Manchester City will advance slightly in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, after an exciting match at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s team won 4-3 but somehow he had to regret the other great chances. They were punished by ruthless visitors who, thanks to Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, were able to stay within reach of their opponents.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring two minutes later by scoring the fastest goal in Champions League semi-final history before Gabriel Jesus doubled the lead nine minutes later. A brilliant ball from Benzema – from nowhere – halved the difference to make it 2-1 at the break.
There was a lot of the same in the second half and it took Phil Foden just seven minutes to reclaim his side’s two-goal lead. Although that lasted two minutes as Vinicius finished off a great race with a very impressive finish.
City returned from behind when Bernardo Silva sent a missile past Thibaut Courtois to the upper corner to make the score 4-2, but Benzema confirmed his lead by one goal in the second leg. After judging Aymeric Laporte for touching the ball inside the penalty area, the Real Madrid striker was nervous to distract Ederson with a penalty kick.
The two teams will meet next Wednesday at the Bernabéu to decide which team will play the Champions League in just one month.
“We played a great match” – Guardiola
Guardiola was ripping his hair out…scratching his head about how his team could secure a lead with just one goal. But he will also be very impressed with what he has seen from his team and this pride shown in his post-match interview.
“We played a great match against a great team,” he said. “I think the times they came back into the game were when we gave them [the chances]. Our build was very tense and usually very safe and good, but they also pressed really well and really tough.”
“We played a great match for us, for Man City we are very proud, but this is about getting to the final and sometimes football happens. We will go to Madrid to try and win the match.”
But how good is Karim Benzema?
Comparing Benzema to good wine seems like a cliché, but it’s also the perfect way to describe his career path. He has aged flawlessly and now, along with De Bruyne and Kylian Mbappe, is vying to be the best player in the world.
Taking a penalty in such a high-pressure situation is very difficult, but then having the confidence to carry out the same penalty, great. What a player.
One of the great performances of Kevin De Bruyne in the semi-finals
De Bruyne was quite successful with Manchester City tonight, and in recent weeks, he has become the most dominant player in the Premier League. As Sam hints in the tweet below, he’s done nothing wrong in the 90 minutes.
Foden and Silva immediately react to ‘fantastic football match’
Two of Manchester City’s top scorers tonight were put in front of the media right after the match and echoed a lot of what the spectators had to say, I’m sure. First of all, Phil Foden.
“For the fans, it was a great football match, a lot of goals,” he said. “We are facing a team that has won the Champions League many times and we know that if we give the ball too far in dangerous areas they will punish us. It is something we have to work on in the second leg and the match is still going on.”
Secondly. Bernard Silva.
“Honestly, I think the first 20 minutes we were very good,” he added. “The way we pressed, the way we controlled the game, the way we created chances, and for the 90 minutes I felt like we could have won with a better score. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take advantage of our double.” Advantages, but this is the Champions League. We played against one of the best teams in the world and that’s still a good sign for us.”
Full time in union after 90 exceptional minutes!
Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid
Tonight showed exactly why the Champions League is the ultimate pinnacle of world football. The referee ended the season match at Al Ittihad Stadium, where both teams played their part. Manchester City will scratch their heads that they are only one target ahead of the Bernabeu, but they have advanced nonetheless.
Guardiola and Ancelotti shared a smile after the final whistle and they won’t be the only ones smiling after such a truly amazing match.
Mahrez in an inch of adding five!
77 ‘Manchester City 4-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid is on alert and almost Mahrez enters the registration process. He assumes, whatever he wants, the entire defense and makes an almost impossible effort into the far corner with his right foot.