What Joao Cancelo’s red card means for Manchester City ahead of Chelsea Champions League final

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Manchester City were left stunned by Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League last night, blowing a two-goal lead to be beaten 3-2 at the AMEX Stadium.

Goals either side of half time from Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden fired City into a 2-0 lead, meaning they looked on course to secure another three-point haul in their final away game of the campaign.

However, they were left stunned by Graham Potter’s battling Seagulls, who turned the game on its head thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Dan Burn, ensuring the south coast outfit got the better of City in a league fixture for the first time since 1989.

However, things could have turned out to be very different for Pep Guardiola’s side had right-back Joao Cancelo not been sent-off just ten minutes into the encounter. The Portugal international was given his marching orders for bringing down Brighton striker Danny Welbeck when trying to judge the flight of a long ball forward.

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Referee Stuart Attwell reached for his pocket to show a red card in the former Juventus man’s direction, much to the defender’s bemusement. VAR did take a close look at the incident but backed Attwell’s decision, meaning City were forced to play the remaining 80 minutes of the contest a man light.

To make matters even worse for City, Gundogan was forced off through injury just 11 minutes into the second half, meaning Guardiola now has the German midfielder, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero not at full fitness.

With the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea now just over a week away, Guardiola will be determined to get some of his key personnel back available for selection.

But will Portuguese ace Cancelo be added to that list of doubters ahead of the trip to Porto?

The answer to that question is no.

Cancelo was branded with a straight red card for what was deemed to be a professional foul, an offence that results in a one-match ban, with his suspension only applying to domestic matters, meaning he will be available to face Chelsea.

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As a result, Cancelo will be forced to miss Sunday’s Premier League finale against Everton at the Etihad Stadium.

If Walker is still struggling with fitness troubles it would leave City short at right-back for the visit of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, with Guardiola potentially needing to shuffle his pack and play someone out of position in the champions’ final game before the showpiece final in Porto, which would not be ideal preparation.

But Cancelo should be available for the Champions League final, and Guardiola will be hoping to have Walker fit by then too.

Cancelo has been a crucial figure for City this season, racking up 43 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and claiming five assists along the way.

As well as that, he has also played in a variety of positions, including right-back, left-back, right-midfield and even in the centre of midfield.

Source by Football London

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