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Man City vs Real Madrid: Champions League semi-final preview

Manchester City face a date with destiny as they welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final

erling haaland man city

Manchester City face a date with destiny as they welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night.

The two teams played out a hugely entertaining 1-1 draw in Madrid last week to leave the tie perfectly poised heading into the second leg. Vinicius Junior opened the scoring for the Spaniard’s with a thunderbolt from outside the box and it looked like Madrid were going to push on to take control of the tie. However, Man City responded well and levelled things up with another superb strike from Kevin de Bruyne to ensure Pep Guardiola’s side took a respectable draw back to the Etihad.

Avoiding defeat in the Spanish capital would have been the priority for Guardiola so he’ll be delighted to have taken a 1-1 draw away from the first leg as Man City are now the firm favourites to book their place in the Champions League final. With Inter Milan the likely opposition in the final, this is a terrific opportunity for City to finally get their hands on their first Champions League trophy after going so close in recent years.

The Cityzens head into the game on Wednesday night off the back of a sensational 22-game unbeaten run across all competitions and they have won their last 15 games on home soil, so they’ll be confident of getting the job done against Madrid to keep alive their hopes of securing an historic treble this season.

City are within touching distance of retaining the Premier League after beating Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. Two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and another strike from Erling Haaland did the damage to put the pressure on Arsenal – who played following City’s win over Everton. The Gunners stumbled once again as they slumped to a hugely disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Brighton to leave Man City on the verge of clinching the title. Guardiola’s men now sit four points clear with a game in hand, and with Arsenal only having two games left to play, City can secure the title with a win over Chelsea this weekend. With an FA Cup final against Man Utd coming up in a few weeks time, Man City have a golden chance to equal their rivals by winning the treble this season.

However, Madrid will be looking to spoil the party and if there is any side in the world who know how to defy the odds and navigate knockout ties in the Champions League, it’s Real Madrid. The Spaniard’s have won the competition a record 14 times and you wouldn’t bet against Carlo Ancelotti’s men producing another European master-class to beat City on their own patch on Wednesday night.

Real Madrid beat Getafe 1-0 at the weekend thanks to a Marco Asensio goal but it wasn’t enough to stop Barcelona clinching the title after they beat Espanyol on Sunday night. Ancelotti’s men are now in a battle to finish second in La Liga but their sole focus will now be on beating Man City to book their place in yet another European Cup final.


This is obviously a huge game so getting hold of Manchester City tickets is going to be extremely difficult. The match will be a sell-out and official tickets sold via the club’s websites sold out weeks ago. Therefore, fans are going to have to a use reputable ticket reselling site such as Seatsnet if they want to get their hands on a ticket for the game.

Alternatively, for those who aren’t able to attend the game in person, you can watch all the action as it happens live on BT Sport. The game kicks off at 8pm on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium.

Team news

Manchester City have virtually a fully fit squad to choose from. Nathan Ake has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury but Guardiola says the defender is feeling better so he could be back in contention to face Madrid.

Otherwise, City have no other injury concerns to worry about. Guardiola is set to make some changes as the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and John Stones were all rested for the win over Everton at the weekend. They could all be recalled to start against Madrid on Wednesday night.

The visitors are sweating over the fitness of Eduardo Camavinga after he limped off during the closing stages against Getafe with an ankle injury. Ancelotti played down fears the injury is serious but it remains to be seen whether the Frenchman will be passed fit to start against Man City.

Ferland Mendy is back in contention after completing 45 minutes at the weekend having recently returned from a calf injury. He could start at left-back if Camavinga is ruled out.


Kyle Walker is expected to keep his place as he’ll be tasked with trying to stop Vinicius Junior once again. The pair enjoyed an excellent battle at the Bernabeu last week and it could be the key match-up in the second leg.

Ruben Dias should keep his place along with Manuel Akanji in defence so Aymeric Laporte will be the man to make way for Stones. Rodri is certain to start in midfield while Gundogan could have played his way into the starting eleven following his excellent performance at the weekend.

De Bruyne is certain to be recalled while Grealish and Silva should also come back into the team, so the likes of Julian Alvarez, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden are set to make way.

As for Madrid, Eder Militao and Carvajal are back from European bans having missed the first leg and they’re set to start in defence. David Alaba and Rodrygo are expected to be recalled after being rested at the weekend while Karim Benzema will also return up front.

Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland

Madrid XI:  Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Kroos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Junior


This is going to be a fascinating game between two of the best teams in the world right now, so it’s difficult to predict the outcome. Madrid are Champions League royalty and they know exactly what’s needed to reach the final and lift the cup. You cannot discount them for one second, and Man City won’t take them too lightly despite their disappointing domestic form this season.

However, Man City are in formidable form and are unbeatable at the Etihad Stadium. As long as they can hold their nerve, play their football and keep things tight at the back, they should have too much quality for Madrid on home soil. It should be another entertaining match, but we’re backing City to edge it to book their place in the final. Man City 2-1 Madrid [3-2 on aggregate]

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