The first leg of this tie at the Etihad will live long in the memory. Fans across the world witnessed 7 goals scored and not a minute of snooze throughout. This tie was defined by brilliant attacking individual and team link-up performances as much as head scratching moments of “what were they doing” for defensively. No matter which side of the divide you are on (even the neutrals would agree), we can’t wait to see the reverse fixture next week. Here is our preview of the drama that lies await at the Santiago Bernabéu.


Here is a look at the numbers from the first leg of the tie:

Man City vs Real Madrid
16 SHOTS 11
613 PASSES 416
11 FOULS 5

The numbers from the first leg (4-3 in favour of Manchester City) may say otherwise but the general sentiment is that Manchester City didn’t quite finish the job in the first leg and that means the tie is still pretty much balanced. Since there are no away goals rule this season, Manchester City will be looking to get another win or at least manage a draw in the second leg. It is easier said than done.

Real Madrid vs Man City UCL Semi-Final: Match Preview

Playing the 13-time European Champions on their hallowed grounds in the Champions League is not easy. If any team can go into this tie with a chance of a win, it is definitely this Manchester City. They did exactly that in 2020; beating Los Blancos 2-1 on their turf before repeating the same score line and finishing off the job in the reverse fixture.

There are certainly similarities in the current scenario with Manchester City winning the first leg. However, there seems to be a general sense of hesitancy to call this tie now; even with Man City taking a one-goal lead into the second leg. The manner of Madrid’s fight back in the first leg (spear headed by Karim Benzema who is enjoying the best form of his career at the moment) made the winners look like losers.

One thing about Madrid this season is that they are never really dead. They have been there and done that; twice over already this season (against other much fancied sides- a star studded PSG and the defending champions Chelsea).

Real Madrid vs Man City UCL Semi-Final: Squad Preview

Some of the defensive lapses and weaknesses shown on both sides in the first leg could be attributed to missing key players in sensitive positions. Fernandinho will certainly not relish facing Vinicius again; especially after seeing replays of Madrid’s second goal on the night. Pep Guardiola will be hoping for the return of Kylie Walker (seriously in doubt since the last trip to the Spanish capital) or at least John Stones to add a bit of pace and strength to City’s defense on their suspect right flank.

Madrid will be hoping that a returning Casemiro will be able to cover the full backs and steady the sip in the middle of the park. His match management was sorely missed as Kevin De Bruyne and Bernado Silva ran Modric and Toni Kroos ragged at the Etihad. For all their experience, the 4-time champions league winners could not match the youthfulness and verve of the younger pair. Casemiro may add the necessary steel to mount a sturdy white wall against City’s blue deluge of quick penetrative passes.

Pep will also hope that his forwards are less profligate in Madrid. When it comes down to it, more goals will certainly be needed to kill of the unrelenting beast that is Real Madrid. Benzema will still be on the hunt for more goals and with his current form, there is no betting against him at home.

Real Madrid vs Man City UCL Semi-Final: Carlo vs Pep

There is certainly mutual respect between the two high achieving and generation defining coaches of the two teams. Both have coached Bayern Munich and both have been in this scenario before.

Pep famously notes the 2014 semi-final second leg defeat of his Bayern Munich team by Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid (4-0) as the biggest f**k up of his career. Carlo will be hoping to mastermind another masterclass to stop Guardiola’s run to the title.

However, the Spaniard would want to believe that his time has finally come. Their tactical nous will be put to the ultimate test this time around.

Real Madrid vs Man City UCL Semi-Final: Match Schedule

Real Madrid will host Manchester City meet in their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday 4 May at the Santiago Bernabéu. Kick off time is 8pm (West African Time).

Real Madrid vs Man City UCL Semi-Final: Our Prediction

Fireworks will abound. Both sides will also be buoyed by a sense of destiny. Manchester City will go all in believing that a chance at another Champions League final is here for the taking (especially with a one-goal lead and pedigree). Real Madrid will be extra motivated by their need for revenge for crashing out the same opponents in 2020.

The 2 teams are not known to play it safe. With Manchester City’s show of force from the first leg, they have shown they have enough drive and power to put Madrid to the sword. Madrid will never go down without a fight. However, another comeback may be one too many for Los Blancos this time around.

Carlo Ancelotti’s ageing team may not be able to match the sustained intensity of a well drilled Manchester City side marshalled by one of the best tacticians of modern football. Manchester City will go through to a second champions league final in as many years. We simply cannot bet against them taking the grand prize this time around.

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