Man City and Real Madrid meet in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday.
Advantage City. Maybe. The first leg was more edge-of-the-seat thriller than the all-out-action of last season’s semi-final, when Madrid staged a remarkable second-leg comeback at the Santiago Bernabéu to beat Pep Guardiola’s men 6-5 on aggregate. Crucially, perhaps, this time the second leg takes place at the City of Manchester Stadium, where the home side are on a 14-match unbeaten run with a combined score of 49-7.
By contrast, Madrid have only twice progressed on the nine previous occasions they failed to win the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie at home. Ominously for City, both were in Manchester, against United in 2000 and 2013. Karim Benzema was an unused substitute in 2013, and while he and Erling Haaland were uncharacteristically subdued in Madrid, the attacking talent in both sides could be unleashed this time.
What the coaches say
Pep Guardiola, Man City manager: “This is one of the most important games since I’ve been here, we cannot deny that. I’ve told the players to enjoy it. We’re incredibly lucky to be here. It’s in our hands, and we just need to win one game to reach the final.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach: “There are some things we can do better than the first leg. We are extremely motivated, we know that it will be difficult but hopefully this will help us to be at our best. We are close to achieving something very important, just like last season.”
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Rúben Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Gündoğan, Grealish; Haaland
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Rüdiger, Alaba; Modrić, Kroos, Camavinga; Valverde, Benzema, Vinícius Júnior
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