Manchester City surrender as Real Madrid snatches a Champions League final berth – six talking points

Manchester City was stunned late by Real Madrid, who set up a Champions League final against Liverpool – a rematch of 2018 final.

Riyad Mahrez appeared to be the hero for Pep Guardiola’s team. His strike past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 73rd minute gave Manchester City. The lead on the night and an insurmountable two-goal aggregate advantage following a meek encounter.

However, the hosts – who had gone 90 minutes without a shot on target. Turned the tie on its head when Rodrygo Goes scored twice in the space of 84 seconds to force extra time before Karim Benzema’s penalty gave them the lead for the first time in the tie. Learn more.

Real Madrid won their 35th La Liga title over the weekend.

The celebrations in the Spanish capital lasted well into the evening as Los Blancos’ players and management savored the victory with their fans. Before, their focus immediately shifted to this game and their pursuit of a fifth Champions League title in nine seasons.

Manchester City edged Los Blancos in a seven-goal thriller in Manchester last week. Ensuring that the Premier League champions were slight favorites to progress to the final. Still, this battle in Madrid was a different story — with a first-half devoid of clear-cut goal-scoring possibilities.

Under pressure to score, the home side created the more significant goal threat but could not force Ederson into any saves. Their hesitancy was a reward as Mahrez scored with 17 minutes remaining.

That emerged to be the case until one of football’s most remarkable play sequences occurred. Real Madrid had gone 90 minutes without a shot on target. But they got one as the game entered injury time and scored. Rodrygo scored, and the crowd suddenly filled with real hope. They had another on target 84 seconds later. Rodrygo once more. His header beat Ederson and forced extra time with Manchester City reeling.

Real Madrid was granted a penalty five minutes into the additional time after Ruben Dias brought Benzema down in the box. With the Frenchman coolly sending Ederson the wrong way from the spot. Six talking topics from an incredible evening at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid insanity

Real Madrid does not die, regardless of how many nails drive into their coffin. Karim Benzema’s 17-minute hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain transformed the game in the Round of 16. Chelsea was 3-0 up and utterly dominant in the following Round in the Spanish capital, but Carlo Ancelotti’s team overcame all odds.

However, none could have predicted this. With a 1-0 deficit on the night and a 5-3 aggregate deficit, without a shot on target in the second leg with the clock ticking down to injury time. Substitute Jack Grealish squandered two beautiful chances to add gloss to the scoreline but was inches away on both occasions. Real Madrid had perished, Finished, Eliminated. But wait a minute, this is Real Madrid.

Rodrigo scored twice in less than a minute and a half. While it will take time for anybody to understand and analyze how it happened adequately. It may partly describe by Santiago Bernabeu’s mystique and Real Madrid’s great stores of self-belief. Let us not attempt to present it at the moment.

Casemiro alters Carlo’s plan.

Real Madrid lacked Casemiro in the center of their midfield in the first leg – the Brazilian who regularly protects their defensive line. He returned to action tonight, and it was unsurprising to see fewer midfield gaps and less end-to-end effort. As is sometimes the case in La Liga, Casemiro dodged two notable yellow card calls in the first half.

In the first game, Fede Valverde, who replaced Casemiro, was retained in the lineup, with Brazilian attacker Rodrygo Goes replaced. That meant Carlo Ancelotti began with four natural midfielders, a strong indication that they would take significantly fewer risks, maintain greater control, and keep the tie evenly poised until the final whistle.

As Ancelotti stated before the game on Tuesday: “The collective is critical; it is necessary to move in unison and compact. We’ve focused on enhancing our defensive capabilities, and I believe you’ll see the results tomorrow.”

The key to Walker’s running

Real Madrid got a vital player back, but Pep Guardiola’s team also benefited from the return of Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo. The city’s style of play relies heavily on full-backs, and their absence was noticeable throughout the first leg. With midfielders, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho finished the game in those positions.

In Manchester City, Vinicius Jnr had a field day against the aging Fernandinho, who appeared to be out of his depth in the position. Vinicius broke through directly against Fernandinho before blasting home Real Madrid’s second goal in the match. Walker’s recovery speed was essential against the Brazilian striker in the first half. Walker’s injury precipitated the city’s late collapse in the second half.

Ancelotti establishes a new benchmark.

Carlo Ancelotti had already accomplished an excellent coaching feat. Over the weekend, he became the first manager to win the top tier in each of Europe’s top five leagues — Spain, Germany, Italy, France, and England.

The second goal he set for himself was to become the first coach in Champions League history to reach five finals. In 2003, 2005, and 2007, he led Milan to the finals, and in 2014, he led Real Madrid to the final. Except for 2005, the Italian has led his team to victory on every occasion. Despite being underdogs in the tie, Ancelotti’s team had stayed alive for the second leg and then pulled off the most incredible comeback to complete his accomplishment.

Losing Madrid’s Stars

It’s no surprise that none of Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, or Isco are starting for Real Madrid in their most vital matches. Los Blancos also made significant investments in striker Jovic and playmaker Isco, the club’s record signings.

The four players are among football’s highest-paid players, but they were not just absent from the start here. But their absence is no longer newsworthy, and they didn’t view it as a possible impact substitute. Isco, Hazard, and Bale were not even on the bench.

Rodrygo Goes, a young Brazilian forward, Eduardo Camavinga, Dani Ceballos, a former Arsenal loanee, and Lucas Vazquez, a utility player, are among those who have recently gained more recognition at the club.

Bernabeu Fortress?

The Champions League and its knockout stages are synonymous with Real Madrid and the Santiago Bernabeu, but the club’s recent home record has been poor. Indeed, before tonight’s encounter, Los Blancos had lost more games in the stadium than they had won in its previous 11 games.

Of course, the team played at their Valdebebas reserve ground last season due to massive reconstruction work. Still, CSKA Moscow, Ajax, Manchester City (in 2020, Round of 16), Sheriff Tiraspol, and Chelsea have all won at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League, while Club Brugge and PSG have both drawn.

Despite uneven home results and performances, this club has charisma and this stadium that does not seem to recreate anywhere else, evidenced by tonight’s stunning comeback. You can check out OKBET for the latest updates in football.

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