Reigning holders and Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid were held to an exciting 1-1 draw by visiting Premier League outfit Manchester City, in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
The game started off with frenetic pace, as the Cityzens dominated possession. Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne attempted to beat Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in his near post but his effort from 20-yards out was saved.
Minutes later, Rodri became the next City player to test Thibaut Courtois, but his strike was turned behind for a corner.
Despite Manchester City’s early dominance, it was Los Blancos who found the opener in the 36th minute through Brazilian star Vinicius Jr. Edouardo Camavinga made a mazy run from his half and teed up Vinicius Jr, who struck from distance to register his 15th career UEFA Champions League goal.
The half finished with Real Madrid holding the slender lead.
The second half began with the same pace just like the first, as Los Blancos settled into rhythm. Thibaut Courtois was called into action once more in the 52nd minute, this time by Kevin de Bruyne who saw his effort prevented from finding the back of the net.
The Belgian would not be denied for long, as he struck a rocket from just outside the area to bring the Cityzens level in the 67th minute.
Scores stayed the same until the end of regulation time, and there’s a lot to play for when both sides meet at the Etihad Stadium in the return leg, with a ticket to the Final up for grabs.
🔴 Live Blog:
FULL-TIME AT THE ESTADIO SANTIAGO BERNABEU: Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City
GOOOAAALLL!!! Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City (K. De Bruyne)
67′ MIN: Ilkay Gundogan tees up Kevin de Bruyne, whose belter beats Thibaut Courtois in goal.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT THE ESTADIO SANTIAGO BERNABEU: Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City
HALF-TIME AT THE ESTADIO SANTIAGO BERNABEU: Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City
GOOOAAALLL!!! Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City (V. Junior)
36′ MIN: Edouardo Camavinga embarks on a mazy run from deep in his half. He passes to Vinicius Jr whose rocket of a shot from distance flies straight into the net.
KICK-OFF AT THE ESTADIO SANTIAGO BERNABEU: Real Madrid 0-0 Manchester City
Tonight’s clash which will go down at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, will see both teams looking to get the advantage ahead of the second leg which takes place next week.
These two European behemoths met in identical circumstances at the semi-final stage last season, and while it was Los Blancos who came out on top, on their way to winning their 14th UCL crown.
Don Carlo Ancelotti’s side come into this fixture off the back a title-winning weekend, after overcoming Osasuna 2-1 to lift the 2022/2023 Copa del Rey crown, but face a City outfit who poses the biggest threat yet to their status as defending champions.
As for Manchester City, their season has reached a pivotal point and it has a ‘now or never’ feel in their never-ending quest for a maiden UCL title.
The Cityzens are in the best frame of mind though, having edged Leeds United 2-1 in their Premier League fixture last weekend to maintain their lead at the top of the table and with a free-scoring Erling Haaland lurking, Pep Guardiola’s men feel they have a chance to win the Holy Grail.
Focus will definitely center on managers Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. The Italian who has won the title four times, will be eyeing a fifth crown while his Spanish counterpart who despite winning the UCL twice as a manager, has interestingly seen the side he’s in charge of dumped out at the semi-finals in six of his last nine UCL semi-final conquests.