Real chased Man City in a six-goal match

SPAIN Real Madrid drew 3-3 with Man City in a six-goal, four-masterpiece match in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Like the semi-finals a year ago, the two teams drew in the first leg in Madrid. At that time, Man City won 4-0 in the second leg, so many away team players smiled brightly after the final whistle on the evening of April 9. Real players were not too disappointed with this result, but several players questioned French referee Francois Letexier after the match. The draw result means that the two teams will play again from the beginning in the second leg at Etihad Stadium on the evening of April 17, because the tournament no longer has an away goals rule.

Bernardo Silva (left) celebrates Josko Gvardiol's beautiful goal in Man City's 3-3 draw with Real Madrid at Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, Spain, Champions League quarterfinals first leg on the evening of April 9, 2024. Photo: AP

Man City received sad news right before kick-off, when captain midfielder Kevin de Bruyne felt unwell and vomited in the dressing room. Initially, the starting position was reserved for him, but his poor health condition forced the 33-year-old midfielder to reserve, giving the main role to Bernardo Silva.

However, it was Silva who opened the scoring in the second minute, from a free kick from over 25 meters away, in the left corner. The Portuguese midfielder curled a low shot over the wall to the near corner, leaving goalkeeper Andriy Lunin unable to react in time. This is the second fastest goal by an away team at the Bernabeu in the Champions League, after Mario Mandzukic's goal for Juventus six years ago, at 77 seconds.

Man City kept the ball 63% of the first half, but Real created more opportunities. The home team took the lead within two minutes, with shots hitting defenders changing direction. In the 12th minute, Eduardo Camavinga's long-range shot grazed the thigh of midfielder Ruben Dias, flying in the opposite direction of goalkeeper Stefan Ortega's movement. This goal was counted as an own goal by Dias, because Camavinga's kick missed the goal.

In the 14th minute, Vinicius Junior poked Rodrygo through the offside trap and rushed down the left. Midfielder Manuel Akanji was able to pull back, but Rodrygo's shot grazed Akanji's foot, causing Ortega to be defeated once again. After this goal, the 23-year-old striker danced to celebrate the goal in Cristiano Ronaldo style.

Rodrygo (right) scored to increase the score to 2-1 for Real against Man City at Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, Spain, Champions League quarterfinals first leg on the evening of April 9, 2024. Photo: PA

Rodrygo and Vinicius also coordinated to create more opportunities, including a good situation in the 55th minute but the 24-year-old striker shot over the bar. The two Brazilian players will have to regret missed opportunities, when Man City stars spoke up in more difficult situations.

The away team scored two consecutive masterpieces within five minutes. The first was Phil Foden's shot from the front corner, about 18 meters away, bringing the ball to the right corner above the goal. After that, midfielder Josko Gvardiol suddenly kicked a long shot with his non-dominant right foot from about 20 meters away, slightly to the left, towards the far corner. Both of these situations are almost impossible for any goalkeeper to prevent.

Foden received a kiss from coach Pep Guardiola , after his masterpiece. He has scored six goals from outside the box this season, the most of any player playing in the Premier League in all competitions. And Gvardiol chose to celebrate with De Bruyne - a player who could not enter the field in this match.

Valverde (second from left) celebrates the goal that tied the score 3-3. Photo: Reuters

It seemed like Man City would return to England with a goal advantage, midfielder Federico Valverde scored another masterpiece to equalize for Real. From Vinicius' cross to the right of the penalty area, the Uruguayan player volleyed the ball low and diagonally, causing Ortega to stand still and watch the ball fly into the net.

The match was eye-catching for the neutral audience, when the goals of Silva, Foden, Gvardiol and Valverde could all be considered masterpieces. Besides these situations, the two teams played quite closely due to the importance of the match. Guardiola only used one substitution, when he reluctantly brought in striker Julian Alvarez to replace the injured Foden. The 24-year-old English midfielder is in high form. If he has to stop playing, it will affect Man City's play in the second leg.

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