Bellingham enjoys ‘beautiful’ Real win; Pep: Haaland, KDB asked to come off

Jude Bellingham revelled in Real Madrid’s “beautiful” penalty shootout win over Manchester City which sent his side into the Champions League semi-finals, while Pep Guardiola rued the holders’ missed chances in the tie.

Kevin De Bruyne equalised for City after Rodrygo’s early opener at the Etihad but there was no doubt City were the dominant side on Wednesday night, racking up 33 shots to Real’s eight and recording an Expected Goals total of 2.73 to their opponents’ 1.4.

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However, Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic saw spot-kicks saved in a shootout and Antonio Rudiger converted the decisive penalty to send Real into the final four where they’ll face Bayern Munich, avenging their semi-final loss to City from last season.

Man City’s remaining fixtures:

  • April 20: Chelsea – FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
  • April 25: Brighton (a), live on Sky Sports
  • April 28: Nottingham Forest (a), live on Sky Sports
  • May 4: Wolves (h), live on Sky Sports
  • May 11: Fulham (a)
  • May 14: Tottenham (a)
  • May 19: West Ham (h)

“It’s a relief because you put so much into the game,” said Bellingham, speaking to TNT Sports.

“I have played against City when you have been close, you think you are going to get something out of it and then suddenly they snatch it away from you. You have to work really hard to beat them. To win the game was a massive reward.

Bernardo Silva reacts after missing his penalty in Man City's shootout with Real Madrid
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Bernardo Silva reacts after missing his penalty in Man City’s shootout with Real Madrid

“It is incredible. Moments like this are magic and it just comes down to mentality. When you get those details right and you get those little moments, like the penalties, when the lads keep their cool, it is magic. This was beautiful.

“My brother is here today and it is the first time he has been able to see me playing for Madrid. I feel really proud about that.”

City boss Guardiola was philosophical about the defeat for his side but couldn’t avoid the fact he felt the tie should have been settled before the shootout, given the number of chances his team created.

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Ben Ransom and Adam Bate assess where Manchester City went wrong after crashing out of the Champions League on penalties to Real Madrid.

“First of all, congratulations to Real Madrid,” said Guardiola afterwards.

“We did everything, I don’t have any regrets. Always, you try as a manager to create more and concede less. There were one, two or three transitions but that is normal. We played exceptional in all departments. Unfortunately, we could not win. That is how it is.

Antonio Rudiger celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's winning penalty against Man City
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Antonio Rudiger celebrates after scoring Real Madrid’s winning penalty against Man City

“Today, they defended deeper than the previous seasons. We created chances. But football is about scoring goals. From the penalty spot, they did it a bit better than us. Sometimes you win with penalties, sometimes not. The way we played, we should have done it before.”

Guardiola confirmed that the decision to substitute Erling Haaland at the end of normal time and De Bruyne in extra-time, along with Manuel Akanji, came following requests from the players. “Erling and Kevin asked me to come out,” he revealed. “They could not continue. Same as Manu.”

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola explains why Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne were subbed off against Real Madrid.

With the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday, there is little time to dwell on this defeat. The treble is gone but the double remains within their reach. “After winning, recovery is easier than losing. That is the way it is.”

Ancelotti: This is the only way to win at City

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted the strength of City had forced them to soak up pressure and look to take the tie on penalties.

He said: “We defended really, really well. This was about survival. Madrid is a club based on always fighting to stay in situations where there seems to be no way out – but we always find a way.

“By the time the penalty shoot-out came, we were totally convinced we’d go through.

“This is about the only way you can come to City and win. You work, sacrifice and win however you can.”

Dias: Real Madrid wanted penalties

City centre-back Dias cut a frustrated figure at the end of it all, saying the shootout ultimately suited Real, who had been on the back foot for the majority of the contest.

“I don’t know what to say. Frustrating. We dominated the whole game. You go to penalties. The effort was there. We had chances. It’s a difficult one to take,” Dias told TNT Sports.

“You always end up doing everything to try to avoid penalties. That’s what they wanted.

“The team was there. We fought, we had our chances but it wasn’t our day.

“We had the chances. Sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it doesn’t. Now we have to look forward at what’s to come in the season.

“We won’t have much time to rest. It’s a busy part of the season. Now is a time to be strong especially in the head. We’re still in two important competitions.”

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