MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, April 26, 2022 (AFP) – Manchester City advanced to the semi-finals of the European Champions League after beating Real Madrid 4-3 in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
The English team’s goals were scored by Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva, while Karim Benzema (2x) and Vinicius Jr. scored for Spain.
Thanks to another decisive performance from their attacking pair, Real Madrid go into the return game with high hopes of making a comeback and going into the final.
City opened the scoring after only two minutes with De Bruyne, who took advantage of Riyadh Marhez’s cross and advanced.
At the age of 11, the English team expanded with Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian, who scored four goals over the weekend against Watford in the Premier League, was a constant problem for the home side’s defense.
The second goal was a major blow to Real Madrid, who could not get out while playing under high pressure from City and were always dodging the ball. Only when Luka Modric and Benzema entered the game did the Spanish team begin to advance further.
In the 30th minute, after a steal from the Croatian, Ferland Mendy crossed the field for Benzema and finished first in goalkeeper Ederson’s corner.
The goal encouraged Real Madrid, which began to be marked in the individual doubles, to come with more threats.
In the team’s best moment in the first half, Rodrigo nearly equalized in a shot that was sent by Ederson for a corner.
Upon the return of the break, City increased the intensity and nearly scored a third goal in four minutes to Mahrez’s move, which dribbled off Oder Milito and finished at the post. On the rebound, Foden kicked off and Carvajal saved the line.
Soon after, the English forward managed to score with a header, taking advantage of a cross from Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho.
Soon after, in a great move, Vinicius Jr. started on the left, attacked the field and touched down to cut short the goalkeeper’s exit.
But when Real Madrid signaled an attempt to respond, another cold shower ensued.
When the Spanish defending team stopped to think the referee was going to commit a foul, Bernardo Silva continued on the pitch and made a graceful shot at a right angle to Courtois.
Once again the Merengue team had to face defeat again in the game. But when City seemed to be in control, the referee awarded a penalty kick to Aymeric Laporte’s area. Benzema goes for the ball and hits a Cavadinha to beat Ederson.
The Frenchman climbed to the top of the Champions League today with 14 goals, overtaking Bayern Munich’s Polish Robert Lewandowski on 13, who had already been knocked out of the competition.
The Real Madrid captain shone when the team needed it the most and despite the loss, a mere goal difference leaves the clash open for the comeback game.
“It’s never good to lose, but we are inspired by this Champions League and most importantly, we never give up,” Benzema said after the match.
Manchester City manager Pepe Guardiola commented: “We could have had better results, but we have to play well in both matches. We played very well today and the return will be a good test of the personality of the team.”