Real Madrid 3, Manchester City 1: painful performance in Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid 3, Manchester City 1: painful performance in Santiago Bernabeu

When Pep Guardiola took down the epic madridista with undeniable superiority. In a duel in which Manchester City felt judged by Mahrez’s goal, Real Madrid shone from the impossible in a new comeback for history, with a brace in one minute of extra time from Rodrygo and a penalty goal from Karim Benzema in extra time, to the final in Paris after the last magical night of an unforgettable Champions League for the Santiago Bernabéu.

It’s not just epic. It is heart, it is faith in its possibilities to the last breath. It’s football. It is the inheritance of a single gene, a special DNA that is passed on from generation to generation. Without Casemiro, Kroos or Modric already on the field. With a handful of intrepid youngsters unburdened by the shield, Real Madrid imposed its history when all was lost. The only team in the world that can repeat a comeback in every draw until the final. Making a new turn with two goals in added time when it seemed doomed.

In a Champions League that saw him peer into the abyss several times, Ancelotti felt that a goal from City was the last sentence. In the exchange of blows, in the madness of the Etihad, he never saw his superior team. And it was protected from the start. Despite playing in a blazing Bernabeu like never before, his plan was to bring Fede Valverde to life at the decisive moment of the equalizing goal, the last 15 minutes.

If every European tie is divided into four parts, there is only one team in the world that can win one and be beaten in the other three. It could be seen against PSG, when half an hour served to add another comeback to the long list that makes up the legend. And that was the plan of ‘Carletto’, who planted a low bloc and exaggerated respect for a city with a defined identity, with that unmistakable ‘Guardiola signature’ that the Bernabéu knows so well.

Pep represents a style that usually harms Real Madrid and which he has managed to instill in an English team. He lived it as a footballer at Barcelona and planted it as a coach at a time hard to match. From there, his challenge is to win the Champions League with another club and again he fell by the wayside. His city always wanted the ball, played to the beat of Bernardo Silva, with two open ends to create space for a team running after the ball, with De Bruyne in the space, causing Kroos’ back to suffer, and Gabriel Jesus ready to hook her up anytime. He also wanted to dominate ‘other football’, as he already demonstrated at the Metropolitano, with his time wasting to stop the Madridista momentum.

That’s what Ancelotti’s team was reduced to in the first act. Choking on City’s orderly pressure. With four resources, but none to build. Caught in a spider web that caused the defense’s continued losses in the exit phase. Only the speed, associated with the quality of the dribbling, of Vinícius. Without Benzema in contact with the ball, Real Madrid is less Real Madrid. Still, in the Champions League of his career, the Frenchman hooked up two centers as a song of hope. None on target.

exclaimed Courtois as City, after the Madrid buzz, put stun in play until it took over, forced Real Madrid to lock themselves up by joining lines and threatened with a central shot from De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus stumbled upon the inspiration under the Belgian goalkeeper and grazed the square in another shot full of intent.

To beat Guardiola’s style, the heart is not enough, which Real Madrid have had enough, quality football seasoned with success must be added in definition. And of that, which he showed at the Etihad, Ancelotti’s team lacked until the last breath of a second half in which he shone in the expected change of identity.

The time indicated in the plan had arrived. He left the locker room to bite and in 15 seconds he had a chance to mark the match. Carvajal found space for the first time due to Cancelo’s error, Karim failed to reach the center and at the far post, alone, with everything to score, Vinicius rediscovered the image of his past. He knocked the ball off balance instead of simply positioning the shoe so that the ball entered the net, defeating Ederson without a chance to reach the ball.

It’s the contrasts of ‘Vini’, so brave to ask for the ball in the next action and leave everyone with a unique ability to erase the mistake from their head. He served Modric with a goal after drawing on all the rivals, but the Croat also forgave after poor control. There was no success, but the panorama had already changed. The city chewed on the fear. The beast had woken up.

It was time to process all the records, put an end to the white stampede with lost time that cooled the game. It was then Ancelotti resorted to his plan b, as he intended, with the arrival of Rodrygo, who showed personality to let Kroos sit after his rage. The savior who scored against Chelsea would leave an indelible moment for the rest of his career.

Previously, Real Madrid faltered with the move to 4-3-3 that cost them a goal that looked decisive. Bernardo Silva concluded his driving lesson, splitting up the rival defense and assisting Mahrez. On the goalkeeper’s post, while Courtois defeated himself early on, he placed his shot into the top corner. A dagger that would have mortally wounded any team except one that can never be considered convicted.

When it seemed like there was no room for the miracle. When the City felt in the English final in Paris. When it appeared that the environmental factor had no influence like PSG and Chelsea, Real Madrid made changes without its three untouchables in midfield, showing pride to the end and lifting the equalizer in extra time.

He was alive thanks to Mendy, who saved Grealish’s goal below the goal line, who even forgave another mistake from Real Madrid that appeared to be broken. He only gathered strength for his last attempt. In a magical minute, Rodrygo launched two claws for history, looked hungry at Karim’s stride and headed a Carvajal cross into the top corner.

Ancelotti’s team had returned to bury the inferiority in a draw. No one at City understood what had happened. He could even be sentenced for extra time if Ederson hadn’t prevented Rodrygo’s third. In that scenario, no one can handle a Real Madrid with more than adequate physicality and unparalleled competitiveness. The first extra period was forgiven by Benzema and in the second he was knocked down by Rubén Dias, who arrived late and went on a penalty. The top scorer of the ‘Champions’ did not forgive. The miracle was already a reality.

Guardiola turned to Sterling to escape the nightmare, but it was time to suffer with his own medicine. Real Madrid took the game home, let the minutes go by and Courtois saved the goal with his usual save, in a shot by Fernandinho only at the far post, which would have triggered the penalties. Four years later, he meets Liverpool again in the Champions League of impossible comebacks.

Source: El heraldo

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