The UEFA Champions League kicked off with the semifinals on Tuesday, April 26, with the match between Manchester City and Real Madrid. The English side knew that facing the 13-time UEFA Champions League would not be easy, but they would try to make them suffer with their attacking play anyways. City showed off their offensive, while Madrid did the same and put up a fight in a game that was packed with goals but finished with City winning 4-3.
The Citizens and Los Merengues put on another spectacular UEFA Champions League show, with fans being enthralled from beginning to end. Both Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti were expected to send the best they had on the pitch. The home side had to take advantage in this match, while the visitors wanted to avoid the pain of the quarterfinals.
From the outset of the UEFA Champions League semifinals, Guardiola’s team followed the coach’s instructions and were completely involved in the game from the second minute, when Kevin De Bruyne made it 1-0 with a header. After the goal, City took possession of the ball and continued to attack. The effort paid off, as in the 11th minute, Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0.
The local team’s pressure persisted: they seemed dissatisfied with the advantage they already had. Twenty minutes of play had passed and Real Madrid was still not showing up. Riyad Mahrez had an opportunity to make it 3-0, but his shot went just wide of the right post, fortunately for the “Merengues”. Before the half-hour mark, Phil Foden initiated a new risky move, but the “Whites” were once again spared.
Just after the two consecutive City attacks, Madrid woke up and was able to take possession of the ball, and it was the Frenchman Karim Benzema who, in the 33rd minute, closed the gap, making the score 2-1. With that score they went to the break, and although the visitors were still losing, at least they had improved on the field.
UEFA Champions League results: Goal display at Etihad Stadium
In the beginning of the second half, Manchester City again showed its desire to be a UEFA Champions League finalist and had two consecutive chances, once again without being able to score. But in the 53rd minute, Phil Foden’s header made it 3-1. The Spanish team reacted quickly, as a couple of minutes later Vinicius Junior scored the second goal for the visitors, who were still trailing 3-2.
At the Etihad Stadium, there had already been a goal exhibit, but it wasn’t over yet. The two teams shared the ball for the next 20 minutes of the match but there was little danger, as City had the clearest chance, but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blocked it from getting into the net. Bernardo Silva was attentive to his opponent’s mistakes and in the 74th minute, after finding a loose ball inside the area, he showed no mercy and shot to make it 4-2.
But there were also mistakes on City’s part: Aymeric Laporte’s hand was involved in a play in the box and the referee awarded a penalty in Madrid’s favor. Benzema was in charge of taking the penalty, Panenka-style to make it 4-3.
Manchester United finally won the match; thus, Real Madrid will have to devise a strategy to turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu in order to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Grand Final.