Opinion: Champions League draw should see Man City progress at Real Madrid’s expense

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It was a Champions League semi-final first-leg tie that really lived up to its top billing, and with a 1-1 draw the final outcome, Pep Guardiola’s Man City side will be happier than the hosts Real Madrid.

Los Blancos did strike first through a Vinicius Junior special, but prior to the Brazilian’s intervention, it had been all City.

There can rarely have been a stat during a game at the Santiago Bernabeu where the visiting team had so much possession in the opening exchanges:

Where Guardiola needs to get it right in the second leg back at the Etihad Stadium, is ensuring that his strikers and attacking midfielders take full advantage when the chances fall their way.

On another night, City could’ve had two or three but it wasn’t to be. However, what they did show is that they’re able to control the tempo of the game and have a storied team like Real Madrid on the back foot and dancing to their tune.

It’s likely to be a whole different ball game in the second leg with Real needing to be a little more open as they look to quieten the home fans.

If they do so and don’t play in the low block that characterised their showing in the first leg, that will almost certainly be exploited.

Carlo Ancelotti’s will need to play a perfect match in order to reach yet another final, and that might be beyond them in the pressure cooker that will greet them in England.

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