Spurs survive breathless battle with Manchester City to reach semifinals
Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Everyone can breathe now.

Tottenham and Manchester City treated the football world to an absolutely manic show on Wednesday, with the former advancing to the Champions League semifinals despite a madcap 4-3 loss at the Etihad.

The tie ended all square at four apiece, but Spurs marched on thanks to the away goals rule. Fernando Llorente's tally in the 73rd minute, which bumbled in off a combination of his forearm and waist, was the decisive blow.

For a second, though, it looked as though they had lost it.

The Tottenham players crumpled to the pitch when Raheem Sterling appeared to complete his hat-trick in the 93rd minute; the English winger would have given the Citizens a 5-4 triumph on aggregate, but after a brief delay, the wild celebrations inside the stadium were halted when VAR deemed that Sergio Aguero was offside in the buildup.

For the umpteenth time in a brilliant, exhausting contest, the emotional rollercoaster swung violently. This time for good.

The chaos in the second half was preceded by one of the most electrifying starts to a contest - any contest, really - in recent memory. The two sides combined for five goals in the opening 21 minutes of the match. Sterling found the net twice for City, his strikes sandwiching a brace from Heung-Min Son and a deflected effort from Bernardo Silva.

Somehow, the second half surpassed the drama of that early frenzy.

Aguero gave the hosts what seemed certain to be a clinching goal when he unleashed a rocket in the 59th minute that wasn't dissimilar to his famous title-winning strike in 2012.

But an injury-riddled Tottenham, missing their talisman Harry Kane, turned the tide one final time, crafting a collection of chances before Llorente scored what proved to be the telling goal.

Mauricio Pochettino's side, into the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1962 - when it was the European Cup - will now meet Ajax with a berth in the showpiece match on the line.

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Spurs survive breathless battle with Manchester City to reach semifinals
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