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rm city games Manchester City were at times magical in a classic against Real Madrid but should have finished off the Champions League semi-final.

rm city games

rm city games Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid: Classic Champions League tie a genuine gold standard match

rm city games Kevin de Bruyne opened the scoring after only 93 seconds in an incredible Champions League semi-final first-leg tie

Carlo Ancelotti's last visit to Manchester City ended in a 5-0 humiliation in what proved to be the final match of his tenure as Everton manager.

When the legendary Italian manager, 62, turned to his Real Madrid backroom staff with arms outstretched and gave an anxious glance down at his watch with City 2-0 up after only 11 minutes on his return to Etihad Stadium, he was probably fearing a similar scoreline.

City were flying. Real were overwhelmed. This was shaping up as a one-sided mauling for the great old Champions League campaigner chasing the trophy for a historic fourth time.

Manchester City held a two-goal advantage on three occasions during the game at Etihad Stadium

And yet, to the disbelief of pretty much everyone who witnessed a gold standard classic of a football match, Ancelotti was pitchside after the game smiling, eyebrow raised in trademark fashion suggesting he was rather happy to come away with a 4-3 first leg loss.

He did not look as mystified as others at the fact that Real were still in with a shout of reaching yet another Champions League Final.

City's players were not exactly deflated - how could they be after such a brilliant performance and a semi-final first leg win? However, their body language gave away the brutal fact that they should have had this tie all wrapped up heading into the second leg in the Bernabeu.

This was a breathless night, everything that is good about football at this rarified level and City were, at times, magical.

And yet...

The Bernabeu does strange things in the Champions League and, while City are unlikely to endure the same physical onslaught Atletico Madrid subjected them to in the quarter-final second leg, they will face a severe test with just a one-goal lead.

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Karim Benzema's late Panenka penalty gives Real Madrid hope for the second leg on Wednesday, 4 May

City let Real off the hook and history tells us this can be a very expensive mistake.

Ancelotti, as well as many of this Real squad, have been over this course and distance before though they will also know they were ripped to shreds for long periods of this game.

But they will also have serious belief they can go through to face either Liverpool or Villarreal in Paris.

The good news for City is that, despite the narrow scoreline, there were times when they outclassed Real, with Luka Modric unable to exert his usual influence in midfield.

City were quicker, slicker, better, more threatening. This is the knowledge they will pack with them on the flight to Madrid.

And yet...

Man City 4-3 Real Madrid: Result could have been better - Guardiola

Who knows what sort of lead it takes to finish Real off, backed by the Bernabeu crowd and such a rich history in this competition? Every big night in the grand old arena is accompanied by sense of destiny.

A glimpse of Guardiola's mindset came with City two goals up and Real pretty much floored.

The Spaniard flew into a full-on rage in his technical area when Riyad Mahrez committed the cardinal sin in this manager's book by being too greedy, lashing a shot into the side-netting with Phil Foden waiting unattended in the middle and the goal at his mercy. At 3-0 it could have been job done.

"Riyad. Riyad", Guardiola shouted before continuing the fume. He knows you simply cannot give Real a break and the Spanish giants proved that.

City had a two-goal advantage on three occasions, played wonderful, fluent football but will know there should be no need of those nagging doubts that might have been felt at the final whistle.

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1026 comments

  • I

    Comment posted by in my opinion, at 00:59 27 Aprin my opinion

    00:59 27 AprGreat game, poor marking at both ends. The scrapping of the away goals rule was a good decision.
    Maybe UEFA can get all the refs in a room together to watch how this game was refereed, well done Mr Kovacs.
    • N

      Reply posted by Nok Su Kow, at 01:33 27 AprNok Su Kow

      01:33 27 Aprto in my opinionNok Su Kow replied: On Talk Sport commentary, Trevor Sinclair suggested Kovacs never ref a City games due to bias!

      I tend to agree that Kovacs had a good game, other than when he played advantage for City's 4th, that was poor.
  • S

    Comment posted by Stulad, at 00:12 27 AprStulad

    00:12 27 AprQuite simply that game showed why we all love football.

    The next leg is almost guaranteed to be equally spell-binding given Real’s ability to come back from the dead combined with City’s pure class.
    • B

      Reply posted by Bolt, at 00:21 27 AprBolt

      00:21 27 Aprto StuladBolt replied: Yeah champions leugue has been excellent this season! We have had comebacks,upsets,great goals, records and teams losing their heads! Their is little more that a football fans wants in games
  • P

    Comment posted by phac, at 01:04 27 Aprphac

    01:04 27 AprNot a fan of the money driven Champions League but that was a fantastic game of football to watch, as someone who likes football. Kudos to the players for such great entertainment.
    • S

      Reply posted by Sax and RocknRoll, at 03:31 27 AprSax and RocknRoll

      03:31 27 Aprto phacSax and RocknRoll replied: Wait! What? The EPL isn't money driven?
  • A

    Comment posted by Andy100, at 00:56 27 AprAndy100

    00:56 27 AprGreat game but dreadful defending from both teams.
    • T

      Reply posted by The Spin Doctor, at 00:59 27 AprThe Spin Doctor

      00:59 27 Aprto Andy100The Spin Doctor replied: Looks like both teams were playing a 2-3-5 formation.
  • J

    Comment posted by JFT96, at 03:19 27 AprJFT96

    03:19 27 AprWhat a refresh to see both teams going for the win in a football match, after witnessing all the ugly theatrics, faking injuries, time wasting, diving, play acting at Anfield on Sunday. No wonder Ancelotti was desperate to leave!
    • N

      Reply posted by NIGEL DAVIES, at 08:21 27 AprNIGEL DAVIES

      08:21 27 Aprto JFT96NIGEL DAVIES replied: The second leg will be very difficult for Man City. Playing at the Bernabeu is well known for bias refereeing and everything going to Real. I should imagine the money people in the game are desperate to see Real in the final
  • W

    Comment posted by WIthrespect, at 09:04 27 AprWIthrespect

    09:04 27 AprI sit back and admire football, I'm a massive LFC but have no beef with Man City.

    They are a superb team with a superb manager.

    Let's be honest City should be out of sight, they had enough chances to win by 3 clear goals last night.

    I have absolute confidence they will finish the job in Madrid.

    It's great to see a Madrid side play football, Simone should be taking notes.
    • T

      Reply posted by TheGMen, at 09:09 27 AprTheGMen

      09:09 27 Aprto WIthrespectTheGMen replied: Quite agree.
      It puts to shame the Atletico bullying and cheating tactics which have no place in football.
      Great defending is to be admired but not aggravated assault!
  • P

    Comment posted by pirlosfeet, at 01:47 27 Aprpirlosfeet

    01:47 27 AprI really admired the captaincy of Benzema today. He laid into the Madrid defence to get them out of slumber alas he can only do so much but thats what a captain should be leading by example.
  • 4

    Comment posted by 4xhn7xjd, at 00:55 27 Apr4xhn7xjd

    00:55 27 AprWent to the game tonight and have just watched it all again on tv. Great game and fantastic entertainment, roll on next Wednesday 👍
    • N

      Reply posted by NGOK, at 06:03 27 AprNGOK

      06:03 27 Aprto 4xhn7xjdNGOK replied: Did you spot yourself?
  • N

    Comment posted by Navers, at 04:36 27 AprNavers

    04:36 27 AprJust imagine what would have happened had Mahrez passed over to Foden to make it 3-0 at the bare minimum. A totally different game, surely. Real Madrid showed their experience by not panicking, and are now still in the tie.
    • N

      Reply posted by NGOK, at 05:54 27 AprNGOK

      05:54 27 Aprto NaversNGOK replied: I haven't watched it again but wasn't the square pass to Foden blocked by defenders? City went close around 6 or 7 more times. They should be favourites to get through.
  • D

    Comment posted by Duncan, at 00:16 27 AprDuncan

    00:16 27 AprCan journalists also stop calling anti-football “well organized and determined” when it is horrible to watch and the easiest way to play. Playing real, entertaining football is the hardest to get right and is the style that is most deserving of respect. It’s not like you need the most expensive players to do it - Leicester, Brighton, Southampton, Brentford etc. all do it and stay in the league.
    • A

      Reply posted by airwolf, at 00:23 27 Aprairwolf

      00:23 27 Aprto Duncanairwolf replied: Well said, we can all understand why defensive set ups occur against mis-matched teams or in 2 legged affairs but it shouldn't be a default setting across a season.
  • U

    Comment posted by unknown, at 00:14 27 Aprunknown

    00:14 27 AprThis the reason why we all love our beautiful game. Just breathtaking!
    • N

      Reply posted by NGOK, at 05:59 27 AprNGOK

      05:59 27 Aprto unknownNGOK replied: Another great Champion's League night. They should set up a European League with only the big teams allowed in it!
  • F

    Comment posted by Fan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd, at 00:44 27 AprFan Of Whoever Plays Man Utd

    00:44 27 AprDefinitely a Gold standard match. In the first 15 minutes it looked like Man City would run away with it and basically turn the 2nd leg into a practice game, but RM pegged them back and then did it again and again and again.
  • O

    Comment posted by Ourtimehascome, at 00:25 27 AprOurtimehascome

    00:25 27 AprVini Jr was unplayable and hopefully Walker will be back to neutralize him. If he is, City will go through. What a match but all of RM goals were preventable- City need to tighten up in the second leg.
    • N

      Reply posted by Nok Su Kow, at 00:32 27 AprNok Su Kow

      00:32 27 Aprto OurtimehascomeNok Su Kow replied: As was City's 2nd and 4th. Ref should not have allowed advantage in that situation ever.

      City had plenty of chances, but made enough mistakes to give Real a huge chance in the return.
  • S

    Comment posted by Someone Else, at 01:57 27 AprSomeone Else

    01:57 27 AprPredictably the absence of Walker and Cancelo was too much for the City defence to sustain, but going forward they were brilliant, totally outclassing Real. Just pure bad luck with the missed chances. I think they can do it next week, but it is going to be close
    • E

      Reply posted by Edinburgh Dee, at 04:43 27 AprEdinburgh Dee

      04:43 27 Aprto Someone ElseEdinburgh Dee replied: Yeah but Real should have Casemero back, he gives them defensive stability and balance.
      Plus can let Alba heal, perhaps he has chance to be actually fit this time too.
      Both of them being ready, will help Madrid, big time
  • S

    Comment posted by SBandy1, at 00:11 27 AprSBandy1

    00:11 27 AprIt was just great fun to watch. Can't ask for more than that really.
  • T

    Comment posted by The Gorg, at 06:54 27 AprThe Gorg

    06:54 27 AprIt was a gold stanadard match for entertainment but not defending.
    • E

      Reply posted by Eye_Said, at 16:24 27 AprEye_Said

      16:24 27 Aprto The GorgEye_Said replied: Both sides had heavily depleted defensive units
  • P

    Comment posted by philandrew, at 04:20 27 Aprphilandrew

    04:20 27 Apr"Riyad Mahrez committed the cardinal sin in this manager's book by being too greedy"...and therein lies the problem with Pep....too many times City players will try and seek out another instead of 'having a go'. Mahrez was right to shoot, the pass would never have reached Foden.
    • N

      Reply posted by NGOK, at 06:21 27 AprNGOK

      06:21 27 Aprto philandrewNGOK replied: That's what the replay showed. People just love a scapegoat.
  • C

    Comment posted by chezza100, at 08:42 27 Aprchezza100

    08:42 27 AprBoth teams were exposed in defence.
    Its great to score 4 but when you let 3 in its questionable.
    Great for the ticket holders seeing 7 goals though.
    I think it could go either way in the next match.
    Good luck to Liverpool tonight.
    • L

      Reply posted by LuThe, at 10:50 27 AprLuThe

      10:50 27 Aprto chezza100LuThe replied: City's defending wasn't great, think a couple of the RM chances were preventable.

      But even as a fan of LFC have to say that some of City's play was simply irresistible. RM's issues weren't bad defending, simply attacking play by City that required a team of 15+ players on the pitch to defend against.
  • K

    Comment posted by Kiwinz, at 01:26 27 AprKiwinz

    01:26 27 AprBe interesting to see how City go against Leeds, potential banana skin?
    • B

      Reply posted by Beeb Account, at 08:37 27 AprBeeb Account

      08:37 27 Aprto KiwinzBeeb Account replied: Definitely, they'll only win by 3. ;)
  • B

    Comment posted by BornOnside, at 03:12 27 AprBornOnside

    03:12 27 AprConceding 3 at home is not a good result for a first leg.
    • P

      Reply posted by pean, at 04:24 27 Aprpean

      04:24 27 Aprto BornOnsidepean replied: Unless you score 4
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