De Bruyne pops City to 1-1 at Real in first Champions League semifinal
“One day we will win the Champions League final,” Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola spoke before the game with cup holder Real Madrid. The chances of that happening this season are alive and well. The first semifinal duel with the Royal at the Bernabéu ended 1-1.
On Wednesday night, AC Milan and Internazionale will play the first match in the other semifinal.
Last year, Real and City also faced each other in the semifinals of the Champions League. Then the outward match was in Manchester and it was won 4-3 by the English. Thanks to two late goals by Rodrygo, Real forced an extension at home and Karim Benzema then gave Real a final place.
Although Real could briefly play under City’s pressure, at the Bernabéu it was Manchester City that punched the clock in the first half hour. Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri unloaded shots from distance and Erling Haaland tried with a shot and a header from closer range.
Real strikes as City throttle back
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made some crucial saves in the quarter-finals against Chelsea, did not let himself be passed over, however. When City took back some gas, Real struck. Left back Eduardo Camavinga set up the attack, served Vinícius Júnior and the Brazilian lashed out hard and beautifully.
For 22-year-old Vinícius Júnior, it was his sixth Champions League goal of the season. The left winger has been involved in 22 goals, 11 goals and 11 assists in his last 22 Champions League matches. Striker Benzema then went close to making it 2-0, but shot over via John Stones.
In the second half, Real gained more and more control and coach Carlo Ancelotti’s team got closer and closer to a victory. The City danger Haaland was kept well in check by the Real defense, culminating in a successful tackle by David Alaba.
Hard shot De Bruyne
City is more than Haaland, however, and this time it was De Bruyne’s star that shone. The Belgian shot City to 1-1 in the 67th minute. To this hard, low shot by his compatriot, Real goalkeeper Courtois had no answer. At the other end, in the 90th minute, Ederson did have an answer to a blazing strike from Real attacker Aurélien Tchouaméni.
Thus it remained 1-1 at the Bernabéu and City can look forward to the return game with the utmost confidence.