked post the World Cup debacle earlier this year, Ottis Gibson has emerged as a

Henderson blitzes Shanghai to take half-way lead

Brooke Henderson aced the par-three second hole on Friday to ignite an eight-under round of 64 and take a two-stroke lead into the weekend at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.The Canadian

Bodi handed five years imprisonment for spot-fixing

Bodi handed five years imprisonment for spot-fixing

Former South Africa cricketer Gulam Bodi was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Friday (October 18) for his part in South Africa's 2015 domestic

Chinese gymnast Chen Yile poses for photos after getting the ANOC award for Best Female Athlete of Asian Games 2018 during awarding ceremony of the ANOC Awards 2019 at the XXIV ANOC General Assembly Qatar 2019 in Doha, capital of Qatar on Thursday.

Chinese gymnast Chen Yile poses for photos after getting the ANOC award for Best Female Athlete of Asian Games 2018 during awarding ceremony of the ANOC Awards 2019 at the XXIV ANOC General Assembly Qatar 2019 in Doha, capital of Qatar on Thursday.

.