Man City in six-goal thriller away to Real Madrid

Manchester City drew 3-3 with Real Madrid in an extraordinary game at the Bernabeu that leaves this Champions League quarter-final tie in the balance.

Long-range strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol looked to have secured a dramatic win on the night for Pep Guardiola’s European champions after Madrid had scored twice in the space of two minutes to take the lead following Bernardo Silva’s early goal.

But Federico Valverde’s sumptuous volley levelled it up again to the delight of a boisterous Bernabeu. A draw was a fair result given City dominated possession while Madrid had the better of the chances. All to play for ahead of the second leg in Manchester.

Player ratings

Real Madrid: Lunin (5), Carvajal (6), Tchouameni (6), Rudiger (7), Mendy (6), Valverde (7), Kroos (6), Camavinga (7), Bellingham (6), Vinicius Jnr (8), Rodrygo (7).

Subs: Modric (7), Diaz (6), Joselu (n/a).

Man City: Ortega (6), Akanji (5), Gvardiol (7), Dias (6), Stones (6), Rodri (6), Kovacic (6), Silva (7), Foden (8), Haaland (6), Grealish (6).

Subs: Julian Alvarez (n/a).

Player of the match: Phil Foden.

How the drama played out

Kevin De Bruyne dropping to the bench due to illness was not the ideal start for City but they did make the early breakthrough after Jack Grealish was brought down in the first minute. Silva caught out Andriy Lunin with the free-kick to stun the Bernabeu.

The roof was closed on the famous old stadium in a bid to ramp up the atmosphere but it was two quickfire goals that did that. It was a remarkable response by the 14-time champions, even if City could count themselves unfortunate in how the goals came.

Team news – De Bruyne ill

  • Stefan Ortega kept his place ahead of Ederson for Manchester City, while Kevin De Bruyne joined the Brazilian goalkeeper on the bench due to a late illness. Josko Gvardiol was fit to start.
  • Aurelien Tchouameni was chosen instead of Nacho at the back for Real Madrid with Jude Bellingham lining up in an advanced role alongside Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior. Luka Modric was on the bench.

Eduardo Camavinga’s shot was heading for the other side of the post until it deflected off Ruben Dias to wrongfoot Stefan Ortega and the goalkeeper was deceived again moments later when Rodrygo’s shot diverted off Manuel Akanji, trickling into the empty net.

Strange things can happen in Madrid, City know that better than most after their semi-final collapse in the Spanish capital two years ago. What was more alarming was the way that Ancelotti’s side continued to trouble the Premier League champions thereafter.

Rodrygo celebrates after putting Real Madrid 2-1 up against Man City
Rodrygo celebrates after putting Real Madrid 2-1 up against Manchester City

Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior had numerous chances to double the lead before the first half was through, counter-attacking at will in the left channel. Jude Bellingham and Vinicius both missed good chances from that zone early in the second half too. It proved costly.

Foden’s opportunity was not so obvious but much more precise, arrowing the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out to break Madrid’s resistance. It was typical of his fantastic form of late. The outrageous goal that followed from Gvardiol was not so predictable.

Cutting inside on his supposedly weaker right foot, the Croatia defender found the far corner with Lunin helpless. All three of City’s goals came from outside of the penalty box. It was a wonderful exhibition of finishing but Madrid had an answer themselves.

Valverde snuck in at the back post and caught his shot magnificently to make it three each and leave the tie finely poised for the rematch at the Etihad Stadium next week. On this evidence, both teams will be entitled to fancy their chances of progressing.

What’s next?

Manchester City host Luton Town in the Premier League on Saturday, kick-off 3pm. They then return to Spain for the second leg of their quarter-final on April 17, kick-off 8pm.

Real Madrid travel to Mallorca on Saturday in LaLiga with the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points, kick-off 5.30pm.

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