Real Madrid 1-2 Man City: Visitors come from behind to win first leg

Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s side in box seat of Champions League last-16 tie as Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne help them come from behind against 13-time European Cup winners

  • Isco gave Real Madrid the lead on 60 minutes after Manchester City’s defensive mistake allowed the hosts in
  • City responded with a Gabriel Jesus header on 78 minutes before they won a penalty just four minutes later
  • They were awarded a spot-kick after Dani Carvajal fouled Raheem Sterling – which Kevin De Bruyne converted
  • Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red card on 86 minutes for hauling down Jesus 
  • City were dealt a blow on 33 minutes when Aymeric Laporte had to be replaced by Fernandinho due to injury 
  • CLICK HERE to re-live all the action from the Santiago Bernabeu as it happened with Sportsmail’s DAN RIPLEY

Finally, Manchester City found someone who can take a penalty. Kevin De Bruyne, who else, succeeded where so many have failed for the club this season and delivered a milestone victory for Pep Guardiola and UEFA’s antagonists.

In doing so, he carried out the wishes of those who had travelled from Manchester to Spain for this. ‘F*** UEFA,’ they demanded and City did. Everyone knows the best way to do that this season is to win this trophy, and City are in with more than a puncher’s chance have put down this marker. They were tactically superior to Real Madrid throughout, and Zinedine Zidane’s team, fell apart near the end. They lost the lead, conceded a penalty and were fortunate not to give away a second when Sergio Ramos brought down Gabriel Jesus. He paid the price for that clip inches outside the area, though, with a red card. Another huge blow for the second leg when they will be chasing in front of a raucous crowd. The captain is a huge loss.

The atmosphere when these teams meet again will be charged to say the least. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, as Joni sang, and Manchester City’s fans have decided they did quite like being in the Champions League after all, having been slung out of it. They made their feelings known throughout this – and even two goals did not dampen their enthusiasm for sticking it to the ruling body. The players were with them all the way, too. This was a brave victory, full of energy and determination.

Kevin De Bruyne (right) scored the decisive goal as Manchester City came from behind to beat Real Madrid on Wednesday

City’s captain on the night scored from the penalty spot to put them ahead 2-1 in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie

He coolly slotted into the bottom left-hand corner of the net – sending Belgium team-mate Thibaut Courtois the wrong way

De Bruyne was duly mobbed by his team-mates as they celebrated their five-minute salvo to come from 1-0 down to lead 2-1


Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy, Valverde, Casemiro, Modric, Vinicius Jr, Benzema, Isco.

Subs: Areola, Militao, Kroos, Bale, Marcelo, Lucas, Jovic.

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Mahrez, Jesus, B. Silva. 

Subs: Bravo, Sterling, Aguero, D. Silva, Fernandinho, Joao Cancelo, Foden.

Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy)

It only takes one mistake against a team like Real Madrid, and Manchester City made three in the space of seconds, which is why they were chasing the game in the first place.

Yet Madrid are hardly infallible either, and stung by going behind against the run of play, City rallied magnificently. De Bruyne was the architect as ever. It was his brilliant cross, past two defenders and a strike without looking that picked out Jesus to head past Thibaut Courtois, who should have done better.

Madrid were reeling and vulnerable. Raheem Sterling, on as a substitute, went past Dani Carvajal, who brought him down. So many City players have missed from the spot this season that it almost felt like a 50-50. Not with De Bruyne in this form. He sent Courtois the wrong way and City led.

Of course, if there is a warning for the second leg it is what can happen with even a moment’s loss of focus. Rodri was the main culprit for the Madrid goal, giving the ball away in a dangerous area; but Nicolas Otamendi did not help matters and then Kyle Walker missed his opportunity to shut down Vinicius Junior, when he broke with the ball. Instead the young man took it past him, and squared for Isco, quiet until then but now with a lovely sight of goal. He made no mistake, slotting it past Ederson as City despaired. They had done so well to that point, too.

Real Madrid supporters a massive tifo before the game as both teams entered the Santiago Bernabeu pitch

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) and Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane share an embrace before kick-off

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos (left) plays a pass under pressure from Manchester City skipper Kevin De Bruyne early on

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus (right) was deployed in an unusual left-wing back role during the first half

Riyad Mahrez (left) fends off a challenge from Dani Carvajal as City look to attack the 13-time European champions

Vinicius Junior (right) tries to fly past City’s holding midfielder Rodri as the Brazilian looks to run at the visitors

As the first half wore on Thibaut Courtois (right) became the busier goalkeeper and was forced into this fine save from Jesus

The visitors’ strong first-half showing hit a snag on 33 minutes when Aymeric Laporte was forced off due to injury

Luka Modric (left) and Ilkay Gundogan were involved in a crunching tackle as the pair battled for midfield dominance

The argument runs that, since leaving Barcelona and the knowledge he had the stronger team in just about every game he played, Pep Guardiola has developed a tendency to overthink his biggest matches in Europe. Maverick team selections, a focus on the opposition and how to counter them, it is a side of Guardiola we rarely saw at the Nou Camp.

And when the team sheet dropped pre-match here, we thought we were seeing it again. No Raheem Sterling, no Sergio Aguero but, most incredibly of all, no Fernandinho in the starting line-up. This was a City team set up to do a specific job, obviously, but why those three did not fit Guardiola’s grand plan, who knows? Once the game started, the strategy hardly became clearer. Jesus was not the central striker but deployed wide on the left, frequently covering for Benjamin Mendy, and tirelessly too. Bernardo Silva was often the most forward in a central role, sometimes switching with Riyad Mahrez. It is well known that Guardiola loves a midfielder, but here he played six of them in front of four defenders, without a bona fide No 9. And for long periods it worked.

Not simply by creating good counter-attacking chances for Manchester City, but by limiting Real Madrid. There was over 30 minutes gone before Zinedine Zidane’s men created a decent goalscoring opportunity – a header from Karim Benzema superbly saved by Ederson. A minute later the strategy was subject to an enforced change, sadly. Aymeric Laporte, who has suffered so unfortunately with injury this season, went down and had to be replaced – by Fernandinho, of all people. Unable to command a place in his favoured position, he was now a surrogate centre-half. He got to the break without being significantly tested.

Indeed, while this was pragmatic by Guardiola’s standards, it was City who created the best scoring opportunities of the first half. It was a slow burner, 21 minutes gone before a chance of note was created, as often happens when two teams known for their attacking prowess clash. Both are so wary of danger they smother the game in a defensive blanket. Still, when De Bruyne is playing it is hard to keep him quiet for long, and it was his lovely pass that set up Jesus for the first opportunity of the match. He cut inside, saw a game open up and forced a magnificent save from Courtois.

Real Madrid playmaker wheels away in celebration after giving them the lead against Manchester City on Wednesday night

The 27-year-old found himself with only City goalkeeper Ederson to beat after the visitors made an error in defence

Real’s No 22 kept his cool though to slot home past the Brazil international and put his side in front on 60 minutes

Isco was duly mobbed by his team-mates as they took the lead in this Champions League last-16 first leg encounter

Real’s lead didn’t last long though thanks to Jesus – who cancelled out Isco’s opener just 18 minutes later

The Brazil international beat Ramos in the air to head home De Bruyne’s brilliant cross past Courtois

Courtois could only look on in anguish as he failed to deal with Jesus’ header into the ground that then evaded him

City players were quick to congratulate Jesus after the 22-year-old scored a crucial away goal in the Spanish capital

De Bruyne should have done better seven minute later when Bernard Mendy found Mahrez who put the Belgian in – but his shot was wild. Then, a minute before half-time, the best chance of the half. Courtois pawed ineffectually at a corner and the ball ran loose for Jesus to send it back through a crowd of bodies. In real time it looked to have been cleared off the line but replays showed Real Madrid captain Ramos had been lucky not to turn it into his own net.

Aside from Laporte’s injury – and Guardiola lists his absence as one of the main reasons the club has fallen so far behind Liverpoool in the league table – the biggest negative in the first half for City came with the booking of Mendy for a foul on Luka Modric. It will keep him out of the second leg, and left City on tenterhooks for the rest of the game.

Yet they continued to stick to the plan and the numbers suggested it was working. Real Madrid were limited to just three shots in the first-half – their poorest return in this competition in the Bernabeu since the visit of Galatasaray at the group stage in November 2013.

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