Champion League

European Giants Play Out A UCL Classic

Record 14-time European champions Real Madrid welcomed UEFA Champions League holders Manchester City to the iconic Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the first leg of their quarter-final clash on Tuesday night (April 9). Everyone backed the two European heavyweights to give it their all, but no one expected such a marvelous treat for neutral fans. Both teams lacked control throughout the game and scored three apiece in the first leg, setting up an all-to-play-for return leg in Manchester in eight days’ time.

Real Madrid & Manchester City Combine For Four World-Class Goals

Both Real Madrid and Manchester City went for the jugular from the get-go. The Whites created the first chance of the game through Vinicius Jr. only to go a goal behind the following minute, courtesy of a majestic Bernardo Silva free-kick. About 25 yards away from goal, the Portuguese dispatched a low inswinging free-kick, taking it around Vinicius Jr. in the lone-man wall and into the bottom left corner. Andriy Lunin got a hand to the ball but was caught out by the sheer audacity of Silva’s attempt.

Real Madrid responded swiftly, with Eduardo Camavinga benefitting from a massive deflection from Ruben Dias to find the back of the net from outside the box. In the 14th minute, two minutes after Dias’ own goal, Rodrygo led a counter-attack and rolled the ball past City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega and into the back of the net. Real Madrid created quite a few opportunities to add to their 2-1 lead in the first half but their finishing let them down.

Manchester City restored parity through the brilliant Phil Foden in the 66th minute, with the Englishman finding the top-left corner of Madrid’s goal with a perfectly struck curler from outside the box. Five minutes later, Josko Gvardiol scored his first career goal for City, whipping his shot from the edge of the area to find the inside of the right side-netting, making it 3-2 for City.

Just when it looked like City would return with a one-goal advantage, Federico Valverde struck for Real Madrid, scoring from a world-class volley. In the 79th minute, Vinicius Jr. found the Uruguayan with a lobbed cross at the far side, inviting him to dispatch a first-time effort. The midfielder caught the ball superbly and thumped it into the bottom-left corner.

Vinicius Jr. & Bernardo Silva Stood Out In UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg

Real Madrid No. 7 Vinicius Jr. did not find the back of the net, but he did everything else to the best of his ability. He ran at defenders, dropped back to defend, linked up superbly with teammates, and brilliantly assisted Rodrygo (through ball) and Valverde’s (deep cross) goals. Against City, Vinicius Jr. created four chances, completed 20 passes, attempted six dribbles, made four recoveries, and won four ground duels.

Meanwhile, for City, Silva was the pick of the bunch. The 29-year-old used all his experience to torment the Real Madrid backline and showed superb awareness to run back and stop Vinicius in his tracks multiple times over. He created two chances, won both his attempted tackles, made five recoveries, and won three ground duels at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night.

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