Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Talking points from the Champions League semifinal classic

Let us look at the talking points from the nail-biting thriller that happened between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium:

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@ManCity
By Karthik Raman | Apr 27, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The first leg of the Champions League semifinal between Manchester City and Real Madrid was nothing short of a classic with both teams playing out a thriller at the Etihad Stadium. The final scoreline ended 4-3 in the favour of Pep Guardiola’s side. The goal-fest saw City race away with the match but the Spanish leaders kept brilliantly coming back into the contest. It all started with Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus putting the home side 2-0 up in no time before Karim Benzema reduced the deficit for the visitors. Then Phil Foden restored City’s 2-0 goal cushion but Vinicius Jr. quickly hit one back to make it 3-2. Eventually, a great goal by Bernardo Silva made it 4-2 before Benzema reduced the deficit from the penalty spot in the end.

Let us look at the talking points from the nail-biting thriller that happened between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium:

The tie is evenly poised

The high-octane first leg showed that there is not much to separate the two sides. Manchester City might have a narrow one-goal lead but they know it means little when they travel to a packed Santiago Bernabeu next week. It is not an easy place for visiting teams to play during crucial Champions League nights.

However, Guardiola’s side can take inspiration from Chelsea’s impressive second leg display at the Bernabeu in the quarterfinals. At one point in the second half, Thomas Tuchel’s side were leading 3-0 before Real scored one through Rodrygo in the 90 minutes. Then Benzema’s extra time strike helped them reach the semifinals. Even though Chelsea were knocked out, their inspiring display in Spain has shown that Madrid can be beaten at home with proper tactics.

READ MORE – Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Casemiro’s absence was a key factor

Karim Benzema is the man for big occasions

The Frenchman’s ability to keep stepping up in big moments has made him the player to watch this campaign. He has scored 41 goals from 41 appearances in all competitions. In Champions League alone, Benzema has 14 goals from just 10 matches. He has been Real Madrid’s biggest weapon in this year’s competition.

His two hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the last two rounds have played a significant role in his team reaching the last-four stage of the tournament. He carried that impressive form into the semifinals, scoring a brace against the Premier League leaders. If Real Madrid are to win the coveted European title then Benzema has to maintain this incredible form.

Manchester City maintain its quest for league, UCL double

The last team to win the Champions and the Premier League double in the same season was Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson was still their manager. The Red Devils achieved this rare feat in the 2007-08 season when United edged Chelsea to win both titles.

Liverpool came close to achieving this milestone in 2019 when they won the European trophy but lost the league title to City by just one point. Manchester City also came close to fulfilling it last year. They won the league but lost to Chelsea in the Champions League final. City’s triumph over Real Madrid on Wednesday night leaves them on track to achieve this feat this season.

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