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Champions League

Pep Guardiola rues John Stones red card as Man City defender misses Carabao Cup final

Pep Guardiola blamed VAR for John Stones’ red card which has left the defender facing Carabao Cup final heartache.

Manchester City took a big step nearer the title coming from behind to win 2-1 at Aston Villa, who also had Matty Cash sent off.

But the visitors boss Guardiola was left fuming nearby on the touchline at Stones’ 44th minute dismissal for a late, high lunge on Jacob Ramsey.

England defender Stones will now miss Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Spurs.

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It is a big blow for City, who are also in the Champions League semi-finals, as they aim to pick up the first of a potential three trophies this season.

Stones was initially booked but the card was replaced by a straight red after VAR intervened and referee Peter Bankes consulted the pitchside monitor.

Guardiola, who brought on defender Aymeric Laporte as sub, fumed: “I was there, it is late but the intention, absolutely not.

City and England defender Stones got his marching orders at Aston Villa for a wild, late , high lunge on Jacob Ramsey

“When VAR is in slow motion, I can imagine how much it is difficult to interpret.

“John arrived late, not with an intention to do it. It was a tough moment for us.

“Now everyone has a chance to play.”

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It capped a wretched night for Stones who was caught napping for John McGinn’s opener after 20 seconds.

But Phil Foden volleyed in a 22nd minute leveller before Rodri notched from Bernado Silva’s second assist in the 40th minute.

City, playing for the first time since they signed up to the European Super League and then withdrew, now need eight points from their final five matches to become champions for the third time in four seasons.

Matty Cash of Aston Villa was sent off against Manchester City for two bookings in quick succession on Phil Foden

Asked about the ESL, City captain Fernandinho replied: “We were a little bit surprised, we didn’t expect that.

“But at the end I think the good sense was the right thing to do.

“Everyone who loves football didn’t support this Super League, which includes our players and our club.

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“We are so happy because everything was turning around.”

Villa ended up with 10 men too when Cash was shown a second yellow in the 57th minute for successive fouls on man of the match Foden.

Villa boss Dean Smith said: “His second booking was for a stupid reckless tackle which was well deserved.

“He got an earful off me in the dressing room.

“We won’t have many better chances of going and beating a team as good as Manchester City.”

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