Real Madrid, Man City Draw Thriller In Champions League Quarter-Final

On Tuesday, Real Madrid and Champions League champions Manchester City drew 3-3 in a nail-biting quarterfinal first leg.

Bernardo Silva put City ahead with a low free kick, but Ruben Dias’ own goal and Rodrygo Goes aided Madrid’s spectacular and quick recovery.

Manchester City’s quick-fire double in the second half from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol startled the 14-time winners, but Fede Valverde’s blistering volley earned them a draw.

The enthralling encounter was played under the shadow of Islamic State’s promise to target every quarter-final first leg, with strong security around the Santiago Bernabeu.

Spanish officials announced 2,000 police would be deployed, but the game was conducted without incident off the field. There was plenty under the closed stadium roof, creating a tremendous atmosphere.

Guardiola left out influential playmaker Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian announced his illness just before the game, instead starting Mateo Kovacic and Rodri Hernandez in midfield.

The former Barcelona coach also preferred Stefan Ortega in goal over the seasoned Ederson, who had just returned from a thigh ailment, while Gvardiol overcame a fitness worry to start.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti chose defensive midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni over Nacho Fernandez at centre-back, and the Frenchman’s aggressive challenge set up City’s opening goal.

Tchouameni badly hacked down Jack Grealish after 33 seconds and was booked, ensuring he will miss the second leg.

Silva continued to punish Madrid from the free kick, catching goalkeeper Andriy Lunin at his near post with a low effort that skidded home.

Lunin was slow to react, and although getting a touch on the ball, he was unable to keep it out.

Ancelotti, who is managing a record 200th Champions League match, stated his players lacked courage and personality when they were humiliated by City in last season’s semis, but they showed mental strength to immediately turn the game around.

This type of performance is typical of Madrid in the Champions League, and they scored two goals in two minutes, reminiscent of their incredible 2022 semi-final comeback against City, thanks to Rodrygo’s brace.

Dias deflected the first into his own net as he attempted to block Camavinga’s long-range piledriver, and Rodrygo scored the second when Vinicius Junior sent him in, assisted by another deflection off Manuel Akanji.

The Brazilian cut wide after a brilliant Madrid transition, aided by a Vinicius backheel, as Los Blancos showcased their counter-attacking prowess.

A breathless first 45 minutes was followed by much of the same in a Champions League “Clasico” match.

Rodri headed over for the visitors, then Vinicius blasted over before City staged their own comeback, extending their unbeaten streak to 26 matches.

Foden equalized for his team with a stunning strike from the edge of the box that arced into the top corner.

The England international is having his best goalscoring season, with this well placed strike his 22nd in all competitions.

With Antonio Rudiger shackling Erling Haaland, City took the lead five minutes later with a strike from an unlikely source.

Defender Gvardiol’s fierce bending effort from distance gave Lunin no chance and silenced the Bernabeu — but not for long.

Valverde’s stunning volley from Vinicius’ cross flew past Ortega to tie the game and left it perfectly poised for the second leg on April 17.

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