What a game of football at the Etihad!
Manchester City ran out 4-3 winners against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. The Premier League giants got off to a rollicking start in front of their fans and took the lead as early as the second minute.
Riyad Mahrez drifted inside from the right flank before curling a cross into the penalty area, where Kevin De Bruyne met it after an excellent run. The Belgian planted his header beyond the reach of Thibaut Courtois in goal for Real Madrid to give Manchester City the lead.
Buoyed by the early opening goal, Pep Guardiola’s men doubled their advantage just nine minutes later. De Bruyne turned provider this time around and found Gabriel Jesus inside the penalty box with his pass. The Brazilian fired home from close range to punish Real Madrid.
Although the La Liga giants were firmly on the back foot inside the opening exchanges at the Etihad, they still managed to pull a goal back. Karim Benzema escaped Oleksandr Zinchenko and found the back of the net with an excellent left-footed strike in the 33rd minute. As such, Carlo Ancelotti and company ensured they trailed by just a solitary goal at the half-time interval.
Both teams were forced to make changes either side of half-time as John Stones and David Alaba were replaced by Fernandinho and Nacho respectively due to their injuries.
Manchester City and Real Madrid picked up from where they left off in the second half
The second-half produced two quickfire goals at the start. Phil Foden first found the back of the net with his head after an excellent cross from Fernandinho. The veteran Manchester City midfielder pressed high from right-back and won the ball before a neat exchange that allowed him with space to cross.
Soon, Fernandinho would fall victim to the same approach. Vinicius Jr made an absolute mockery of him with a clever turn at the halfway line before racing in on goal and tucking the ball away in the 55th minute, just two minutes after Manchester City scored.
The hosts added another goal in the 74th minute through Bernardo Silva, but there was a hint of controversy about it. Real Madrid had almost stopped playing anticipating the referee’s whistle for a foul on Zinchenko, but the advantage was played and Silva smashed his effort into the top corner.
Real Madrid were then handed a penalty after Aymeric Laporte was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box. Extraordinarily, Benzema produced an outrageous Panenka penalty to ensure his team were still alive in the contest.
In the wake of one of the most entertaining Champions League semi-final clashes, reactions poured in via Twitter. Here are some of the best tweets from Manchester City’s win over Real Madrid: