Stars shine as Real Madrid, Man City play to classy draw
Real Madrid drew 1-1 with Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, featuring two stunning goals.
Forward Vinicius Junior and midfielder Kevin de Bruyne scored one stunning goal each in each half of the tightly contested and high-quality match. Karim Benzema and Erling Haaland also had some notable chances but couldn’t convert them, so the two teams will start again from scratch at Etihad Stadium in a week’s time.
Manchester City played better in the first half, forcing goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to make four saves in the first 16 minutes. The toughest situation for the Belgian goalkeeper came from a long-range shot by Rodri that curled toward the post, but he managed to push it away.
Courtois’ reliability gave Real Madrid some confidence to push up and put pressure on City, making it difficult for the visitors to deploy their attack.
Courtois was the anchor of Real Madrid’s defense, while Vinicius Junior led the home team’s attack. In the 25th minute, the Brazilian forward stole the ball from Rodri’s nonchalant pass, then crossed the ball, but center-back Ruben Dias managed to clear it before it reached Karim Benzema. After this move, Vinicius urged the Bernabeu crowd to cheer more enthusiastically.
Vinicius also scored the equalizer with a stunning long-range shot in the 36th minute, but credit also goes to left-back Eduardo Camavinga. He exchanged passes with veteran midfielder Luka Modric at home, then made a run down the wing and passed it into the middle for Vinicius to run onto.
From a distance of about 25 meters, the Brazilian forward hit a powerful shot into the top corner that gave goalkeeper Ederson no chance to save. This was Vinicius’ 15th goal in the Champions League, almost half of which were scored in the knockout stage.
The management of the game by Portuguese referee Artur Dias did not sit well with Manchester City players, who believed that Real Madrid got away with many yellow card-worthy situations. The home team committed fouls to prevent counter-attacks, but only received their first yellow card in the added time of the first half.
After the break, the situation reversed as Man City dominated and created good chances. In the 56th minute, Ilkay Gundogan played a through ball to Haaland who broke down the left side of the penalty area, but his shot was blocked by David Alaba.
Gundogan did not play well in this match, losing the ball dangerously several times, but at a crucial moment, he made a sensible decision. In the 67th minute, the German midfielder received the ball in the penalty area, turned to shield the ball, and then passed it back to De Bruyne, who shot powerfully and burned it into Courtois’ net. This goal was no less beautiful than Vinicius’ opening goal.
In the second half, Real complained to the referee when they believed they should have been awarded a penalty for a handball by John Stones in the penalty area. Immediately after that, De Bruyne scored, making Real’s coaching staff even angrier. After an excessive reaction, coach Carlo Ancelotti received a yellow card. The Portuguese referee did not give Rodri a yellow card despite his three fouls to stop the opponent’s attack.
In the remaining minutes, Real played better, including a close-range header from Benzema and a long-range shot from Aurelien Tchouameni, but goalkeeper Ederson managed to block both.
Coach Pep Guardiola did not make any substitutions in this match, even though they only had four days off before their next match in the Premier League against Everton. Meanwhile, Real has no other goals besides the Champions League, so they can save their key players for the second leg.
Enjoy the second leg match and another live soccer game today on Live Football Schedule as well as update the latest football results and schedule!