Real Madrid was back from the dead as they savagely suppressed Manchester City’s hopes of lifting the Champions League title in a triumphant 3-1 win (6-5 on aggregate) on Wednesday evening at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Spanish giants snatched victory right under the nose of Manchester City in a thrilling UEFA Champions League second-leg semi-final. Real Madrid escaped the jaws of defeat as two last-minute goals rocketed Carlo Ancelotti’s side into the final of the tournament.
Pep Guardiola’s side eased a 4-3 win in the first leg of the semi-final. They similarly carried the victorious stature and headed into the second leg. After a not-so-impressive first half, Manchester City edged over Real Madrid in the second half of the game. Riyad Mahrez opened the goalscoring doors for the team in the 73rd minute. He waltzed the ball past Thibaut Courtois – giving Man City an upper hand.
However, in the closing minutes, the hosts put on a spell that turned the game in their favor. Karim Benzema’s assist pushed Rodrygo to tip the ball at the back of the net – twice before the game was sent into extra time. In the end, it was Benzema who won it for Los Blancos from the penalty kick – after being caught in the box by Ruben Dias.
Over the weekend, Madrid clinched their 35th league title. Rodrygo’s double and Benezma’s magic saw Real Madrid ease past Manchester City. This altogether calls up for a double celebration.
Meanwhile, the Premier League leaders – who were shy from advancing through to the final let lose of the opportunity. Pep Guardiola and his team definitely fell short of their tactics and weren’t able to improvise on their playmaking skills. Similarly, here are the talking points from the thrilling showdown.
Manchester City sought to be the better side during the first half. The unnecessary substitutions put on caused damage to the fabric of the game. Despite being impressive during the first leg of the semi-final, Pep Guardiola subbed off key players like Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian shone and stunned Los Blancos at the Ethihad Stadium last time. Next, Guardiola brought on Raheem Sterling in order to add weight to the attack. The Englishman with his awful display had no impact on the pitch and posed no threat up front. Moreover, the goalscorer of the night, Riyad Mahrez, was brought off for Fernandino.
Bringing in less-recovered players
Another error committed by Pep Guardiola was forcing in hardly recovered Kyle Walker on the pitch. Walker dealt with an injury blow during the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal of against Atletico Madrid. In spite of that, Guardiola bought him on the field for some action – regardless his trip to the Bernabeu was said to be a recovery to fitness. Just like Sterling, Kyle Walker wasn’t that effective in the match except at times when Vinicius Junior tried to break forth.
Other than the substitutions, City struggled through and through. Even with having a one-goal lead, they bottled the game to Real Madrid. Their less impressive performance, frequent dispossession, and fouls caused a hindrance making it difficult for them to make way past Madrid’s defense and put the ball at the back of the net. The Citizens as well as found it difficult to recover from Rodrygo’s first goal – which further bound them to be weak in their knees. However, as the night closed in, Man City saw themselves crumble and slip back slowly after embarrassing gameplay filled with loose tactics overall.