Real Madrid 1-1 Man City: De Bruyne and Vinicius trade stunning goals

OLIVER HOLT: Man City hold the advantage over Real Madrid due to their Champions League semi first-leg 1-1 draw – but both teams are so explosive and bewitching that the tie is on a knife-edge

  • Kevin De Bruyne’s drilled effort from the edge of the box brought Pep Guardiola’s side level in the semi-final
  • Vinicius Jr scored a stunning effort from distance in the first half to give holders Real Madrid the lead in the tie
  • AS IT HAPPENED:  Re-live all the drama from the first leg at the Bernabeu that leaves the clash on a knife edge

The way they had spoken about the prospect of Erling Haaland running out at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night made it seem as if Manchester City were bringing with them a warrior from the Dark Ages to slay Real Madrid.

The language and the images that the Spanish newspapers used on Tuesday morning spoke of a ‘monster’, an ‘ogre’ and ‘a machine’. It felt as if there was fear in the anticipation and the characterisation. The Norseman was coming. Lock up your homes. Build a wall across your goal line.

AS mocked up City’s centre forward as a Terminator on the rampage, one eye blaring red, his mouth open in a scream of rage. Alongside him, there was a picture of Vinicius Jr, Real Madrid’s spellbinding forward, dressed in a top hat and white gloves. ‘A Magician and a Machine,’ the headline read.

Given the supernatural qualities ascribed to both men, perhaps it should not have been a surprise that two thunderbolts decorated this spellbinding Champions League semi-final first leg.

Vinicius Junior, who now has 11 goals and 11 assists in his last 22 Champions League games, scored the first with a magnificent strike before the break, a goal so good it had many rushing to anoint him the best player in the world.

Kevin De Bruyne equalised for Man City at the Santiago Bernabeu with a drilled shot from the edge of the penalty area

The Belgian midfielder’s effort found the bottom left corner with Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois left helpless

Vinicius Jr had given Real Madrid the lead with a powerful drive from distance which beat the dive of Man City’s Ederson



Haaland was so expertly marshalled by Antonio Rudiger that he could not keep his half of the bargain. Rudiger was his shadow, a shadow that clawed and grappled and read the game beautifully and did not give an inch.

But just when it had begun to seem that Vinicius Junior’s strike would decide the match, Madrid discovered that, for all the fixation on the goalscoring prowess of Haaland, City are far, far more than a one-man team.

Haaland may have improved them this season. His 51 goals have brought them to the brink of the Treble. But his partnership with Kevin de Bruyne has been the most significant feature of City’s play and it was De Bruyne who stole the headlines with a sumptuous equaliser midway through the second half.

The 1-1 draw means City will have the advantage when they go into the second leg at the Etihad next Wednesday but both these teams are so explosive, so bewitching, that the tie is still balanced on a knife-edge.

Thwarted last night, maybe the machine, the monster, the ogre will get his moment in Manchester next week instead.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by talk of Haaland and by reminiscences of last year’s clash between these teams, which finished with Madrid mounting an astonishing second leg comeback, scoring two goals in injury time and a winner in extra time to triumph 6-5 on aggregate.

The Brazilian’s strike was Real Madrid’s first shot on the Manchester City goal during the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu

Erling Haaland had been the focus prior to the match but the Manchester City forward was well shackled by the Real defence

Man City dominated possession in the first leg according to SofaScore but Real Madrid ended the match with more shots 

Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be emboldened by how his side maintained possession against the European champions


Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Camavinga, Modric (Nacho 86), Kroos (Tchouameni 84), Valverde, Rodrygo (Asensio 81), Vinicius, Benzema.

Subs not used: Lunin, Lopez, Vallejo, Hazard, Odriozola, Vazquez, Ceballos, Mariano

Scorers: Vinicius 36

Booked: Kroos, Camavinga

Manager: Carlo Ancelotti

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Silva, Grealish, Haaland. 

Subs not used: Ortega, Carson, Phillips, Laporte, Alvarez, Gomez, Mahrez, Foden, Palmer, Lewis

Scorers: De Bruyne 67

Booked: Gundogan, Silva

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Referee: Artur Dias (Portugal)

Attendance: 63,485

Rodri, City’s midfield general, had spoken of the desire for revenge. Guardiola wanted all talk of revenge banished. ‘We’re not here for revenge, we’re here for an opportunity,’ he said. ‘What happened, happened in the past. It would be a huge mistake to think about that.’

In the absence of the injured Nathan Ake, Guardiola recalled Kyle Walker to play on the right side of the City defence to help to try to nullify the threat of Vinicius Junior. Nullifying Vinicius Junior, though, is about as easy as catching a bar of soap and the Brazil forward showed his intent in the opening minutes when a breath-taking exchange of passes with Karim Benzema freed him down the left.

That run came to nothing and it was City who forged the first chance when Bernardo Silva danced inside his marker and played a short pass to De Bruyne. His fizzing low shot was saved by Thibault Courtois, who flung himself down to his left to push it away.

City dominated possession and pressed for an opener. Haaland shot tamely at Courtois, Courtois pushed a shot from Rodri round the post, Grealish escaped down the left and chipped a cross to the back post where Haaland rose to meet it but could not direct it beyond the goalkeeper.

Madrid found it hard to retain the ball. Midway through the half, City kept it for so long, passing in and around their opponents, that the crowd grew exasperated and whistled their disapproval. As he stood on the touchline, that must have been music to the ears of Guardiola.

It was so effortless for City, it led to a moment of complacency. Rodri dawdled on the ball on the edge of his own area and Vinicius Junior stole it off him. He whipped in a low cross for Benzema but just as the France forward was poised to tap it in, Ruben Dias produced a superb sliding clearance to deny him.

Madrid seemed emboldened by City’s lapse. They began to play with more belief and nine minutes before half time, Eduardo Camavinga played a lovely 1-2 with Luka Modric on the edge of the Madrid area and burst forward into space.

He carried the ball and carried it and then laid it into the path of Vinicius Junior. Vinicius Junior took one touch and then unleashed a bullet of a shot from 25 yards that rose and rose and flew past Ederson and nearly burst the back of the net. It was a magnificent strike. 

Ederson produced two smart saves in the closing stages of the match to keep the tie level heading into the second leg

Manchester City will hope they hold the advantage in the tie with the teams meeting next Wednesday at the Etihad

It was impossible not to admire Carlo Ancelotti’s side for their game management, the way they had sat back and allowed City to dominate, the bravery they had shown soaking up pressure and the skill to punish City when they got the chance. ‘They are a team of killers who can smell blood,’ Rio Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

Haaland got a rare sniff of goal ten minutes into the second half. He ran on to a return pass and managed to get a shot away but it was blocked by a fine saving tackle from David Alaba. Alaba was congratulated by Rudiger as enthusiastically as if he had just scored. Rudiger was relishing his duel with Haaland.

But Madrid learned the hard way that City have more than one threat. Midway through the half, the home team lost possession in their own territory and when the ball was moved on to De Bruyne, he smashed it past Courtois from 25 yards. It was a strike every bit as majestic as Vinicius Junior’s.

Ederson reacted fast to keep out a downward back post header from Benzema ten minutes from time and then produced a stunning, flying save to keep out a rising drive from Aurelien Tchouameni and neither side could force a winner.

Re-live Mail Sport’s live coverage of the first leg clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City minute-by-minute HERE 

Source: Read Full Article