Before the semi-final first leg of the Champions League between Real Madrid and Manchester City, Tuesday at Santiago-Bernabeu, the editorial staff of Top Mercato looks back on the most memorable past confrontations between the two clubs. Merengue and Citizens have faced each other eight times on the European stage so far. Here is the Top 5 of these most beautiful oppositions in C1 between Spaniards and English.
Photo credits: IconSport
1. Manchester City – Real Madrid (4-3), semi-final first leg, April 26, 2022
The penultimate opposition between the two clubs, the semi-final first leg of the Champions League played last season at the Etihad Stadium will remain a masterpiece in the competition for a long time. Between two favorites for the final victory, Manchester City won the first round in front of their home crowd after 90 breathless minutes, after many knockdowns. Josep Guardiola’s players made a beautiful start and knocked out Carlo Ancelotti’s men from the 2nd minute on a header from Kevin De Bruyne, before a new goal from Gabriel Jesus (11th). The locals lay siege to the Madrid cage and repeatedly fail to achieve an undoubtedly definitive break.
Touched but not sunk, Real Madrid reduced the mark by Karim Benzema (33rd). Returning from the locker room, after an attempt by Riyad Mahrez on the post, the Citizens took a two-goal lead thanks to Phil Foden (53rd), but the visitors reacted in stride by Vinicius Junior (55th). The two clubs did not let go and it was again the English who found the opening on a jewel from Bernardo Silva (74th), who came to clean the top corner of Thibaut Courtois with a sumptuous shot from the left. The people of Madrid come close to sinking definitively on an off-target shot from Riyad Mahrez, before the saving double from Karim Benzema (82nd from the penalty spot).
2. Real Madrid – Manchester City (3-2), first day of the group stage, September 18, 2012
First confrontation between the two clubs on the European scene, this shock of the 1st day of the group stage opposed Madrid then trained by José Mourinho to Mancunians under the orders of Roberto Mancini. Semi-finalists of the previous edition, Real Madrid won at the end of the suspense at Santiago-Bernabeu after a completely crazy last quarter of an hour. If the English led twice thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko (68th) and Aleksandar Kolarov (85th), after the equalizer signed Marcelo (76th), the partners of Iker Casillas snatched the victory by Karim Benzema (87th) and Cristiano Ronaldo (90th). Second in Group D, Real Madrid advanced to the round of 16 unlike Manchester City, last and eliminated after zero wins and only three points on the clock. Another time for Citizens not yet at the top of European football.
3. Real Madrid – Manchester City (3-1), semi-final second leg, May 4, 2022
Just a week after a first act of great beauty, Real Madrid and Manchester City found themselves for a place in the final. After the first 45 minutes without a goal, the Mancunians struck first through Riyad Mahrez (73rd), the Algerian attacking midfielder giving the English a two-goal lead over the two games. But it was without counting on the start of the Casa Blanca, which came to offer its supporters an end to the meeting of anthology.
The hero is called Rodrygo Goes. Entering the game in place of Toni Kroos, the Brazilian attacking midfielder slams a double (90th, 91st) to allow Real Madrid to come back up to their opponent, synonymous with extra time. The Madrid salute once again comes from Karim Benzema. Already author of a double in the first leg, the former Lyonnais does justice to himself by transforming the qualifying penalty (95th). In the final, the 2022 Spanish champion then dominates Liverpool at the Stade de France (1-0) to win the 14th C1 in its history.
4. Real Madrid – Manchester City (1-2), round of 16 first leg, February 26, 2020
Four years after their last confrontation, Real Madrid and Manchester City crossed swords at the stage of the round of 16, with a first leg in the lair of Spain. And for the first and so far only time in its history, the Mancunian club won the victory at Santiago-Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane’s proteges nevertheless took control through Isco (60th), but a header from Gabriel Jesus (78th) and a penalty from Kevin De Bruyne (83rd) allowed Manchester City to win on their rival’s land. Five and a half months after this first act, Aymeric Laporte’s teammates won again by the same score, thanks to Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, and went to the quarter-finals.
5. Real Madrid – Manchester City (1-0), semi-final second leg, May 4, 2016
In the 2015-2016 edition, Real Madrid and Manchester City are aiming for a place in the final, having respectively eliminated Wolfsburg and Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round. And the suspense remained total for the qualification at the end of a first act without the slightest goal at the Etihad Stadium. The last word goes to the Spaniards who win on the smallest of marks thanks to Gareth Bale (20th), with a shot diverted by Fernando into the cage of Joe Hart. Three weeks later, in a 100% Spanish final, Real Madrid then raised the 11th Champions League in its history at the expense of Atletico Madrid (1-1, 5-3 tab).