Manchester City-Real Madrid: the Cityzens emerge victorious from a breathtaking match

“The principle of football is to score at least one goal more than the opponent, regardless of the number of goals conceded”. In a breathtaking match against Real Madrid, Manchester City made Johan Cruyff’s maxim his own. The Cityzens took a slim advantage with a view to qualifying on Tuesday, April 26, for the semi-final first leg of the Champions League, thanks to their 4-3 victory against Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium. Brilliant offensively, Pep Guardiola’s men also sinned defensively and left Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid alive, only a goal behind, before the second leg.

The spectators at the Etihad Stadium probably witnessed the most beautiful match of the year, between the Cityzens’ attacking combinations, a shower of magnificent goals and a Real Madrid that never let up. And it was not necessary to arrive late for the show, since Manchester City opened hostilities by scoring two goals in the first eleven minutes. On a laser cross from Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne played Dani Carvajal to open the scoring (2nd), before serving Gabriel Jesus to widen the gap (11th).

Already in difficulty in the quarter-final return against Chelsea (2-3), the Madrid defense, constantly taken in the back, quickly proved to be overwhelmed by the offensive accuracy, the deep grips and the Mancunian reversals. Back to the wall, who then thought the people of Madrid capable of reacting? On the ground, Karim Benzema sounded the revolt. Bringing his teammates together to re-motivate them after a nightmarish start to the match, the Frenchman revived his team by reducing the gap with a header, on a cross from Ferland Mendy, shortly after the half-hour mark (33rd).

Not satisfied, the Cityzens resumed their march forward after returning from the locker room, thanks to a goal from Phil Foden (53rd), but the Madrid mentality again took over and allowed Vinicius Jr to find the nets at the end of the match. ‘a solitary raid in the middle of passive Skyblues (55th). But in this completely crazy match, while City seemed to take the hit, Bernardo Silva planted the last Mancunian pawn, with a superb strike in the top corner (74th).

With another two-goal lead, Pep Guardiola’s men thought they would have a comfortable mattress before the return match. But once again, Real relied on their captain to stay alive. The inevitable Karim Benzema, for his 600th game in the jersey of Merengue, kept the White House afloat thanks to a brilliant panenka on penalty, his fourteenth goal in the competition this season (82nd).

As against Paris Saint-Germain, as against Chelsea, the Frenchman was decisive in allowing his team to come back to score and keep Real Madrid’s hopes of qualifying for the final, which has only one goal from delay before the return match, Wednesday, May 4, at Santiago-Bernabeu.

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