With Karim Benzema scoring the winner in extra time, Real Madrid completed another incredible comeback to crush Manchester City’s chances of winning the Champions League for another year.
Manchester City were eliminated 6-5 on aggregate by Real Madrid after an ugly collapse in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Following a frenetic first leg, the Premier League leaders took a 4-3 lead into the second leg of their semi-final at the Bernabeu, with Riyad Mahrez adding to their lead with 18 minutes of normal time remaining. Rodrygo, though, beat Ederson to the ball and ignited a spectacular comeback for the hosts at the death.
The winger then headed in a second a minute later to send the game into extra-time, where Karim Benzema won it for Los Blancos from the penalty spot. Here, Daily Star Sport looks at three things City boss Pep Guardiola got wrong and one he got right as his side were left embarrassed at the Bernabeu.
Bringing on Sterling
Guardiola brought on Raheem Sterling in an attempt to add more attacking impetus to City’s play. But that change backfired, with the Englishman putting in a dreadful display which saw him have little impact on the game.
The winger was also booked and dispossessed twice as he struggled to make any inroads against Madrid’s defence. He also won just three of his eight duels, committed three fouls and failed to put in a successful cross into the box.
With the game appearing to be won, Guardiola opted to firm up his midfield by bringing off goalscorer Mahrez for Fernandinho. But the move to give his side a more defensive outlook backfired badly on the Spaniard, with City falling further back.
With Madrid launching their inevitable final push in search of a way back into the game, City’s resolve finally ran out. After Rodrygo’s two goals, their defensive set-up also cost them in extra-time, with Benzema’s penalty putting Madrid ahead early.
But the set-up that Guardiola had implemented with the introduction of Fernandinho left them struggling to find a way to chase the game. With too many midfielders on the pitch, City were unable to get themselves a second goal, ensuring they crashed out in an embarrassing fashion.
Throwing in Walker
Kyle Walker had not played for Manchester City since being forced off injured in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid. But Guardiola opted to immediately throw him back into action on his return to fitness for the trip to the Bernabeu.
The right-back was up against Madrid star Vinicius, who had terrorized Andreas Christensen and Fernandinho in earlier matches in the competition. But Walker was able to mostly neutralise his threat, with the Englishman’s pace proving to be a good match.
Walker was able to stick with Vinicius whenever he tried to break, with his defensive positioning crucial. He made four recoveries and won five of his six defensive duels, with it being no surprise that City fell apart after he was forced off.