City win first leg in a 7-goal thriller classic
City won in home turf, Etihad, 4-3 in a classic match. City are unbeaten at home since 2018 in UCL.
13 time champions, Real Madrid were up to the task. They knew the threats City could pose and dent their UCL ambitions. Pep Guardiola knew it would be a daunting task if he was to win and go through. Madrid had beaten Chelsea to qualify for the semis in a game that Chelsea almost choked Madrid only for Benzema to take them through with a decisive goal in extra time.
City were on the front foot earlier in the game as Kevin De Bruyne put them ahead on the second minute from a fine cross by Riyad Mahrez. That was the fastest goal in a UCL semi-final couple of minutes later De Bruyne fed the ball to Jesus and sent it past Courtois on the right side of the goal to make it 2-0 on the eleventh minute. Los Blancos fans were in shock seeing their team go down 2-0 in just ten minutes.
The game kept everyone on the edge of their seats. City was pushed back by Madrid as they sought an urgent response to what had just transpired. Not long, and Los Blancos French talisman pegged one back for the visitors with a beautiful guided volley for his 40th goal of the season on the thirty third minute. Halftime scores 2-1.
The second half began from where the first half left off. Eight minutes in City were 3-1 up courtesy of a great cross from Fernandinho which was met by Phil Foden’s header for the goal. Fernandinho had replaced John Stones in the first half due to injury. Not all was on the pitch, as from the sidelines too Pep got yellow carded for something he said to the referee Istvan Kovacs.City could not hold their two goal advantage as Vinicius Junior ran on the flank half way across the pitch to strike the ball past Ederson inside the box. Vinicius’ pace was red hot as Fernandinho could not keep up and his misjudgment led to the goal to make it 3-2.
Carlo Ancelotti made a tactical substitution and brought in Eduardo Camavinga to replace Rodrigo in the midfield with twenty minutes to play.With a quarter of an hour to play, Oleksandr Zincheko drove forward towards the box only to be brought down by what seems like a foul but the play goes on and Guess what? Bernado Silva pounces on the loose ball inside the box after Zinchenko could not hold it and beats the keeper with a stunning shot into the top left corner leaving Thibaut Courtois watching it as it sails into the net to make it 4-2. What a goal!
The drama was not over as Aymeric Laporte handled the ball in the box and Madrid were given a penalty. And the man to take it, Karim Benzema. Benzema netted an ice cold panenka penalty sending Ederson the wrong way to make it 4-3 and bring it back to a one goal margin. That would be the final score at Etihad.
Though City look frustrated by the single goal margin, they are one step closer towards the final if they play with the same energy as today’s match and not squander chances. Pep is looking forward to be the first manager to knock out Real Madrid out of the Champions League.