Man City, Real Madrid Duel in Champions League Semifinal That Has it All

The greatest gift Real Madrid has is its profound belief in its own capacity to win. Again and again in the past decade in the Champions League, Madrid has found itself under pressure only

for one of its brilliant players to do something brilliant just when it needed it.This season,if anything,the tendency has been ramped up to fresh heights.Madrid was second-best for three-quarters

of both the round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain and quarterfinals against Chelsea and still prevailed. And that it lost only 4–3 to a Manchester City that threatened at times to outclass.

The sense has been for a few years that La Liga sides can be physically dominated by Premier League teams.It happened to Madrid in the semifinals two seasons ago,when City pressed it to distraction

winning far more comfortably than the 2–1result in each leg might suggest.Pressing was again bedrock of City’s performance again here in what wound up tying for the highest-scoring semifinal match

Madrid for long spells simply couldn’t get out, while every turnover threatened to become an opportunity for the hosts. This is an aging Madrid, an accusation that is usually leveled

at its midfield, but here it was the defense that looked superannuated, with Dani Carvajal struggling against Phil Foden, while David Alaba toiled and was replaced at halftime.

City was ahead after just 94 seconds, with Riyad Mahrez surging in from the right as Madrid weirdly sat off, allowing him to deliver a perfect cross for Kevin De Bruyne to head past Thibaut Courtois.

Nine minutes later, City had a second, with Foden creating space against Carvajal then laying it back from De Bruyne to cross for Gabriel Jesus, who turned and slotted in.

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