Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City: What Did We Learn As City Claim A Thrilling First-Leg Stalemate At The Bernabeu?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 9 May 2023

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In what was a pulsating affair from the Bernabeu on Tuesday night, Manchester City mounted a second-half comeback as they secured a first-leg 1-1 draw away at Real Madrid.

With all eyes falling on the Spanish capital for a blockbuster Champions League showdown, Pep Guardiola’s side were desperate to claim some European revenge following last season’s infamous semi-final exit.

However, with Brazilian ace Vinicius Junior recording his seventh Champions League strike of the season as the 22-year-old opened the scoring nine minutes before the break, it was far from plain sailing for the English giants.

Nevertheless, although the Sky Blues might have had to go about things the hard way in Spain, it was midfield talisman Kevin De Bruyne who eventually dragged City to what could be a crucial second-half equaliser.

Producing a thunderous strike in the 67th minute and now notching three goals in as many appearances, Guardiola’s side will feel like they’re sat in the driving seat when they return to Manchester next week.

In a showdown that produced plenty of drama at both ends of the Bernabeu pitch, what did we learn from Tuesday’s first-leg showdown?

A better result for City in the end

Returning to the scene of the crime 12 months after their remarkable Champions League exit at the hands of Madrid last year, City will be feeling like things went far better on Tuesday night.

Coming from behind on foreign soil and eventually claiming what could be a crucial second-half equaliser, the Premier League heavyweights will now feel like they’re sat in pole position to complete the job next week when they return to Manchester.

Heading out to Spain after securing a 2-1 win against Leeds over the weekend, the former Bayern Munich boss saw his side extend their unbeaten run to 21 games on the bounce.

Seen as the leading contender to complete what would be an iconic domestic and European-double this season, Guatdiola’s superstar squad should be excited by a stellar record against Madrid at the Etihad.

Despite suffering major Champions League heartbreak at the Bernabeu last year, the Sky Blues have secured back-to-back Champions League victories against Los Blancos on home soil by an aggregate score of 6-4.

KDB shows why he is still the King of Manchester

While Erling Haaland’s goalscoring antics might have stolen most of Manchester City’s headlines this season, it is Guadriola’s midfield talisman who demonstrated why he is still the King of Manchester on Tuesday night.

Despite dealing with a brief knock when opening May, De Bruyne has certainly underlined just how important he is in City’s charge to claim a famous domestic and European sweep in 2023.

Producing a thunderous second-half strike and handing the Sky Blues what could turn out to be a crucial first-leg equaliser in Madrid, the Belgian ace has now notched three goals in as many appearances across all competitions.

Really pulling the strings and at the heart of everything positive that City produced here, De Bruyne has also formed what has quickly become one of Europe’s most lethal partnerships alongside the record-breaking Haaland.

Notching 21 assists while on both domestic and European duties this season, the one-time Chelsea starlet will now be looking to drag City to a famous maiden Champions League crown.

Vinicius can hand City more Champions League heartbreak

Although Real Madrid might have eventually been disappointed after failing to claim a first-leg advantage on home soil, Los Blancos will travel to the Etihad next week confident of collecting another heavyweight English scalp.

Already coming past both Liverpool and Chelsea on route to booking their semi-final ticket, the reigning European champions have shown that they can cause City some major issues at the back.

Although it might be Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema who has continued to spearhead Madrid’s attack this season, it is Vinicius who has undoubtedly been Ancelotti’s star man in recent times.

Opening the scoring on Tuesday night and now bagging seven goals in his 11 Champions League appearances, the Brazilian ace has transformed into one of Europe’s most talented attacking stars.

Giving the returning Kyle Walker a real headache and leading the chase to claim Madrid’s European Golden Boot this year, Vinicius should be relishing a trip to Manchester next week.

Match Report

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Rédiger, Alaba, Camavinga, Valverde, Kroos, Modric, Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

Subs: Nacho, Asensio, Tchouameni

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Akanji, Stones, Rodri, Grealish, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Haaland

Subs: N/A

Goals: Real Madrid: Vinicius (36’) – Manchester City: De Bruyne (67’)

Yellow Cards: Real Madrid: Camavinga, Kroos – Manchester City: Gundogan, Silva

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Artur Dias

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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