Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Real Madrid held at home in six-goal thriller against Manchester City


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MADRID, April 10: Three goals in the first 14 minutes. Back-and-forth attacking. Stunning second-half strikes.
It was an instant classic between the newest Champions League rivals, with Real Madrid and Manchester City drawing 3-3 in a frantic first leg of the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“I imagine the fans enjoyed a game like this, with six goals,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.
“Both teams wanted to attack, doing it in different ways, a bit out of control.”
Federico Valverde scored a 79th-minute equalizer for Madrid.
After City had rallied with Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol scoring goals five minutes apart midway through the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Bernardo Silva had put City ahead two minutes into the match, but Madrid rallied with an own-goal by City defender Rúben Dias in the 12th and a score by forward Rodrygo in the 14th.
The second leg will be next Wednesday in Manchester.
It is the third consecutive encounter between the clubs in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Madrid eliminated City in the semifinals in 2022, while City got the best of Madrid at the same stage last year.
Both teams went on to win the title after eliminating their rivals.
The match at the Bernabeu went on as scheduled despite of a possible terror threat by the Islamic State, with no security incidents being immediately reported.
City struck early when Silva sneaked in a low free-kick shot that went past the wall and caught Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin off guard by the near post.
Madrid equalized after a shot from outside the area by Eduardo Camavinga deflected off Dias to wrong-foot City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.
Rodrygo put Madrid ahead after breaking through the City defense to get to a pass by Brazil teammate Vinícius Júnior in front of the area. Rodrygo’s shot deflected off a defender’s leg and slowly rolled past Ortega and into the net.
Foden evened the match again with a superb shot into the top corner in the 66th to make it 2-2, then five minutes later Gvardiol put the visitors ahead again with a powerful strike into the far corner.
Valverde’s equalizer came with a neat low volley from inside the area.
“We played exceptionally well in the second half until the final 10 or 12 minutes, but in the end we know that for Madrid the match is never over,” Guardiola said.
The result extended Madrid’s 28-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, as well as City’s 26-match unbeaten run across all tournaments.
Defending champion City is unbeaten in 22 straight games in the Champions League.
Guardiola had to cope with the last-minute absence of playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, the Belgian international who was ill and had to be dropped from the starting lineup. De Bruyne vomited after the team arrived at the Bernabeu, though he warmed up with the substitutes before the match and started on the bench.
Guardiola, who complained about the field conditions at the Bernabeu, was also without captain and first-choice right back Kyle Walker because of an injury, though Gvardiol, who had been listed as doubtful, started in the left-back position and ended up scoring a decisive goal.
Madrid had eight full days to prepare for the match as there were no Spanish league matches this weekend. City had only two full days to get ready after playing in the Premier League on Saturday.
Ancelotti made his record-extending 200th appearance as a coach in the Champions League.
He also is the coach with the most titles (four) and victories (114).
It was his 59th game as Madrid coach in the European competition.
Ancelotti made a change in attack, with Vinícius and Rodrygo switching sides to try to trouble the City defense and it worked in the second Madrid goal.
Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger did well containing Erling Haaland again, as he had done in the 1-1 draw in the first leg between the clubs last season. City went on to win 4-0 in the return game at home. (PTI)


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