• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Real Madrid dump Man City out of Champions League

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Real Madrid secured a spot in the Uefa Champions League semi-finals with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, setting up a showdown with Bayern Munich in the last four.

The tense quarter-final clash saw the two teams deadlocked at 3-3 after the first leg in Madrid, and the return leg in Manchester proved just as intense.

Despite a late goal from Kevin De Bruyne cancelling out an early strike from Rodrygo, neither team could find a winner in regulation time or extra time.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the penalty shootout, where Real Madrid emerged victorious after Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic failed to convert their spot-kicks, with Madrid’s goalkeeper Andriy Lunin emerging as the unlikely hero with crucial saves.

The result marked a reversal of fortunes for both teams, with Man City’s defence of their Champions League title coming to an end and Real Madrid avenging their defeat to Citizens in last year’s quarter-finals.

The match saw an early lead for Real Madrid, with Rodrygo capitalizing on an opportunity created by Vinicius Junior. Despite City’s efforts to mount a comeback, they struggled to find a breakthrough until De Bruyne’s late equalizer.

Real Madrid’s defensive resilience, combined with Lunin’s heroics in goal, proved decisive as they held off City’s relentless attacks to secure their place in the semi-finals.

The victory sets up an intriguing clash between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, adding another chapter to their storied rivalry in European competition.

“First of all, congratulations to Real Madrid,” said Guardiola in his post-match conference.

“We did everything, I don’t have any regrets. Always, as a manager, I try to create more and concede less. There were one, two or three transitions but that is normal. We played exceptionally well in all departments. Unfortunately, we could not win. That is how it is.

“Today, they defended deeper than the previous seasons. We created chances. But football is about scoring goals. From the penalty spot, they did it a bit better than us. Sometimes you win with penalties, sometimes not. The way we played, we should have done it before.”

Guardiola confirmed that the decision to substitute Haaland and De Bruyne, along with Manuel Akanji, came following requests from the players. “Erling and Kevin asked me to come out,” he revealed. “They could not continue. Same as Manu.”

The defeat ended City’s bid for another treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup – and Pep Guardiola’s men must recover from Real Madrid’s defeat to defend their FA Cup title when they play Chelsea in the semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, April 20.