Surprising as it may sound, Manchester City have every right to be a little disappointed when they lead by two goals in the Champions League semi-finals. Of course, Pep Guardiola’s team has an advantage over Real Madrid. They have one leg left to reach the final in Istanbul in June. But technically, the draw is over and Real should fight for self-respect alone.
City’s superiority was clear, visible and indisputable. This version of Real Madrid is more comfortable than most to date with the idea that they might not be able to monopolize the ball. Among its many admirable qualities is the ability to endure, survive, and strike when the right moment comes.
But suffering comes in many forms, and this was insurmountable. City nailed Real Madrid not only in their own half but also in their own penalty area. Real’s players, the most calm and controlled players on the planet, most of them veterans who have won the Champions League multiple times, looked frantic and insane.
Luka Modric gave the ball. Toni Kroos gave the ball. Vinicius Junior, who was playing alone on the left flank, suggested to his teammates that they might consider stepping forward a bit, trying to pull them out of their protective shells. urged to Midfielder Federico Valverde wandered around, wondering where this light blue jersey came from.
When the first goal came, it was natural and predictable. City fired a few shots over the bow of the visitors, but Thibaut Courtois twice rejected Erling Haaland, when Bernardo Silva flowed inside completely unmarked and fired his rifle. I let go. The Etihad Stadium exploded as if a valve had loosened.
At that point, Real Madrid’s only hope was to survive until half-time, withstand the pressure and stay in the game. And just as Vinicius finally picked up speed and Kroos hit the bar, City attacked again and Ilkay Gundogan was denied at close range before Silva homered. was heading for
Nothing can be ignored, because according to Champions League mythology, this is of course Real Madrid. But sober reality suggests that it’s a very long way back from here.