One of the more expected matchups in the Champions League 1st knockout stages is fought between European football behemoths Real Madrid and Manchester City.
City’s looming ban from European football only makes the campaign more crucial for Pep Guardiola’s team and Real Madrid will do everything to thwart the former Barcelona bosses plan. An all even game on Wednesday night turned into a frenzy when only some 12 minutes remained in the game, as Real Madrid’s confident 1-0 lead turned into turmoil and 1-2 defeat featuring Sergio Ramos being tossed out of the game.
The chances were few and far between as two star-studded teams entered the game rather conservatively. Big game between the big teams turned out to be a hard-fought battle, with smallest of margins making the difference. Manchester City’s keeper Ederson had to perform one world-class save in the first half, but that did it. In the other end, Real’s Thabault Courtois had two saves, while Casemiro cleared one chance from the goal-line. Nil-nil was a justified result entering the halftime.
The visitors took the initiative in the second half, although still extremely carefully. The home team were more interested in keeping the ball out of their defensive zone than creating chances, but still struck the first blow. City’s Rodrigo and Nicolas Otamendi fumbled the ball in their defensive zone and Junior Vinicius took advantage, setting up unmarked Isco in front of the goal. Isco slipped the ball past Ederson and took the home team 1-0 ahead on 60th minute. It took close to 20 minutes before the game totally burst to life.
One of the better players on the pitch on Wednesday, Kevin de Bruyne caused problems for the Real defense and sent a brilliant cross from between five defenders for Gabriel Jesus to flick in. Only five minutes later, on 83rd Manchester City’s effort pays dividends. Daniel Carvajal brought down Raheem Sterling with a reckless challenge and City was awarded a well-deserved penalty. De Bruyne stepped up and delivered the 1-2 goal. Real’s potential chase was cut short by Sergio Ramos’ red card after a cynical foul on surging Gabriel Jesus, who went down rather easy buy by contact.
Manchester City got more from their trip to Madrid than they ever could’ve hoped for, as 1-2 road victory makes a draw at home enough to secure the quarter-final spot. Real will also be without their long standing captain Sergio Ramos, which is a blow to already wobbly defense.