Review and Player Ratings as City set up shootout in Manchester – Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will surely be happy with a 1-1 affair away to the reigning European champions after going a goal down in the first half; Manchester City did what they needed to do to square up the score before next week's expected thriller at the Etihad.
Guardiola's team was heavily rotated from the weekend's 2-1 win over Leeds. Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Rico Lewis, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, and Julian Alvarez were swapped for Ruben Dias, John Stones, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and Jack Grealish, with Manuel Akanji, Ederson, Ilkay Gundogan, Erling Haaland, and Kevin De Bruyne rounding out the starting 11.
Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid side was much the same after a 2-1 win over Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final. Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal, David Alaba, Antonio Rudiger, Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde, Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Karim Benzema, and Vinicius Jr looked to defend their home pitch and beat City.
City controlled the match from the start. A spattering of chances throughout the first 15 minutes had Madrid on their heels.
De Bruyne lofted a corner in the fifth minute, but Dias couldn't get enough on the ball, and eventually, a long-range Gundogan effort was blocked by Madrid.
In the eighth minute, Haaland laid a ball off to Bernardo, whose cut-back to the edge of the area found De Bruyne. The Belgian's shot was on target, but it was a relatively straightforward save for former Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois.
Madrid only showed any attacking threat through counterattacks and had been kept penned in by City for the first 30 minutes or so.
In the 23rd minute, a misplaced Rodri pass allowed Vinicius to drive into the box, one on one with Stones. The Brazilian winger picked out a beautiful pass that was destined for Benzema's right boot had Dias not made a glorious sliding stop – an amazing goal-saving intervention.
Madrid struck first through Vinicius.
Bernardo had trouble getting the ball out of his feet in the final third, and Camavinga made him pay. The French international picked Bernardo's pocket and drove at the City defence after a one-two around the corner with Modric. Camavinga laid the ball off to Vinicius, who dribbled inside and lashed an insane right-footed shot past Ederson from outside the box. 1-0 Madrid, 36th minute.
City badly needed half-time to regroup; misplaced passes were aplenty in the final ten minutes of the half. Madrid smelled blood and continued to try to find a second goal. City stood tall, and a block from Stones to deny a Vinicius cross ended the half. Half time, Madrid 1-0 City.
No changes were made by either side during the break, and Madrid continued to dominate proceedings into the second half.
City did get one attack during Madrid's dominance. Bernardo played in De Bruyne down the Madrid right-hand side; a shot from inside the area was well saved by Courtois, who was holding his wrist after saving the bolt from De Bruyne. The chance was ruled offsides though after the shot was taken.
Finally, a City breakthrough.
Rodri stepped up to win the ball back in the Madrid third, playing in Grealish. The ball eventually found the feet of Gundogan on the top of the box and, with a defender at his back, the German laid the ball off into the path of an on-rushing De Bruyne, who hit an absolute scorcher of a shot past Courtois from outside the box. 1-1 City, a deserved equaliser.
From there on out, City seemed content with a draw. The Blues settled in and attempted to soak up pressure and retain possession. Between two massive Ederson saves and a few key interventions from Rodri and company, City found themselves drawing with five minutes left.
A Madrid onslaught followed. A long-range effort from Madrid substitute Aurelien Tchouameni forced a great save out of Ederson. After three minutes of added time, the referee blew his whistle for full-time. 1-1.
City now have the opportunity to close the tie out and secure their place in the Champions League final at home in Manchester a week on Wednesday, knowing the threat Madrid pose after an even contest at the Bernabeu. There is no doubt Guardiola and his players will relish the opportunity to win the tie at the Etihad.
In the meantime, the Premier League champions will look to take a further step in securing their third league title in as many years when they face Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Man of the Match
Our Man of the Match was Ederson, who produced some fine saves that kept City from falling behind Madrid even further. Ederson, during the second half of the season, has been a different beast, and we feel like he was the best player for City tonight.
Ederson - 8
Walker - 6.5
Stones - 7
Dias - 7
Akanji - 6.5
Rodri - 6
Bernardo - 5
Gundogan - 5
De Bruyne - 7
Grealish - 7
Haaland - 6
Written by: @Ba5que
Follow our Twitter account for reliable, live updates on all the latest news and everything Manchester City in real time.