Manchester City would have loved to return home with a lead in their UEFA Champions League semifinal with Real Madrid. Still, after conceding the first goal to Vinicius Jr., the lads will be pleased to get back to Manchester level. There’s still everything to play for next week at the Etihad, but first Pep Guardiola’s bunch have a weekend trip to Everton to contend with. Sky Blue News is here to help you keep it all sorted.
Real Madrid 1-1 Man City: Champions League semi-final level as Kevin De Bruyne cancels out Vinicius Junior strike - Adam Bate - Sky Sports
City had dominated the early stages of the match only to concede from Madrid’s only shot of the first half, a stunning strike from Vinicius that seemed to unnerve Pep Guardiola’s side.
But midway through the second half, just when Madrid were pushing for their second goal, De Bruyne silenced the Bernabeu with a vicious hit of his own from distance.
There was no late sting in the tale as there had been for City in this stadium in last season’s semi-final and they will be optimistic about the prospect of completing the job at the Etihad Stadium next week.
Given that City contrived to surrender a two-goal lead going into the last minute of normal time in the second leg of their semi-final against Madrid last season, before succumbing to defeat in extra-time in the Bernabeu, this tie came with uncomfortable memories.
Manchester City will take that as a draw here in a hugely important match as the team was just in very focused form. City with Pep at the helm had a very tight and tense match that led to a 1-1. One that saw Rodrigo and Ederson shine.
The result means that City will have all to play for at home in the second leg as Madrid did last season. It worked out well for Pep given he made zero substitutions,
A match that had a similar feel to most City matches, yet resulted in some great play for the team as the intensity was there early. Including a KDB banger!
One where City was in control with possession and chances created. They played a really great match and this time kept the pressure on and could have had more goals.
City had so many players who played well and this seems to be a match that City held on to and while did not pursue, leads for a satisfying conclusion at home.
QMR: Manchester City Draw at Real Madrid, UCL Edition https://t.co/j1lyXlHTmA— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) May 9, 2023
Real Madrid tactic shows Man City player Carlo Ancelotti is most scared of - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News
Carlo Ancelotti downplayed the impact of Erling Haaland on this semi-final, telling Real Madrid to do what so many managers have tried and failed to manage this season - stop the service and stop him scoring. Maybe Ancelotti’s stance was because he had spotted a more influential Manchester City player to concentrate on, with Ilkay Gundogan targetted from the first minute after his two-goal show against Leeds at the weekend.
Gundogan played a little further forward than at the weekend, asked to turn on the ball and keep City on the front foot. In response, Germany teammates Antonio Rudiger and Toni Kroos both left Gundogan needing treatment after ‘challenges’ that saw Pep Guardiola furious.
With the noise over Gundogan’s future growing, especially with his performances underlining his importance to the Blues, it was telling that Real went to such great lengths to minimise his influence. Maybe it’s a good idea to keep hold of a player who worries a manager like Carlo Ancelotti so much?
Vinicius Junior struck the hosts ahead before the interval, before De Bruyne’s ferocious strike levelled the score after 67 minutes.
The Belgian, who was named Player of the Match at the Santiago Bernabeu, now has 11 knockout goals in the Champions League, the most by any City player in the history of the competition.
Grealish had nothing but praise for his teammate after the draw.
“In the end, Kev [De Bruyne] comes up with an absolute worldie. So buzzing for him.
“He’s chilled, man. That makes him who he is. He’s a laid back, calm guy. Nights like this are made for him.
“You can’t count how many times he’s scored important goals and got important assists.
“In these big games, it must have meant a lot for him. I’m obviously buzzing for him.
Thierry Henry pays tribute to Kevin de Bruyne after Man City star’s thunderbolt vs Real Madrid: ‘He’s on a different planet’ - James Hunsley - Goal
WHAT HAPPENED? City found themselves a goal down courtesy of a screamer of equal calibre from Vinicius Junior, and were at risk of going two behind midway through the second period. But De Bruyne latched on to Ilkay Gundogan’s assist from the edge of the box to lash home a thunderous effort and draw the scores level. Henry, who worked with the midfielder for over two years in his role as an assistant coach with the Belgium national team, lauded more than just his impeccable shooting ability.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I still think he’s the most important player in this team,” Henry told CBS Sports after the match. “I’ve come across a lot of players, played with a lot of players, saw a lot of players, played against some of the greatest. I think Kevin, his brain is the best I’ve ever seen, the way he sees the game. Because his brain is in some places, I don’t know what he thinks about sometimes, you look at him and it’s almost like he’s not with us because he’s that good.
“Sometimes it can be a problem because you’re not on his level, but I think he’s the most clever player I’ve seen in my life. It’s just second to none, the way he thinks. Because I saw him for six years on and off with Belgium, you love the man a bit more, because I saw stuff he did in training and in games. He’s unbelievable. His brain, I’m still thinking about some stuff I’ve seen, he’s on a different planet and it wasn’t his best game tonight, but he delivered.”
Manchester City ‘join the race to sign Italian wonderkid Cher Ndour from Benfica’... with Pep Guardiola’s side ‘set to rival Manchester United, PSG, Juventus and AC Milan’ for the midfielder this summer - Will Pickworth - MailOnline
Manchester City are reportedly set to rival Manchester United in the battle to sign Italian wonderkid Cher Ndour from Benfica.
The midfielder, 18, is one of the hottest prospects on the continent and has already attracted interest from Erik ten Hag’s side, PSG, Juventus and AC Milan ahead of a potential move this summer.
Having come through the youth ranks in his native Italy at Atalanta, Ndour moved onto Benfica at the age of 16 in 2020.
He has shone for Benfica’s B team - where he became the youngest player to ever play for them at the age of 16 years and 269 years - beating the previous record set by the club’s former star and now Chelsea loanee Joao Felix.
Ndour has also represented Italy at youth level up to the Under 20 side and made his first senior appearance for Benfica back in March.
And finally... Cry more.
Manchester City’s goal was heavily protested by Real Madrid, who felt that the goal should have been disallowed as the ball went out of play on the sideline in the build up.
“Los Blancos claim that the ball went out on the wing before De Bruyne’s goal,” said Pavel Fernandez on Radio MARCA’s ‘Marcador Europeo’ show
“VAR cannot review it, because the English team’s attacking phase started later, after Camavinga had lost the ball, so VAR cannot review it that far back.”
Kevin de Bruyne equalized for Manchester City 67 minutes into the Champions League semi-final first leg, after Vinicius Jr. put Real Madrid in the lead just before half time.
BREAKING Kevin De Bruyne goal against Real Madrid has been ruled out by VAR after 1000s of Madridista claim that the ball went out 2 minute before KDB smashed it from 30 yards! pic.twitter.com/KHrn9nuV8g— City Chief (@City_Chief) May 9, 2023
There you have it. It’s another jam-packed week for Man City, also stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest from the club. Come back here tomorrow for more from Sky Blue News.