What a semi-final we got introduced to by Manchester City and Real Madrid. This wasn't just a game like any other, it was a classic. I've never been so engrossed in a game like this because in a minute, with a blink of an eye, you cannot be sure of what's going to happen.
The atmosphere was electric, the game was end to end and this was a game that was deserving of a semi-final berth and we were fully entertained. Manchester City might have won the game by 4-3, they sure know that this game isn't over as long as Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are still very much in the second leg.
Manchester City scored 4, thanks to Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Bernado Silva while Real Madrid got 3 at the Etihad, thanks to a brace from Benzema and a solo goal from Vinicius Jr. Manchester City should have sealed the game and put it beyond all reasonable doubt if they were clinical enough, thanks to misses from Mahrez, Foden and Zinchenko. They would have been clearly out of sight and won big at home and they now have themselves to blame for it.
Apart from losing chances they should have been scoring, they allowed Real Madrid back into the game with individual errors which was a credit to Real Madrid for their high pressing to force these errors.
Speaking of Benzema, what a leader he is. He is the first Real Madrid player to score against Manchester City at home and he has done it three times now. He also got his 41st goal of the season for Real Madrid and the 40th came with his first goal after that brilliant delivery from Mendy. He has shown himself to be clinical, smart, and impressively aware of his surroundings because of the way he got to the end of the cross and guided the ball into the back of the net.
He is a living legend and this cannot be stressed enough. Real Madrid has gotten 9 goals in the knockout stage and only Benzema got 8 of them and he is also the first person to inflict the first knockout goal conceded by Manchester City on them. No one is more deserving of that than Karim Benzema.
He also showed character which you won't find that often in younger players but a player of his calibre cannot shy away from responsibilities. He missed two penalties against Osasuna over the weekend and there he was, taking one against Manchester City after a handball. He didn't only score the penalty but he did it in style.
Guardiola would have some harsh words for Mahrez and the whole team for those missed chances and the individual errors. He would let them know that they bottled this when they could have been plainly out of sight. They won but this is Real Madrid we are talking about. They cannot afford to slack off in the second leg.
We know how jittery Manchester City can get especially at this time in the competition because of how they have come so close and yet missed lifting the trophy. This might have played a significant part in their errors but they showed character and fight. They showed they are ready to get their hands on the trophy. They have been devastating and they would need to take advantage of the fact that Real Madrid doesn't always play the best of football at home, at least since PSG came over and outrun them, same with Chelsea as well, who came so close but couldn't get the job done.
It's going to be another cracker of a match for the second leg and I can't wait to see what would happen. I actually thought they would play a draw for this first leg but from what they treated us to with that match, the game is not over, both teams know it, the fans know it and the neutrals like me knows it too. Next week Wednesday it is.
Thank you for your time.
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Olawalium; (Love's chemical content, in human form). Take a dose today: doctor's order.