Manchester City and Real Madrid played an enthralling 1-1 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final clash at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday night.
The game was poised to be an intense battle between two of Europe’s heavyweights. It did not disappoint as both teams went toe-to-toe in a thrilling encounter.
Real Madrid drew first blood with a stunning goal from Brazilian sensation Vinicius Júnior in the 36th minute. The 22-year-old stunned Manchester City defenders with a shot to the top left, sending the ball out of goalkeeper Ederson’s reach, to give the hosts the lead.
Manchester City came out fighting in the second half. It was Kevin De Bruyne who pulled them level in the 67th minute with a stunning strike from outside the box to give his team the hope they needed.
Both teams had several chances to score a deciding goal, with both goalkeepers kept on their toes throughout the game. The match ended in a draw, setting up an intriguing second leg at the Etihad Stadium next week.
The draw means both teams are still in with a chance of reaching the final of Europe’s elite club competition.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who did not make a single substitution to his squad, expressed hopes of a comeback on home turf.
“When we were better they score. When they were better we score. Tight, tight game. The Bernabeu in the semi-final, sometimes we had good moments and sometimes it was difficult with the quality they have on the ball. Final next Wednesday at home with our people…We are traveling to Manchester and we will see what we can do better,” Guardiola said.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who has lifted the UCL trophy with the club five times, enters the second leg in good spirits, with hopes of clinching a win at Manchester.
“We merited a better result than this. But we’ll enter the second leg with the same confidence and optimism that we can win over there. Neither team comes away from this with a big advantage. The tie is open, about 50-50,” he said
His coach shares his sentiment. “The performance was good and we are happy. We have strong motivation for the next game,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
Having won the trophy 14 times, Real Madrid are used to winning the Champions League, but do not seem to be tired of the rain of glorious confetti with the trophy in their hands just yet. Their performance in the first leg proves so.
The Manchester City fans on the other hand can move inches closer to their dreams of a first Champions League title glory at the Istanbul Atatürk Olympic Stadium with a win next Wednesday.