FULL-TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 REAL MADRID
Manchester City has taken a giant step towards European glory by vanquishing the record 13-time winner Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane's team looked wobbly from the start and was hesitant going forward. The absence of skipper Sergio Ramos clearly affected its defence. Two major defensive mistakes from Raphael Varane resulted in goals which should've been more as visitor gave away possession quite often in dangerous areas. Kevin De Bruyne was the best player for Manchester City while Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan all hit top gear, despite struggling to finish off good chances. Pep Guardiola's side now travels to Lisbon, Portugal for the Champions League mini tournament where it will face Lyon in the quarterfinals.
90+4' De Bruyne tries to cross in from the left side but slips and slides over the sound mike on the sidelines. Thankfully the Belgian has not hurt himself. Seconds later the referee blows his whistle bringing the game to an end.
90+2' De Bruyne turns Militao inside out but overhits his pass towards Fernandinho on the right wing.
90+1' The fourth official announces four minutes of added time as Fernandinho combines with David Silva to break down Real Madrid's attack through the centre.
89' Guardiola shores up his defence in the final moments as he sends in Nicolas Otamendi to replace Rodri.
87' Laporte and De Bruyne combine in the defensive third to thwart Jovic's run into the box. Sergio Ramos is up on his feet as he tries to rally his side from the stands. It might be too late for Los Blancos now.
85' De Bruyne wins a free kick in a dangerous position after Kroos clips the Belgian just outside the box. David Silva takes the set piece which grazes over the crossbar.
83' It seems like a desperate move from Zidane as he has used Jovic sparingly all season but is left with no chance as Hazard failed to impress in this match.
82' Walker makes a crucial sliding tackle to break a Real Madrid counter attack as Zidane prepares for a triple change with Luka Jovic, Lucas Vazquez and Fede Valverde.
80' The referee is forced to reach for his pocket for the first time this evening as Modric clips De Bruyne. Guardiola makes his second change as he sends in club legend David Silva in for Sterling.
77' Real's midfield comes to life with a good passing move. Modric finds Casemiro on the right side who passes Kroos who crosses in for Benzema at the far post. Fernandinho reads the danger and heads it clear.
74' Close! Real is shooting itself in the foot here. Another sloppy back pass from Carvajal is cut out by Jesus who does not do enough to punish the mistake.
71' End-to-end stuff. Luka Modric pops up inside the box and unleashes a thunderous drive from close range which Ederson manages to keep out. City immediately counter as Bernardo Silva is presented with a open chance to put the game to bed, but the Portuguese hits it straight at Courtois.
68' GOAL! A double howler from Varane and Jesus finishes off brilliantly. The French centre-back misses to head away a long ball from behind. He manages to get a head to it on the bounce but does not spot Jesus running from behind who lobs the ball over Courtois into the net.
68' Guardiola makes his first change of the evening as takes off Phil Foden to send in Bernardo Silva.
66' SAVE! Another chance goes begging for City. Jesus is put through to the goal by Sterling, but the Braziian delays his shot by a second which allows Courtois close in on him and palm the shot over the bar.
65' SAVE! The change has clearly sparked a changed in Real's momentum. Asensio shows brilliant vision to find Benzema waiting wide on the left wing. City's defence goes into panic mode as Ederson adjusts his position to collect Benzema's stinging drive.
63' Given away! This time its a City player who coughs up possession. Kroos catches Rodri blindsided and steals the ball away. The German sets up Benzema through the goal but Ederson makes a good save.
62' Substitution comes from the visiting side as Zidane brings on Asensio for Rodrygo who has been quiet barring the assist for Benzema's equaliser.
60' Pep Guardiola prepares for a double change with David Silva and Bernardo Silva warming up on the sidelines. The Catalan might not call it in yet though.
57' Close! De Bruyne charges through the centre and sends Militao the wrong way. Carvajal makes a vital block with a full stretch on his right leg. Zidane's side has not looked this vulnerable since its last league match.
55' BLOCK! What an opportunity. Casemiro plays a blind pass to Foden in the centre who plays it to Gundogan who has the goal at his mercy but for some reason decides to pass it to Sterling who looked completely unprepared for it. Courtois seizes the opportunity to take the ball off Sterling's feet.
53' The visiting is having a spell of possession after being harried by City in the beginning of the second period. Kroos tries to shoot from outside the box but Fernandinho blocks it.
51' Real pour forward as Carvajal curls a outfoot cross for Benzema but Fernandinho does well to head it out. If the scores remain locked, it will be City that will grow through on aggregate.
49' Varane sends a long ball for Ferland Mendy to chase on the left wing but he is stopped by Walker in his tracks.
47' Shot! Straight away Sterling is in the thick of things as he skips past the offside trap to latch onto De Bruyne's through ball but miscues his shot which gets fingertips of Courtois before going away for a corner.
46' SECOND HALF BEGINS! City begins the second half with urgency as Cancelo cuts in from the left and pulls the trigger as Carvajal scrambles to clear the danger.
HALF-TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 1-1 REAL MADRID (AGGREGATE 3-2)
45+1' Cheeky! From a corner, De Bruyne stands notices Courtois coming off his line and curls the ball into the center of the goal jolting his compatriot back to his position.
44' Shot! Breathtaking stuff from both teams. City counters at great speed as De Bruyne sets up Foden which is saved by Courtois. Real immediately counter as Hazard bulldozes through the left side to but Benzema through. The Frenchman pulls the trigger but his shot is tame and Ederson makes a routine save.
42' MISS! Courtois of all players, loses possession outside box as he hits it straight at Foden who creates space in the centre and shoots. However, the youngster's shot goes wide off the near post.
40' The contest is nicely heating up. De Bruyne sizes up three Real Madrid defenders as he tries to go at the goal but trips over after coming in contact from Carvajal. The midfielder is annoyed but referee Felix Brych waves away his protests.
38' Sterling is let go by the referee after he is involved in a scuffle with Ferland Mendy on the edge of the box.
36' SAVE! Cancelo dribbles past two players on the left flank and drills a low shot into the crowd of pink shirts as Courtois is forced into a save.
33' Hazard brings down a long ball from the back and tries to dribble past Walker, but the linesman had his flag up for offside.
30' De Bruyne has been its brilliant best so far. His trickery has caused Real all the problems in the final third. Casemiro is forced into a desperate block by the Belgian.
28' GOAL REAL! Rodrygo suddenly comes to life as does brilliantly to evade Cancelo and lifts the ball over the defence for Benzema to head home from close range.
25' The battles in the Real's final third have shifted to the centre as Real is slowly finds its feet in the game. However, the presence of Fernandinho has helped City overcrowd the midfield.
22' SAVE! Real Madrid takes the corner short as Hazard cuts in from the left and skids a dangerous shot at the near bottom corner but Ederson is upto the task.
21' SHOT! Hazard takes the ball on the right and goes on a mazy run to tee up Benzema who stings Ederson's palms with a superb shot.
20' Brilliant block by Casemiro! Sterling dances past three Real defenders and is in one-on-one with the keeper but Casemiro times his slide to perfection to the take the ball away.
18' Sergio Ramos looks on uncomfortably from the stands. Carvajal tries to go for a cross to Hazard but Ederson judges it well to collect the ball.
16' Close! De Bruyne and Gundogan exchange passes on the left side and put Sterling in sights of the goal. The winger unleashes a venomous strike from the outside the box which grazes the crossbar.
13' Almost another goal! Real's defence is all over the place. Militao wastes too much time on the ball as Sterling jumps at the opportunity. The Englishman almost gets the ball but the referee's whistle came to Madrid's rescue.
11' Real Madrid is looking extremely uncomfortable at the back as De Bruyne finds Foden on the left with a superb throughball who cuts past Mendy and shoots. Courtois saves but the spill over falls to Gundogan whose shot is blocked by Militao.
9' GOAL! That was an absolute howler from Varane. The Frenchman does not notice Gabriel Jesus run in from behind on the edge of the box as the Brazilian sets up Sterling to simply tap in into the back of the net.
7' City wins the first corner of the match after De Bruyne lets one fly from outside the box which takes a deflection off Militao. The Belgian takes the corner, Fernandinho jumps high to meet the ball but is unable to muster a shot at the goal.
5' First signs of aggression from Madrid. Modric wins the ball in the centre and spreads it wide for Carvajal to make a rund down the flank and find Benzema in the centre, but the striker is cut out by Laporte.
3' City wins a throw-in as De Bruyne dinks a ball towards the left side which Jesus is unable to get hold.
1' Off we go! Real Madrid begins the proceedings with a slow build up from the back, almost deliberately inviting City to press high up the pitch.
As the players get ready in the tunnel, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who is suspended for the tie, wishes his teammates luck and walks to the stands alongside Marcelo, who is also out of the tie due to injury.
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Foden, Sterling, Jesus
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Militao, F. Mendy; Kross, Modric, Casemiro; Hazard, Benzema, Rodrygo
Team News: Both teams will miss key players in defence. Man City left back Benjamin Mendy is suspended for the match, so is Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos while left back Marcelo is doubtful due to a injury. Sergio Aguero is another major absentee for the tie while Real's Mariano Diaz is also out due to an injury.
Form Guide: Man City: WWWWW; Real Madrid: WWWWD
Here is the match preview:
Manchester City take a 2-1 lead into its Champions League last 16 match against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Friday but manager Pep Guardiola needs no reminders of how quickly games can turn in Europe's elite competition.
In last year's quarterfinals City went out on away goals to Tottenham Hotspur after looking in command when 4-2 up in the second leg.
The previous year, City was blitzed by three Liverpool goals inside 19 first-half minutes as it fell to a 5-1 aggregate defeat.
Guardiola's first campaign with City in the Champions League ended in the last 16 when it threw away a 5-3 first-leg advantage over Monaco with a 3-1 defeat in the principality.
In each of those games there were periods when City lost its grip on the game, its possession football and attacking creativity undone by sloppy defending and a loss of focus.
“This competition punishes you a lot,” Guardiola told a news conference on Thursday.
“We know it, we have spoken about that the last years and we know it. If we want to make a step forward as a team to be close to winning this competition we have to be better in this area,” he said.
Much has changed since the first-leg against Real on February 26, when City triumphed thanks to late goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne (penalty).
Zinedine Zidane's side came back after the lockdown to clinch the Spanish league title with a run of 10 straight wins and it has had time to recover after drawing its final game of the season at Leganes on July 19.
Guardiola was giving little away but hinted his side is unlikely to adopt a cautious approach to defending its lead.
“We want to impose our own style, whether we are defending or playing on the counter or Madrid are countering. We want to take the game to certain areas of the field where we can hurt Madrid and show the qualities of our players”.
Another chance for Hazard
A lesser Madrid might have been looking to Hazard for inspiration as it tries to shock Guardiola's side and reach the quarterfinals.
“We know we have to go there and win,” said Zinedine Zidane after the first leg.
Back in England, where he forged his reputation as one of the world's most lethal attackers, and up against arguably the favourites to win the tournament, the stage is set again for Hazard to rescue what has been a nightmare opening year in Spain.
There is still time, but Hazard's Madrid career so far has been a series of setbacks and comebacks, with only glimpses in between of those mazey runs, surges of acceleration or goals. In 21 appearances, Hazard has scored only once this season.
He may not be fully fit on Friday given the 11 games since La Liga resumed saw Hazard start some games, come off early in others and miss a handful altogether.
He was absent from the pictures published by the club on Wednesday of the morning's training session at Valdebebas.
Zidane has led the transformation of this team and he maintains complete faith, at least in public, that Hazard will come good at Madrid eventually. For now at least, it is more hope than expectation.
Champions League live streaming of Man City vs Real Madrid will begin at 12.30 am (IST) ,Saturday on Sony LIV app and Ten Sports network .
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