The UEFA Champions League returns in a quick-fire pattern for the second-legged fixtures of the semi-final after a busy weekend across the elite leagues of Europe.
This week would see the final(set to take place on June 10 at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey)clearly spelt out as the penultimate elimination(of two teams) takes place.
It’s been a long road coming for all four sides and while the teams putting on a remake from last year’s semis pick up from where they left off last week in Spain, two Italian brothers contend for what happens to be the first final for either of them in at least the past thirteen years.
Manchester City host the fourteen time Champions, Real Madrid at the Etihad after seeing out a draw against Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabeu. Inter and AC have another go at each other, a sequel at the San Siro to the 2-0 scoreline recorded at the derby on May 11.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Bayern Munich vs PSG was undoubtedly our big pick for the last-16 stage, The Bavarians against Manchester City was the tie to go with in the quarter-finals, Los Blancos pitted against the Citizens definitely has all the weight for the semis. Both sides locked horns at the Santiago Bernabeu last time out in the Champions League but were without a winner at the end of ninety. Vinicius Jr scored a confident goal six minutes past the half-hour mark to put Carlos Ancelotti’s side in front but Manchester City found the away goal and ultimately the draw thanks to Kevin De Bruyne’s magical strike in the 67th minute of play.
Quintessential Guardiola football, City dominated the possession in the early stages of the game, taking up more than 70 percent as well as registering a good number of shots on target that could well have been goals if not for Thibaut Courtois in goal. Rodri, De Bruyne and Haaland all had chances to go in front for the visitors, the Belgian goalie stepping up to the rescue at each point.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid key stats
- Manchester City are unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. On the three occasions they’ve made the last four, they have won twice(vs PSG in 2021 and Real Madrid in 2022) and drawn once(Real Madrid in 2016).
- Manchester City’s unbeaten record in this season’s Champions League still stands to date. They remain undefeated in eleven fixtures, with six wins and five draws.
- The Citizens are on a 22-game unbeaten record, having last conceded a loss to Tottenham in February.
- Madrid have gotten eliminated only once at the semi-final stage in the past five times they’ve made it through to the last four. Los Blancos have gone on to win the competition in those four seasons they made the finals.
- Carlos Ancelotti has been involved in eight Champions League semi-final ties, the eighth being against City this season. He has recorded only one overall defeat in the seven concluded so far, a 1-0 defeat on aggregate to Barcelona in 2006.
- Guardiola and Carlos Ancelotti have come up against each other four times in history over two Champions League semi-final ties(Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich 2014, Real Madrid vs Manchester City 2022). Ancelotti won both doubleheaders.
Past five matches and form:
(A) 3-0 Everton (14-05-2023)
(A) 1-1 Real Madrid (09-05-2023)
(H) 2-1 Leeds United (06-05-2023)
(H) 3-0 West Ham (03-05-2023)
(A) 2-1 Fulham (30-04-2023)
(H) 1-0 Getafe (13-05-2023)
(H) 1-1 Manchester City (09-05-2023)
(H) 2-1 Osasuna (06-05-2023)
(A) 0-2 Real Sociedad (02-05-2023)
(H) 5-2 UD Almeria (29-04-2023)
Manchester City vs Real Madrid H2H:
Total Games played: 9
Manchester City: 3 wins
Real Madrid: 3 wins
Games drawn: 3
Past five encounters:
Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid
Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City
Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City
Manchester City: 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss
Real Madrid: 1 win, 1 draw, three losses
Manchester City vs Real Madrid Injuries and suspensions
Missed the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Couldn’t make the trip to Spain. The Dutch right-back continues to nurse the calf injury he picked up in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Leeds United earlier this month.
Risk of suspension:
Carlos Ancelotti(Real Madrid):
The legendary manager will need to keep his cool in England after being shown a yellow card by referee Artur Dias in Spain. The Italian got a warning when he tried to protest against the opposing team’s equaliser, arguing that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up to the goal. A repeat of this incidence in England would mean that the coach gets temporarily relieved of his managerial duties in the final in Turkey on June 10 if Los Blancos go through.
Eduardo Camavinga(Real Madrid):
Received a yellow card for a challenge on Rodri. Must be cautious at the Etihad to avoid getting into the referee’s book.
IIkay Gundogan(Manchester City):
Has been in such fantastic form, scoring back-to-back braces in the Premier League against both Leeds United and Everton. Picked up a yellow card for a foul on Dani Carvajal. May have to pick up a more attacking position instead of sitting deep in defence to reduce tackles and the chance of being booked.
Bernardo Silva(Manchester City):
Carded for a challenge on Vinicius Jr in the first leg and would need to be more careful at the Etihad to avoid missing the final.
Toni Kroos(Real Madrid):
Received a yellow card for a foul on IIkay Gundogan just at the end of the first-half and would need to be cautious in England.
As always, Haaland would be expected to lead the charge for City at the Etihad where he’s scored 35 of his 52 goals this season so far. The 22-year old averages a goal in approximately every 55 minutes of Champions League football this season, the highest minute per goal and ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah who averaged about 78 minutes per goal in eight games played. The forward is estimated to take 4.04 shots every 90 minutes in Champions League football this season with a total of 30 shots, 22 on target and a shot accuracy of 73.33 percent. Provides the largest portion of Guardiola’s firepower for City.
Kevin De Bruyne:
Scored that all important equaliser in Madrid that brought City back into the tie. We’ve seen just how important the Belgian midfielder can be for Guardiola’s side all season, in feeding Erling Haaland and the frontline whilst also being a danger and threat in the final third himself. He’s promising from distance whenever he takes the chance to strike.
On Ancelotti’s travel to Etihad to take on City, a go at possibly ousting the heavy season favourites, the Italian manager would very much be needing the blistering runs, defence splitting, shot rocketing services of this youngster.
After Los Blancos had conceded a 4-3 loss from the first leg in England, last year, it was the duo of Karim Benzema and Rodrygo who reinstated the club, putting them in front through three late goals after Riyadh Mahrez had scored an opener. This season, it’s Vinicius who has been the saving grace for the fourteen time Champions especially in Europe. Two quick fire goals from the Brazilian levelled things up at Anfield three months ago after Madrid had gone 2-0 down in the early stages, the forward scored a confidence-bolstering opener on home ground to even things up for his team after Madrid had endured been outplayed in ball possession and had taken a couple of shots.
4-2-3-1: Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Stones, Walker, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish, Haaland.
Over the weekend, Guardiola reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation, giving De Bruyne, Grealish, Bernardo Silva and John Stones some time off the pitch. The four should take up their respective places in the starting line-up against Madrid.
Carlos Ancelotti heavily rotated his squad from the 1-1 draw against City in the slender 1-0 victory over Getafe on Saturday. Only the trio of Thibaut Courtois, Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde retained their positions in the starting line-up. Eder Militao and Nacho started in place of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba respectively so we should see the latter duo return to guard Madrid’s area on the return leg.
4-3-3: Courtois, Camavinga, Alaba, Rudiger, Carvajal, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Benzema.