A Vinicius Jr wonder strike in the first half was responded by a thunderous strike from Kevin de Bruyne in the second half to result in a stalemate, in a very entertaining tactical battle. This result leaves everything to play for in the second leg, in Manchester. Let’s recap:
The Santiago Bernabeu was in full-voice ahead of the eagerly anticipated European night, as always the fans made their voices clear welcoming the Real Madrid players on their way to the stadium.
The game started with Manchester City dominating the ball, having 72% possession to Real Madrid’s 28% in the 23rd minute, but without creating any clear cut chances as mentioned by one of Real Madrid’s best performers on the night, Antonio Rudiger: ‘They had possession, but without any benefit.’
Manchester City tested Courtois from distance with Kevin de Bruyne and Rodri, but they were both well saved by Courtois.
A sign of Real Madrid’s strength was seen in the first half when Vinicius’ cross was well intercepted by Ruben Dias stopping an almost guaranteed Karim Benzema goal.
Real Madrid took the lead with an incredible goal from Vinicius Jr, who fired past Ederson into the top corner to give Los Blancos the lead. The goal came from a well worked play from Camavinga and Modric to beat Manchester City’s first wave of press.
The second half was the opposite of the first half, with Real Madrid starting the half the better of the two teams. Rodrygo and Vinicius continued to prove difficult to defend for Manchester City. An excellent block from John Stones prevented Karim Benzema from doubling the lead.
The Kings of Europe continued to apply pressure, with a succession of corners and shots from distance but could not score the seconf much needed goal.
Then came the equaliser from Manchester City’s star, Kevin de Bruyne had his shot outside the box leaving Courtois with no chance.
Since, this goal has created a lot of outrage. Ancelotti received a yellow card for his complaints that the ball was out of play, however, no VAR review. BEIN Sports used a 3D video technology which shows that the play was indeed out of play which led to the goal. Arsene Wenger stated ‘VAR should have checked Bernardo Silva controlling the ball out of play.’
Ederson produced an excellent save to deny Tchouameni from long range, which was flying into the top corner.
The full-time whistle blew and it ended 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid play Getafe at home next, before travelling to Manchester for the return leg, where it is all to play for, with both sides believing they can certainly reach the final of the Champions League.
In the post-game interview, Courtois stated ‘next week it is like a final and we are pretty good in finals’, a quote leaving Real Madrid fans with confidence and belief in the team.
The official MOTM was given to Kevin De Bruyne, but it was the performances of Rudiger, Camavinga and Vinicius especially that caught the headlines from the Real Madrid viewpoint.