The day Carlo Ancelotti equaled Sir Alex Ferguson as coach with the most games in the history of the Champions League, 190, the Italian signed tables against the most powerful rival in Europe, Manchester City. His experience allows him to optimize his resources and capitalize on rival deficiencies, and before City he sat down to play chess with Guardiola. A goal from Vinicius put the whites ahead and another from De Bruyne turns the Manchester game into a final, as Carletto warned, where the pass to the final will be decided.
Ancelotti gave City the ball
This City is a more mature and vastly more powerful team. A year ago he stood at the Bernabéu with Mahrez, Gabriel Jesús and Fodden above, this year he lines up Bernardo Silva, Haaland and Grealish. Something that did not alter Ancelotti’s plan: take shelter and wait for his moment. Defensive commitment and quality deployment. He started the game with City monopolizing the ball. There was always a more English player close to the ball with Stones embedded in the midfield. Madrid began defending in their field with a 4-2-3-1, and entrusted themselves to the stops of Courtois, that after a quarter of an hour he had already stopped shots from De Bruyne, Rodri and Haaland, twice. The whites were positionally dominated and lost the ball very easily.
Until the half hour of the game arrives, with an abusive 73% possession of City, Ancelotti he did what he usually does. After the first stage, and once Kroos and Modric, diesel players, broke into a sweat, He sent the team to push up and the game changed. The visitors’ first mistake, by Rodri, ended with a Vini pass that Stones aborted when Benzema was about to push it. Spark that ignited the Bernabéu. Camavinga began to go up his band and in minute 35, in one of those incorporations the ball reached Vinicius, who faced a Stones who backed down instead of going out and the Brazilian fired a shell that ended up in the net. Madrid had already played this game and City was beginning to see ghosts.
Madrid jumped into the second round with rennet. Once again, Ancelotti moved a piece on the board. Carletto asked Camavinga to lean more into the middle to help at the start and Modric embedded himself in the defense to make the first pass from behind. Whites offered a more recognizable profile. In defense, Carlo chose to deactivate Haaland, allowing only long shots in the face of the solvency of a Courtois whose saves win the Champions League. Not the case with Ederson.
De Bruyne’s kick
Madrid dominated so much that City decided to take risks up front. The party opened up and became a runner. And in that context the same thing happened as in the first half, but in reverse. An arrival from City ended with a kick from De Bruyne into the net. When City played better, Madrid scored and when Madrid was better, City scored. It’s what the heavyweights have, they put a hand in you and send you to the canvas.
De Bruyne’s goal served to seal the tables. The minutes passed and the two teams were satisfied with a tie that minimized damage. The game began to be long for Madrid with Kroos and Modric arriving late to withdraw. And City withdrew and stopped risking the ball thinking about the return. Possession was away, but no lines were crossed and Madrid was waiting well equipped in their field. Carlo injected some energy with Asensio and Tchouameni, but there were no news.
The tie travels to Manchester without news from Haaland, with an exercise of maximum respect from the two coaches and with the cards marked for the return. The whites will once again wait for City in their field to go out in a stampede in England. But now he will bear the responsibility of being a favorite in his house. An anxiety that Guardiola must manage in the face of a historic opportunity. While Madrid He will come out in sheep’s clothing, like the Camp Nou after the Cup semifinals.
1 – Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Camavinga; Kroos (Tchouaméni, m.84), Modric (Nacho, m.87), Fede Valverde; Rodrygo (Marco Asensio, m.81), Vinícius, Benzema.
1-Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Ruben Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri, Gundogan; De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Grealish; and Haaland.
Goals: 1-0, m.36: Vinicius. 1-1, m.67: De Bruyne.
Referee: Artur Dias (Portugal). He admonished Kroos (45 + 2), Camavinga (79) and coach Carlo Ancelotti (68) for Real Madrid; and Gundogan (71) and Bernardo Silva (86) for City.
Incidents: First leg of the Champions League semifinals, played at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, full, with 63,485 spectators in the stands.