Vinicius Junior and Kevin De Bruyne traded magnificent goals as Real Madrid and Manchester City drew 1-1 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
City had dominated the early stages of the match only to concede from Madrid’s only shot of the first half, a stunning strike from Vinicius that seemed to unnerve Pep Guardiola’s side.
But midway through the second half, just when Madrid were pushing for their second goal, De Bruyne silenced the Bernabeu with a vicious hit of his own from distance.
Real Madrid: Courtois (8), Carvajal (6), Rudiger (7), Alaba (7), Camavinga (7), Kroos (7), Modric (7), Valverde (7), Rodrygo (7), Benzema (7), Vinicius Junior (9).
Subs: Asensio (5), Tchouameni (6), Nacho (n/a).
Man City: Ederson (8), Walker (7), Stones (8), Dias (8), Akanji (6), Rodri (8), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (8), Silva (6), Haaland (5), Grealish (7).
Player of the match: Vinicius Junior
There was no late sting in the tale as there had been for City in this stadium in last season’s semi-final and they will be optimistic about the prospect of completing the job at the Etihad Stadium next week.
How City battled back in the Bernabeu
Given that City contrived to surrender a two-goal lead going into the last minute of normal time in the second leg of their semi-final against Madrid last season, before succumbing to defeat in extra-time in the Bernabeu, this tie came with uncomfortable memories.
And while there was no sign of those nerves as they peppered Thibaut Courtois’ goal early in the game, controlling the possession, their composure was tested when Madrid sucker-punched with a moment of magic from Vinicius. He is an extraordinary player.
Eduardo Camavinga broke down the left and fed the ball to the Brazilian, who rifled the ball beyond compatriot Ederson from outside the penalty box. It was classic Madrid, soaking up the pressure before turning the tables on their opponents. A response was needed.
- Luka Modric was fit enough to start for Real Madrid so there was just one change from the team that won at Chelsea with Antonio Rudiger coming in.
- Pep Guardiola named the same Manchester City side that defeated Arsenal last month with Manuel Akanji in at left-back. Nathan Ake’s injury against Leeds meant he was unavailable.
It took City some time, Erling Haaland being controlled well by Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba. But it was De Bruyne who stepped up, lashing the ball beyond international team-mate Courtois after being set up by Ilkay Gundogan. It was a match for Vinicius’ goal.
Though Karim Benzema forced a good save from Ederson with a close-range header, neither side could find a winner on the night – that will have to come in Manchester next week. The tie is in the balance but, on this evidence, it is not short of players capable of deciding it.
Guardiola: ‘Hopefully, we can learn’
“When we were better, they scored. When they were better, we scored,” Guardiola told BT Sport. “It was a tight game. Bernabeu, a semi-final, it is always difficult. We had good moments and sometimes difficult [moments] with the quality that they have with the ball.
“It is 1-1. A final next Wednesday with our people. Now we travel to Manchester and we are going to see what we can do better. When you play these games, it is like a play-off. For the second, you learn a lot from the first. Hopefully, we can learn.”
Rodri praises De Bruyne’s impact
Manchester City midfielder Rodri praised his team-mates when speaking to BT Sport after the game.
“I think the first 25 to 30 minutes, we controlled so good the game. The first shot they have, they score an incredible goal. But we keep in the game, we did not change our philosophy, we kept playing even though it was difficult.
“There is a lot of concentration [required] because when you lose it, it is difficult to regain it. They also have fast players up front. But the effort of the lads was incredible.”
In particular, Rodri credited De Bruyne for delivering when it mattered most.
“He is a massive player for us, always. He has been great and he helped us in the moment we most needed it. We were suffering a bit in the second half because they were keeping the ball and that goal gave us the confidence to keep pushing. A good result for us.”
Ancelotti satisfied with draw
“A good game, an interesting game,” Carlo Ancelotti told BT Sport.
“Difficult for us in the first half, in the second half it was much better. They controlled possession in the first half but we were in a good control defensively and when we started to play the ball we created a lot of difficulties.
“You have to stay calm, you have to keep the position defensively, do not go crazy to press, stay there and play the low block, and when we had the opportunity we scored the first goal. [Vinicius Junior] is in a fantastic moment but the team played well.
“I am satisfied, with a good sensation about the game on Wednesday.”
Real Madrid’s next game is at home to Getafe in LaLiga on Saturday – kick-off 8pm.
The European champions then travel to the Etihad to take on Man City in their Champions League semi-final second leg on May 17 – kick-off 8pm.
Ahead of their rematch with Real, City go to Goodison Park to take on Everton in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2pm.
Man City’s remaining fixtures
May 14: Everton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
May 17: Real Madrid (H) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
May 21: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm
May 24: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
May 28: Brentford (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
June 3: Manchester United (N) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm
Real Madrid 1-1 Man City – Opta stats
- Man City are unbeaten in their last 21 games in all competitions.
- Vinicius Junior has been involved in 22 goals in his last 22 Champions League appearances.
- Kevin De Bruyne became the first ever player to score in separate Champions League away knockout stage matches against Real Madrid.
- Seven of De Bruyne’s 14 Champions League goals have come from outside the box. Since he joined Man City, it is the highest percentage anyone with 10 goals or more has scored from distance in the competition.
- Real Madrid have scored at least once in 67 of their last 68 home games in the UEFA Champions League,
- Jack Grealish created six chances in this match – the only Man City player to create more in a UEFA Champions League knockout stage game is Kevin De Bruyne against Real Madrid in 2020.
- Erling Haaland had just 21 touches in this match, the fewest of any of the 22 players to start.
- Real Madrid have progressed from just two of their nine UEFA Champions League knockout stage ties when failing to win the first leg at home – both of these were against Manchester United.