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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Fireworks of heads and a lovely bounce. How Man City and Real Madrid played 4-3

Of the last eight Real Madrid goals in the Champions League, seven have been by Karim Benzema. Two hat-tricks in a row – in the second leg against PSG and in the first quarter-final match against Chelsea, as well as a goal in Madrid in the second game against the Londoners – such is the Frenchman’s contribution to the victories of the Royal Club. Based on this, it is not difficult to conclude that it was necessary for the British to solve the Benzema problem in order to move to Real Madrid, recalls our collaborating publication Playmaker.

We do not know if Josep Guardiola addressed this issue separately, but in the first minutes of the match in Manchester, Karim did not see the ball. City started so strongly that Real Madrid had no time for attacks. The pressure pushed the Spaniards into their penalty area, and in the 11th minute, the “citizens” gave the opponent a blitzkrieg. De Bruyne closed in the fall with his head a canopy-lumbago from the right wing, sending the ball exactly to the corner at a distance unattainable for Courtois, also a Belgian. And then Alaba lost the fight in the penalty area to Jesus, who hit the target with a backhand.

2-0 after ten minutes of play: it would almost be a knockout blow for most teams. But we remember how Real Madrid recently lost at home to Chelsea – 0:3, after which it flared up and turned the tide to save 2:3 (considering that it won the first match 3:1). So it wasn’t worth burying Carlo Ancelotti’s team early. Even with the ugly defensive game of his.

In addition to these two goals, Mahrez and Foden were supposed to score, but both lacked precision in the final stage. The boys have to learn from Benzema. Karim had the only half chance to shoot after a cross from Mendy into the penalty area and finished off from a not very comfortable position, with mastery, with a rebound from the grass and right into the goal. Zinchenko could not stop him. And the comfortable 2:0 turned into a shaky little lead.

That indicated that Guardiola, with the problem of the French striker, did not break his head enough. Or that Karim is just a monster. Rather, there is a bit of the former with nuances of the latter. Benzema has already won the Ballon d’Or for sure. It was his 13th goal in the current Champions League, and he overtook Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski in this indicator.

Real Madrid, however, were unable to firmly move the game away from their goal. At the end of the first half, the visitors fought back and the hosts continued to waste their chances. The optimism in Guardiola’s eyes diminished as he sat down on a bench and excitedly talked about something with an assistant. Obviously he was scratching my “turnip” what to do: he had to go to Madrid with a solid lead.

The second half, however, began with another missed opportunity for the locals. Militao missed the ball, allowing Mahrez to burst into the box and shoot. The dribble hit the far position and Foden was first on the rebound. He finished almost at point-blank range, but it fell to Carvajal, who secured the goalkeeper on the tape.

It was impossible to waste time endlessly. Even according to probability theory, something must have flown. And so it happened in the 53rd minute, when the goalkeeper’s Foden headed the ball into the goal after Fernandinho’s cross. Guardiola perked up, a spark appeared in the Spaniard’s eyes. He would have known at that moment that in two minutes everything would go dark again.

Vinicius left Fernandinho with a beautiful feint down the left side, ran towards the penalty area and calmly allowed the goalkeeper to approach, as if he believed that the Brazilian would definitely play as a teammate. And he took it and fired into the far corner, hitting the bar very close. 3:2 – according to such a game, we can say that in favor of Real Madrid.

City took the lead again and again, for the third time in the match, they took the lead to two goals. Kroos broke the rules on Zinchenko in his own penalty area. The foul was so obvious that the guests at some point turned off the game. Meanwhile, the referee gave the opportunity to end the episode, Bernardo Silva picked up the ball and sent it with a not very strong blow to the angle near the top corner. Courtois was standing there, but for some reason he was stunned and followed the flight of the ball with his eyes.

But Real Madrid would not be the same if this club were capable of crushing “things as small” as the fourth conceded goal. Shortly after City’s shot into the penalty area, the ball landed in Laporte’s hand, which was disallowed, and Romania’s Istvan Kovacs pointed to the 11-metre mark. Benzema mockingly beat Ederson and turned Lewandowski around – there is goal number 14 in this Champions League!

It was a shame to look at Guardiola. The victory did not please him too much, nor did Ancelotti dislike him very much. After the game, they warmly hugged each other. In Madrid, the game will start almost from scratch.

You may not share this point of view, but the emotion of the well-known journalist Igor Rabiner, who has just reflected on his RabiNerv telegram channel, seemed to us to be very accurate. Let me quote: “A magic like Manchester City – Real Madrid, to see it is incredible and a little bit harmful. Because after him it is difficult to call football in another way. It was just a competition of virtuosity of the best pianists in the world.

And, by the way, the judge fully reciprocated. Hungarian Kovacs did not cover himself with the blanket, he understood that he was a waiter at this party and should behave more modestly. Hence the minimum of cards and the minimum of beeps. Kovacs understood everything correctly – this fairy tale cannot be interrupted once again. And with what skill did he not stop the game after a rough foul on Zinchenko (just pulling the yellow), which allowed Bernard Silva to pick up the ball and put it in the near “nine” beating Courtois, who went crazy in such a way . a turn.

And how Vinicius bought Fernandinho, forcing him to decide that he would have time to play before the match, passing the ball to his play and escaping from midfield with such back-heel speed that they will catch up! Just before that, Fernandinho had just become the hero of Foden’s goal, precisely by getting ahead of the game and then hanging onto the Englishman. And, it seemed, he believed in himself too much.

Well, I’m not talking about Benzema, who is capable of turning everything around in games of this level.

Pep’s Manchester City played better and more than once was able to take the lead to three goals, and then probably everything. But ‘Real’ Ancelotti showed once again in this League an amazing ability to bend, but not to break. And for some reason, he really wanted the match to end with a one-goal difference. Because he will leave everything absolutely open before the second leg. And we’ll have a great opportunity with masterpiece number two.

In the meantime, let me come to my senses and digest what I saw. It’s like Beethoven writing one of his symphonies right in front of you.”


Champions Leaguesemifinalthe first game

Manchester City (Manchester, England) – Real Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 4:3 (2:1)

Goals: DeBruyne, 2 – 1:0. Jesus, 11 – 2:0. Benzema, 33 – 2:1. Foden, 53 – 3:1. Vinicius, 55 – 3:2. Bernardo Silva, 74 – 4:2. Benzema, 82, from the penalty spot – 4:3.

“Manchester City”: Ederson, Stones (Fernandinho 36), Laporte, Ruben Dias, Zinchenko, de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Foden, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus (Sterling 83).

“Real”: Courtois, Carvajal, Alaba (Nacho 46), Militao, Mendy, Modric (Ceballos 79), Kroos, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Junior (Asensio 88), Rodrigo (Camavinga 70).

Warnings: Fernando (81), Nachos (90).


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