MANCHESTER City have won their battle to play the second leg of their Champions League tie with Real Madrid at home.
But City fans’ hopes of being able to follow Pep Guardiola’s men to Portugal next month have been dashed after Uefa ruled all remaining matches must be played behind closed doors.
SunSport revealed how City were lobbying fiercely for the right to stage the return game at the Etihad after their 2-1 win in Madrid in March.
The Spanish giants, unsurprisingly, wanted Uefa to rule that all outstanding games be played in Portugal.
That would have meant Pep Guardiola’s men lost any potential home advantage from playing behind closed doors.
But Uefa has now confirmed that the four remaining unfinished last-16 ties, including Chelsea’s attempt to come back from three down in Munich, will be played at the original intended venues.
Uefa said the decision was “consistent with the principle of sporting fairness”.
It also means Wolves and Manchester United will complete their ties against Olympiakos and LASK respectively on home soil as well.
Outstanding Champions League ties will be played on August 7 and 8, with the Europa League matches scheduled for August 5 and 6.
The surviving Champions League teams will then head to the Portuguese capital Lisbon for the “Final 8” series of one-off knock-out games starting from August 12.
But hopes, raised by president Aleksander Ceferin last month, of some fans being allowed inside stadiums for the restart have been effectively ended
Uefa explained: “Several elements were taken into account, such as the protection of the health of all those involved in the matches as well as the public at large.
“We had a responsibility to provide the safest environment for matches as well as ensuring sporting fairness.
“Consequently, the Uefa Executive Committee felt it prudent to conclude that Uefa matches should take place behind closed doors until further notice.”
Uefa will today draw the path to the finals in both competitions, with all sides able to be drawn against each other.
Guardiola believes his team – which will discover next week if the club’s appeal against their two-year Financial Fair Play ban has been successful – can finally conquer Europe.
He said: “This club has always been in the Champions League. And we’ve spoken about four incredible and beautiful weeks ahead of us that will never come back.
“We’ve got the FA Cup and Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League to keep going in this competition.
“That is what we have in our hands for four weeks and it depends on us.”
City director of football Txiki Begiristain insisted that potential last eight opponents were not a concern.
He said: “All we are thinking about is to beat Real Madrid.
“Of course all the other teams are going to be difficult but the reality is we can only think about Real Madrid.
“Then if we win we will be in Lisbon – and there we would see.”
The last eight stage of the Europa League will be played in four cities in Germany, with matches in Dusseldorf, Duisburg, Gelsenkirchen and the August 21 Final venue Cologne.
Wolves can be drawn against United in the quarter-finals.