Manchester City took a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid back to the Etihad after Kevin De Bruyne and Vinicius Junior both scored stunners.
The visitors dominated the opening stages with almost all of the ball as the hosts kept their shape and waited for any rare opportunities to counter-attack.
With Erling Haaland kept quiet, City’s best chance fell to Rodri who forced a diving save from Thibaut Courtois with a shot from distance, but Pep Guardiola’s side were limited to half chances throughout.
And against the run of play, Real had the first moment of magic as Vinicius unleashed a thunderbolt from almost 30 yards that flew past Ederson and gave the hosts the lead.
City, stunned, struggled to break down a Real side that planned perfectly for all their opponent’s possession.
And as the hosts grew into the game, Rodrygo, Vinicius and Karim Benzema started to create chances of their own as Real Madrid had their best spell of the match.
But just as Vinicius had done in the first half, City scored with their opponents on top as De Bruyne’s sweet strike from the edge of the box pulled them level.
With the game in the balance, Benzema forced a diving save from Ederson and De Bruyne continued to threaten with brilliant balls into the box.
But neither side could find a winner to take into a second leg at the Etihad where they must be separated.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KEVIN DE BRUYNE
I don’t think City have a way back into this game with De Bruyne. Throughout the match, he created all City’s best chances and when the forwards couldn’t take them, he went and did the job himself. For all the talk this season about Haaland’s goals, De Bruyne is still the man that City cannot afford to lose in big games like these.
TALKING POINT – REAL DO WHAT REAL DO BEST
Plenty of pundits had predicted that Manchester City would walk over Real Madrid with the firepower of Haaland.
In the end, Real were perfectly prepared for City’s possession and Guardiola may as well have rested his big Norwegian goal machine.
City are the best team in the world, but that means little against Real Madrid in the Champions League. They always show up. Remember last year?
Real Madrid: Courtois 7, Camavinga 7, Alaba 7, Rudiger 8, Carvajal 6, Modric 6, Kroos 7, Valverde 8, Vinicius 7, Benzema 6, Rodrygo 6. Subs: Asensio 5, Tchouameni 6, Nacho n/a.
Manchester City: Ederson 6, Walker 7, Stones 6, Dias 7, Ajanki 5, Gundogan 6, Rodri 7, De Bruyne 8, Silva 7, Grealish 6, Haaland 5. No subs.
36′ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 1 MANCHESTER CITY 0 (Vinicius). WHAT A ROCKET! Vinicius bursts into the City half, latches on to a Modric pass, and unleahes an absolutely thunderbolt from near 30 yards that flies past Ederson and puts his side up well against the run of play. A total missile. City gave him far too much space and the Bernabeu has come alive.
67′ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 1 MANCHESTER CITY 1 (De Bruyne). CITY ARE LEVEL! De Bruyne sends a first-time effort flying past Courtois! The sweetest strike you’ve seen since the first half. ALL SQUARE IN THE BERNABEU.
79′ – EDERSON SAVES! A brilliant save by Ederson! Benzema gets a header on target from Kroos’ free-kick but the Brazilian produces a diving safe to keep out the Frenchman. Great goalkeeping.
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