Manchester City
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Manchester City vs. Real Madrid score: Pep Guardiola's men win seven-goal Champions League thriller at Etihad

In what was an absolutely astonishing 90 minutes of attacking soccer, Manchester City defeated Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at the Etihad on Tuesday, 4-3. A wild match with what felt like countless chances, the three first-half goals were surpassed by four in the second half, with Los Blancos staying within striking distance ahead of next week's second leg in Madrid despite perhaps not deserving to.

City were clearly the better team with the better chances, and anybody who witness that spectacle of soccer has to feel surprised to see Real even with life entering the second leg. City won the xG battle, 2.37-1.48, but while the hosts were dominant with five more shots and nearly 20% more possession, it was the chances they missed that will be remembered. With a bit better finishing or a true striker (the heavily rumored coming signing of Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, for example), they really could have put five or six past the Spanish side. 

Going up 2-0 just 11 minutes in through Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus, it was Karim Benzema who pulled Real within one at 2-1 before Vinicius Jr. did to make it 3-2. Then Benzema did it again, pulling Real back within one late on with the final goal of the game via a penalty kick. 

Four different players scored for City, with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva joining the first two, but Pep Guardiola won't be overly thrilled with the result. Yes, a win is a win, but City were well on their way to a multi-goal victory multiple times in this match, with Real clawing back and leaving all to be decided at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With the result Manchester City will feel ... 

Frustrated. It almost feels like they drew, just because the one-goal advantage isn't what they feel like they deserved. They made the Real Madrid's defense look silly at times, and a flurry of back-post crosses late on looked sure to result in the fifth, but nothing came of them. They will remain the favorite in this tie, but what was set to be a comfortable night's sleep will now be one of twisting and turning, wondering what could have been.

With the result Real Madrid will feel ... 

Absolutely elated. They know they had no business keeping this close, but their big boys stepped up with Benzema and Vinicius Jr. each producing stellar goals. Now, the defense must improve, because if not, they'll be done. But they ended the 90 minutes with life in a match where they looked lifeless 11 minutes in.

Game-changing moment: Vinicius Jr.'s golazo

City were leading Real 3-1 in the 53rd minute when Phil Foden got his deserved goal, and it looked like the flood gates were about to open. But then, with Fernandinho marking him, Vinicius Jr. pulled off one of the solo goals of the season. A dummy nutmeg saw him through on goal at the halfway line, finishing superbly from a tight angle. Take a look:

That goal kept Real in it, gave them a bit more of belief in momentum and prevented a 4-1 score which could have been the death blow.

Man of the match: Kevin de Bruyne

From our James Benge:

Another showpiece tie has been bent to De Bruyne's will. From his perfectly timed dart to flick in Riyad Mahrez's cross, he was at his very best, showcasing the full repertoire of inch-perfect passes, dynamic runs and strength in duels.

And Benge is right. He was out of this world and far and away the best player on the pitch, but he knows some of those balls he delivered in should have been tucked away. Can he repeat this performance in the second leg?

Most selfish moment of the game: Riyad Mahrez' miss

With City in full control at 2-0, and with one goal likely putting Real away comfortably, Riyad Mahrez was sent through down the right. He had Phil Foden open on the left side of the goal, but he decided to do this ...

It's impossible not to wonder if that miss will haunt Manchester City.

Top display of skill: Foden's tasty touch

You don't need words to describe beauty. Just take a glance at Foden settling a ball like he has a magnet in his boot. 

Or was it?

Apologies in advance to our Micah Richards, who was caught on camera during the match with an incredible bit of skill. Eating a pasta dish while watching the game, here is how he reacted to de Bruyne's opener.

Incredible timing to keep that piece of penne pasta in his mouth, and you could argue it was more impressive than Foden. See, that loan move to Fiorentina was worth something!

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What a game! City just can't pull away as they win by 4-3

Pep Guardiola will have wanted a little more from that game but what a performance from both teams to provide entertainment from start to finish!

April 26, 2022, 8:55 PM

The game is stopped due to a young pitch invader

He makes a beeline to Kevin de Bruyne but is removed so that the last few minutes of stoppage time can be completed.

April 26, 2022, 8:52 PM

Benzema from the spot and it's 4-3 Manchester City

A critical hand ball in the box and City can't pull away from Real Madrid. A panenka in that moment, Benzema is a bad man!

April 26, 2022, 8:42 PM

Bernardo Silva my word! It's 4-2 Manchester City 

Good referreing as Kevin de Bruyne is fouled by Kroos. Time stood still while the advantage was played before Bernardo belted the ball into the net. 

April 26, 2022, 8:35 PM

Another change for Real Madrid as Rodrygo will exit the match

Camavinga enters which will see Valverde push up the pitch for a change of personnel. Now there is more flexibility in the Real Madrid midfield for the final 20 minutes.

April 26, 2022, 8:30 PM

66' Is the flurry of action settling down a little?

A whole ten minutes without a goal as both teams seem to be taking a breather. It's only a matter of time until more subs come in as the energy has been high in the fixture so far.

April 26, 2022, 8:26 PM

What a match

April 26, 2022, 8:22 PM

The good from Fernandinho

April 26, 2022, 8:17 PM

55' Blink and you'll miss a goal! It's Vini Jr. 3-2 Manchester City

Fernandinho gets beaten and Vini Jr. Is off to the races to pull a goal back immediately. 

April 26, 2022, 8:16 PM

52' City finally gets another and it's Foden! 3-1 Manchester City 

Fernandinho has been excellent since coming on, winning a challenge and putting in a perfect cross to Foden's head. Real Madrid are running out of time to wake up.

April 26, 2022, 8:13 PM

47' City didn't bring their finishing boots!

Mahrez is clean through and hits the post. Phil Foden goes for the follow up and it's cleared off the line as City have now missed numerous chances to put the match out of sight.

April 26, 2022, 8:08 PM

Here come the changes for Real Madrid

Alaba didn't cover himself in glory during the first half and he has been withdrawn for Nacho. Was he rushed back from injury or just a bad day at the office?

April 26, 2022, 8:05 PM

Fernandinho almost creates a big chance

After an interception in midfield he plays in Mahrez but no one could get onto the end of his cross to make something happen. We'll head to the half with City leading 2-1 but Pep Guardiola will have wanted this to be a larger advantage.

April 26, 2022, 7:49 PM

Finally, a few minutes to breathe

Five minutes until half and while Manchester City are winning the xG battle 1.10 to .28, Real Madrid are creating chances as they've rattled off five shots. After the quick opening, things have settled down into a more even match but tweaks are likely coming for both sides at the half.

April 26, 2022, 7:46 PM

How does he even hit this?

April 26, 2022, 7:39 PM

An early change for City as Stones is withdrawn for Fernandinho

Stones was a doubt heading into the match but it's unsure if he has been taken out due to injury or performance to begin the game. Guardiola will hope that Fernandinho tightens things up as Real Madrid gains confidence. 

April 26, 2022, 7:39 PM

32' And there it is! Benzema is unstoppable! 2-1 Manchester City 

Not sure if Benzema was playing golf or soccer with that finish but the bounce off of the ground leaves Ederson helpless. Will City regret their early misses? 

April 26, 2022, 7:36 PM

Vini Jr. again! He's causing issues early

He picks off Stones but Rodri cleans things up. But each time Real Madrid goes forward, City has a two on three going the other way. There's end-to-end stuff and there's what we're seeing in this game. Better passing and City could easily be ahead by four goals.

April 26, 2022, 7:32 PM

26' Saved by the flag and the post!

VIni Jr. showed why City must maintain focus. Dias almost played in an own goal but it clattered off the post before Vini Jr. was flagged offside. Mahrez wanted a goal to add to his assist going the other way but he couldn't finish the chance! 

April 26, 2022, 7:29 PM

23' Real Madrid are beginning to find their feet

Baby steps but Madrid are finally getting some possession going. It has been hard to find Benzema in the middle of the park but hold enough possession and the chances will come.

April 26, 2022, 7:26 PM

Conceding one early goal can be overcome but spotting City two is quite a challenge

Real Madrid are going to need to pull out something special to get back into the match. We've already noted how Manchester City hasn't conceded a goal in the knockout stages yet so expecting to score two is a tall task. If anyone can do it... it's Real Madrid though!

April 26, 2022, 7:22 PM

10' Oh no this could get out of hand quickly. Jesus scores and it's 2-0!

Real Madrid's defense might as well be statutes. Foden plays in de Bruyne who finds Jesus in the box. Following a bit of a lucky touch, the Brazilian finds an opening for a second goal and this could be a rout!

April 26, 2022, 7:15 PM

Bonkers goal. Absolutely bonkers!

April 26, 2022, 7:10 PM

What does Real Madrid do now?

It's tough going behind so quickly in a match but they have to stick to their game plan. de Bruyne scored the quickest goal ever in a Champions League semifinal only 95 seconds into the match but the good news is that there's plenty of time to level it up.

April 26, 2022, 7:08 PM

That was quick! 1-0 Manchester City less than two minutes in!

Less than two minutes into things Mahrez cuts through the Real Madrid defense to play an excellent ball for a diving header by de Bruyne!

April 26, 2022, 7:05 PM
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