Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said Manchester City’s equaliser in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg should not have counted.
Ancelotti was not happy with the referee for failing to consult with VAR after City’s goal because he felt Bernardo Silva took the ball over the touchline in the build-up to Kevin De Bruyne’s stunning strike.
Referee Artur Soares Dias showed Ancelotti a yellow card for entering the field of play as he protested the goal and the Italian was still unhappy with the official after the game.
“The ball was off the pitch,” Ancelotti said. “The technology said it. I don’t understand why VAR didn’t check it. The referee didn’t pay attention to many things tonight.”
Vinicius Jr had given Real Madrid the lead against the run of play with a thunderous effort before De Bruyne stepped up for his team to bring them level with an equally-impressive strike when the hosts were in charge.
Ancelotti’s side had struggled to cope with City for the opening half-hour, but grew into the game after going ahead and looked the more threatening in the second half.
They now have to beat City at the Etihad, a feat only Brentford have achieved this season, to reach the final of the Champions League if they wish to avoid penalties.
Ancelotti, speaking to BT Sport, added: “A good game, an interesting game. 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.”
Pep: The second leg is like a final
Pep Guardiola was impressed by the way his side dealt with the occasion at the Santiago Bernabeu to set up what up is now effectively a play-off game at the Etihad to reach the Champions League final.
“When we were better they score. When they were better we score,” he told BT Sport. “Tight, tight game. The Bernabeu in the semi-final, sometimes we had good moments and sometimes it was difficult with the quality they have on the ball. Final next Wednesday at home with our people.
“We started really well in the second half as well and then after they got the game we could not take it. They play a lot of passes on the left and they are really good there but then we score a fantastic goal through Kevin [De Bruyne] and had good moments and then at the end they had a few good chances.
“They are so demanding, with the experience and quality. We are travelling to Manchester and we will see what we can do better.
“When you play this kind of game it is like a play-off, so hopefully we can learn, defend better and attack better.”
The Spanish press had billed Tuesday night’s game as a battle between Vinicius and Erling Haaland, two of Europe’s most talented young players.
It was the Real Madrid man that stole the show as Haaland had the fewest touches of all the starters, but Guardiola praised the Norway striker’s performance.
“The pockets and distances between the central defender and full-backs was occupied,” Guardiola added. “It was not easy for Erling. He moved well and had his chances.”
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