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Champions League: A legendary Manchester City – Real Madrid!

  The first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Real Madrid gave rise to a legendary match.  City won 4-3 wit...

 


While the 4-3 final is certainly frustrating for Manchester City, the Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid on Tuesday gave birth to a legendary match between two teams attacking headlong. Manchester City were poorly paid for their display full of audacity and attacking determination, but it was because they were caught in their own trap when the flow of the match escaped them. In the end, this meager advantage seems very flattering for Madrid who played more reaction but who can always count on the diabolical skill of their Vinicius Junior / Karim Benzema duo, which gives them hope for the return to Santiago Bernabeu. Totally absent for the first 20 minutes, Real found themselves trailing by two goals after 12 minutes of play, unheard of in its long history in the Champions League. From the 2nd minute, Riyad Mahrez wandered on his right wing to transplant in the center without being attacked and deposit the ball on the diving head of Kevin de Bruyne who stung the ball, despite the presence of Carvajal's foot a few millimeters away. from his front (1-0).

Less than ten minutes later, on a cross from the same de Bruyne, David Alaba missed his intervention and Gabriel Jesus only had to open his foot to double the lead (2-0, 11th). If Real then knew how to keep the ball a little, Mahrez preferring to play "personally" an opportunity in the 25th, making Pep Guaridola furious on his bench, and Phil Foden, came very close to making the break. The end of the first act was less hectic for the Spanish defense, but its torment resumed as soon as the locker room returned. In the 48th, Mahrez again appeared alone against Thibaut Courtois to see his inside left pushed back by the post on Phil Foden, whose instantaneous recovery was saved on the line by Carvajal. It was only a postponement, since 5 minutes later, Foden, at six meters, did not did not miss the offer of Fernandinho (3-1.53rd), who had replaced John Stones in the 36th minute at the right-back position where Joao Cancelo, suspended, and injured Kyle Walker were already missing. And what about the sublime strike from Bernardo Silva in the top corner which left Courtois flabbergasted (4-2, 74th) or Mahrez's slalom in the opposing defense, concluded with a strike that was a bit too crossed (76th)!

Still, the Sky Blues will only go with the smallest of advantages in Madrid. The fault - or the merit, it depends, still largely lies with a Benzema who honored his 600th game in the jersey of Real, becoming the first non-Spanish to reach this milestone. After creating Madrid's first thrills by placing the ball on the head of David Alaba (30th) for a header that was too uncrossed, like an alchemist, he transformed into gold, with a skilful recovery from the left, a cross from Ferland Mendy who was nothing of a gift (2-1, 33rd). He also scored the third goal for hope, from a Panenka who silenced the Etihad for a second of amazement, on a penalty eight minutes from the end (4-3, 82nd).

With this new double, he became the first Real player to exceed 40 goals in a season since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. Meanwhile, in the 55th it was his attacking partner Vinicius Jr who took advantage of an error by Fernandinho who threw himself and was trapped by the fake body of his compatriot, who went to deceive Ederson with a lot of composure (3-2, 55th). The whistle was almost greeted with frustration at not seeing the show go on. But the confrontation is still very undecided eight days before the return. Between the realism of the Merengues and the ease with which the Citizens found flaws in their rearguard, everything suggests an equally prolific second act.

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