Real Madrid, Man City draw 1-1 in 1st leg of Champions semifinal

Sports Desk, May 9 (EFE).- Real Madrid and Manchester City battled to a 1-1 draw Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.

Vinicius Jr. gave the hosts the lead late in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid and Kevin de Bruyne answered for the away side about midway through the second period, so the tie will be settled next week in Manchester.

City coach Pep Guardiola played down talk of revenge ahead of Tuesday’s contest, but the outcome of the 2022 semifinal clash between the two sides must have weighed heavily on his players.

Last year, City, who have yet to win the Champions League, were leading 5-3 on aggregate in the final minute of regulation of the second leg, but conceded three goals in five minutes to lose 6-5.

The Blancos went on to beat Liverpool in the final and hoist the trophy for a record-extending 14th time, while Pep saw his Champions League drought continue.

Barcelona won the competition twice with Guardiola at the helm, but he failed to get Bayern Munich past the semifinals and City’s only appearance in the final during his tenure ended in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

City had most of the ball in the early going on Tuesday and Blancos goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was tested by De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, and Erling Haaland (twice) before the hosts’ first real chance materialized in the 25th minute.

Rodri lost the ball to Vini, who sent a cross into the box for the onrushing Karim Benzema, but Dias made a great sliding tackle to knock the ball away.

After weathering the initial onslaught, the Blancos began to wrest the initiative away from City.

In the 37th minute, Luka Modric got the ball in his own end and relayed it to Eduardo Camavinga. The French international charged down the pitch and passed to Vini, who beat City keeper Ederson with a blast from the edge of the area.

Courtois produced a tremendous save to thwart De Bruyne in the 52nd minute, but couldn’t get across in time 15 minutes later to stop his Belgian countryman from equalizing for City.

Ederson got the better of Benzema in the 78th minute, swatting away the 2022 Ballon d’Or’s downward header from the far post, and denied Aurelian Tchouameni in the final minute of regulation to preserve the draw.

EFE rmm/dr

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