It will be a clash of the titans on Wednesday as Manchester City prepare to lock horns with Real Madrid in the second leg of the 2022/23 Champions League semifinal.
When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Fireworks are expected at the Etihad as the two giants of club football and domestic champions in Europe test their strengths again against each other.
A lot is at stake going into this game. The first leg at Santiago Bernabeu was a thriller. Camavinga fired up the game in the first half when he took a brief solo run down from the left into the Manchester City half before breaking into the middle close to the Manchester City box to leave the ball for Vincius Jr, who punished City with a wonder strike from outside the box.
Manchester City responded with a similar fire goal in the second half when Kevin De Bruyne fired an incredible low shot from outside the box pass Thibaut Courtois to break Real Madrid’s brick-wall defense and level the scores.
It was a respectable and just scoreline for the two champions but the benchmarks leave much to be desired. First, Manchester City talisman, Erling Haaland, was bottled by Real Madrid’s brick-wall defense led by former Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger.
Real Madrid boss, Carlo Ancelotti, worked out his tactical maneuver, edging out the Manchester City goal poacher but it will be a different ball game at Etihad entirely.
City will be hoping to revenge their 2022 semifinal loss to Los Blancos and possibly end their wait for their first Champions League trophy but must expect a tough fight from the reigning European champions.
Manchester City will be heading into the game with their star-studded side as used in the first leg but Nathan Ake may likely miss the clash with a harmstring injury.
Erling Haaland will be available to lead the attack for Manchester City with Jack Grealish.
Argentina World Cup winner, Julian Alvarez, may likely start on the bench while Kevin De Bruyne leads the midfield.
John Stones will be available for selection in the defense with Kyle Walker on the right-back.
Karim Benzema and Vincius jr will lead the attack for Real Madrid at Etihad while Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are also expected to start in the midfield with Thibaut Courtois on goal.
Rudiger will be handed the mantle to marked out Erling Haaland again at the defense. It is still unclear whether Eduardo Camavinga will return to the Real Madrid starting lineup after he picked up a knee injury in Real Madrid’s LaLiga win over Getafe.
Manchester City probable lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Silva, Gundogan, Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland
Real Madrid probable lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Kroos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
It will be a cracker between the two teams at Etihad. With a flair for an attacking football, goals are expected right from the first half but the match will still end in a 1-1 draw.
The finalist will be decided on penalties with Real Madrid likely to progress to the final by winning the penalty shootout.