Manchester City's European dream is over after a painful 0-0 loss to Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu, with a goal from Gareth Bale. The Sky Blues fought hard and at one point had the chance to advance to Milan, but couldn't survive Madrid's pressure and will leave this edition of the Champions League in the semifinal.
Thanks to return of Yaya Touré, the Citizens lineup in a 4-1-4-1 with Sergio Agüero as the lone striker with the purpose of defending Madrid and running on the counter. City's counter-attack was nonexistent throughout the period, but despite another injury to Vincent Kompany early in the half, the defense was holding strong against Los Blancos, who had very few chances of scoring.
But in a lucky play, the hosts got their goal. Dani Carvajal played a beautiful through ball to Gareth Bale, whose attempted cross into the middle was deflected by Fernando off the post into the net for the opener. Madrid tried to bring pressure in search of a second goal that would clinch the tie, and if it wasn't for a good offside call from the linesman, Sergio Ramos could have scored. Apart from that, though, the hosts did nothing impressive, and Cristiano Ronaldo was never able to impact the game.
At halftime, a very good defensive performance by the Sky Blues, but because of one unlucky play, they had to find a way to attack in the final 45 minutes and try to get one or two vital away goals.
City looked to attack more in the initial minutes of the second half but opened space for Madrid to counter-attack, and the Blancos finally started to look like themselves and bring plenty of trouble to Joe Hart. Bale came awfully close to his second with a beautiful header into the crossbar, and Real's second goal seemed inevitable.
But as time went on, the goal never happened, and Manuel Pellegrini made offensive substitutions hoping that his players were able create scoring chances, but they always ran into Madrid's fantastic central defenders and were unable to make Keylor Navas work.
In the end, another unexciting game, and two lackluster performances from City to end their Champions League dream. Now the two Madrid giants clash in Milan. That should be fun.
Real Madrid: Navas | Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo | Kroos, Modric (Kovacic), Isco (James) | Bale, Jesé (Vázquez), Ronaldo
Goal: Bale (20')
Man City: Hart | Sagna, Kompany (Mangala), Otamendi, Clichy | Fernando, Fernandinho | Navas (Iheanacho), Touré (Sterling), De Bruyne | Agüero