Real Madrid vs Man City: Dream Semi-final
Man City called, and Real Madrid answered. And they answered emphatically with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Bernabeu. Both teams showcased their superior class and credentials as top contenders for the 2022/23 Champions League title.
From past connections…
Given the current circumstances, only a shocking turn of events would see Chelsea and Bayern reverse their fortunes in the upcoming second leg in a week’s time. If yesterday Pep Guardiola’s team showed their near-perfect winning machine, today Carlo Ancelotti’s squad proved their Champions League DNA that always sets them apart.
As a result, even before the second leg takes place, fans still hope for the dream rematch between Real and Man City in the prestigious stage of the Champions League semi-finals. This could be seen as an early final between the two top contenders for the coveted crown.
In the past, both teams have faced each other 8 times with wins and losses evenly split between them: 3 wins, 2 draws, and 3 losses. However, considering the overall results, the optimism leans towards Real.
The first time the two teams clashed was in the group stage of the 2012/13 season. Real won 3-2 in the first leg and drew 1-1 in the second leg. In the same Group D, Real secured a spot in the next round as the runners-up behind Dortmund, while Man City finished bottom of the group and did not even qualify for the Europa League.
In the 2015/16 season, the two teams met again in the semi-finals, and Real won with an aggregate score of 1-0 after 2 legs with an own goal by Fernando. Real went on to win the Champions League that season. In the 2019/20 season, Man City defeated Real in the round of 16 with wins of 2-1 in both legs, but they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Lyon in a season that was special due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
..and eagerly anticipate a high-stakes rematch.
In the 2021/22 season, Real staged a miraculous comeback with an aggregate score of 6-5 in the semi-finals and went on to win the championship. It is the intense rivalry between these two teams that make the rematch in this year’s semi-finals highly anticipated. It promises to be an epic showdown as Ancelotti faces off against Guardiola; Karim Benzema “duels” with Erling Haaland and De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva matches up with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Not many managers can outwit Pep on the sidelines, but Ancelotti is one of them. The Italian coach has won 3 times against his Spanish counterpart and only lost once. When Pep was in charge of Bayern and Ancelotti was at Real, they faced each other in the semi-finals of the 2013/14 Champions League, and Real came out on top in both legs.
In the previous season, Ancelotti won 1 and lost 1 against Pep. Will Pep be able to narrow the gap or will the debts keep piling up? Clearly, the tactical battle between two of the world’s best coaches is highly anticipated at the moment.
In the dream semifinal, we will witness a high-level showdown between two top strikers, Benzema and Haaland. While not placed in a perfect system like a machine at Man City, the French forward’s agility and flair shine in big matches, setting him apart in Real’s style of play.
Though not as dazzling as last season due to occasional injuries, Benzema is making a comeback and reaffirming his role as the leader of Real’s attack. Haaland is currently leading the Golden Boot race with 11 goals and has just contributed a goal to Man City’s 3-0 victory over Bayern, while Big Benz also scored to defeat Chelsea for Real.
In that summit encounter, fans are also anticipating the midfield battles and strategic moves from both teams’ top-class midfielders. For Real, it’s the combination of experience, talent, and understanding between Modric and Kroos that creates a formidable duo. On the other hand, Man City boasts the creative pair of De Bruyne and Silva.
Which duo will help their team break through the opponent’s defense if Real and Man City meet again in the Champions League semifinals this season?
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