On Wednesday, Real Madrid and Manchester City will meet in the Champions League semi-finals, with great expectations for another spectacular match. The match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad last week was an immediate classic, with early goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus giving the hosts a 2-0 lead after only 11 minutes.
Manchester City could have scored more goals until the evergreen, Karim Benzema, relieved the strain with goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva in the second half, followed by an unbelievable Benzema Panenka penalty, to leave a thrilling 4-3 tie.
Watch the 1st leg highlights:
Despite being ahead, there is a real sense of potential missed opportunity as Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders travel to the Bernabeu, where Real are typically so dominant, despite coming unstuck in humiliating fashion against Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Both teams followed up that unforgettable first leg with 4-0 domestic victories over the weekend, with City winning at Leeds to reclaim first place from Liverpool. On May 28, either Liverpool or Villarreal will face off in the final at the Stade de France in Paris.
Manchester City will be without experienced right-back Kyle Walker, who may not play again this season after suffering an ankle injury in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid. John Stones, a defensive teammate who limped out against Madrid (starting at right-back) in the first half last week, will be evaluated after missing the triumph over Leeds.
Kick-off time and prediction:
The match between Real Madrid and Manchester City is set to begin at 8 p.m. BST on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. The game will be held at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain.
At Elland Road, Guardiola made five changes to his starting lineup, with Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish, and Raheem Sterling replacing Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Bernardo, and Riyad Mahrez.
After returning from a hamstring injury to start the first leg, only to suffer a setback and be taken off at half-time, David Alaba faces a race against time to be fit for the second leg.
Casemiro has returned to full fitness, while Eden Hazard is still recovering from an ankle procedure, and Gareth Bale was sidelined with back spasms during the weekend’s title celebrations. It’s a naughty errand to predict an exact scoreline between these two attacking powerhouses.
Last week’s match was engrossing, hectic, and spectacularly exciting, with seven goals scored when it could and should have been well into double figures. City will be hurting themselves for not getting the job done last week, despite having a hatful of chances against Real Madrid. This may go either way, but we’re betting on Guardiola’s men to advance narrowly in yet another high-octane encounter and book a second consecutive final berth.