UCL Report: Man City 4-3 Real Madrid

Manchester City and Real Madrid delivered one of the best Champions League matches in history, as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Los Blancos 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night. It was an intense showdown from start to finish that left fans truly amazed at the sheer quality on offer, right from the start.

The city was off the blocks at a hundred miles per hour and they didn’t have to wait long before opening records. Kevin De Bruyne scored the fastest goal in the Champions League semi-final when he nodded with a cross from Riyad Mahrez, who left in acres of space on the right wing.

Guardiola’s men smelled blood and doubled their lead in the 11th minute, and Madrid’s defense fell asleep again. De Bruyne whipped a low cross towards Gabriel Jesus and ignored David Alaba’s elimination, allowing the Brazilian to finish off Thibaut Courtois flatly.

The left side seemed to give the hosts plenty of joy with Phil Foden’s victory over Dani Carvajal repeatedly. He put in another dangerous cross although Alaba managed to clear it this time. Real Madrid responded by raising the pressure to the highest level and Benzema was able to recover twice in two dangerous areas for Vinicius, but nothing happened in them.

Although City continued to appear more dangerous, especially in the break as Madrid left huge spaces in the middle of the field and in the back. Mahrez fired a shot into the side net after Bernardo played it, while Foden saw his attempt to pass painfully after a quick break that included all of the City’s attacking players.

Real Madrid’s first chance came after half an hour when Alaba headed a Benzema cross after a short corner kick. That was a warning sign for the city they didn’t pay attention to. Two minutes later, the resplendent Benzema managed to reduce the difference, hitting a superb shot into the ball from a deep cross from Ferland Mendy.

The goal gave the away team more confidence, and Rodrigo Emerson tested from a tight corner soon after. This forced Guardiola to replace John Stones with Fernandinho at right-back before the 40th minute and both sides looked happy to reach the end of the first half without any further concerns.

The second half started in the same way as the first and Man City almost scored the ball in the net two minutes after the start of the second half. Nacho, substitute for Alaba in the first half, over-committed which allowed Mahrez to carry out a clean run in goal. The curling shot of the wing beat Courtois but not the wood, as it bounced off the far post. The rebound fell to Foden who had the easiest task of putting the ball into a mostly empty net but managed to hit Carvajal from close range.

The young player didn’t bother and made no mistake after a few minutes to make it 3-1. Fernandinho regained the ball in the attacking half and played 1-2 before heading towards the back post. Carvajal had no idea where Foden was and it was the simplest headers that put City back in goal margin.

Fernandinho was the maker of that goal and his actions took place two more minutes later, albeit at the other end. The checkered right-back bumped into Vinicius and turned around with ease. There was only one winner in the foot race after that, and the young winger raced away before quietly finishing past Ederson to cut the difference to one.

Both teams took some time to relax and recover from an intense period of play. Man City dominated possession, searching for holes around the penalty area while Real Madrid threatened to break through with the prowess of Modric, Benzema and Vinicius’ speed.

The next big chance in the match fell on an unexpected source when Zinchenko’s cross found Aymeric Laporte free in the penalty area. The central defender could not get the ball and his weak attempt was straight at Courtois.

And in the 74th minute came the next goal, the longest period in the match without a shot. Zinchenko headed towards the penalty area in Madrid and was fouled by Kroos. Real Madrid’s defense stopped waiting for the siren but the ball fell to Bernardo Silva who was energetic and took a few touches before blasting off at a beautiful finish at the near post.

Real Madrid was shocked and almost concede again in the next minute. Mahrez dazzled the entire defense, bypassing four defenders before firing into the net. The angle was too tight and his shot fell across the face of the goal. Modric has taken it upon himself, as he has already this season, to turn the tide. The Man City midfielder sold a doll before firing wide from outside the box.

Ancelotti’s men regained control and had a golden opportunity to pull the goal back when the ball rebounded from Laporte in his hand. She raised his arm over his shoulder and the referee duly pointed the point. Benzema stepped up to take it and scored it in style with a superb penalty kick from Panenka to make it 4-3.

The city instantly capsized with the nightly trend. Robin Dias almost hit a cross from Mahrez in quick succession, but he remained an inch from the fifth City. It was the last big opportunity worth noting of an exciting match as Guardiola’s City lead by one goal to Madrid.

Here are our talking points from the match –

Casemiro is missing

Real Madrid crashed like a truck in the first minutes of Manchester City’s intensity and they remained very open throughout the match. Their technical players, such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, could not cope with the constant maneuvers of Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne.

What they missed the most was their devastating boss, Casemiro. The Brazilian was only considered fit enough on the bench and Real Madrid did much better with him on the pitch. Fede Valverde covered a lot of ground but lacked Casemiro’s tactical experience and intelligence.

The first goal could have been avoided had the Uruguayan returned to De Bruyne’s track or just to cover the space, which Casemiro is an expert on. It would have been better to cover the remaining space during the counterattack, allowing Madrid more control of the match.

Come to the right back

Guardiola was unable to call up the services of Joao Cancelo, who was suspended and Kyle Walker, who was not fit enough. This is Manchester City’s left light in the right-back area with right-back John Stones also turning into a late fitness test.

The Catalan coach canceled the Stones test in the 36th minute after the Englishman was convicted of dropping the ball in dangerous areas several times. Although his replacement was the 36-year-old defensive midfielder Fernandinho. While the Brazilian created City’s third goal, he was mistaken for Real Madrid’s second.

He was also targeted in the second half with Vinicius’ tempo clearly mismatched. Walker should be back next week while Cancelo will be available again and Guardiola will be a comfortable man.

Encore

Real Madrid have already played in two classic Champions League matches after their return to Paris Saint-Germain and the return leg against Chelsea. Meanwhile, City showed the strength they lacked in past seasons when they beat Atletico Madrid in the previous round. Saddam was a titan and he did not disappoint.

City may have a poor lead in the second leg but they have everything to play for. Casemiro will return to Madrid while Guardiola will be able to summon Cancelo Walker. The first leg is unlikely to be the top spot but fans are hoping for more of the same next week.

Leave a Comment