MADRID ― Kevin De Bruyne netted a stunning equaliser with a rasping low strike to give Manchester City a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final first leg yesterday on a night of glorious goals in the Spanish capital.
The City midfielder powered home from distance in 67th minute after Vinicius Jr had opened the scoring in the first half with an equally sumptuous strike.
City dominated the match in the early stages but it was Real who took the lead as Vinicius netted a brilliant curling effort from the edge of the area that flew into the top-right corner with Real’s first shot on target in the 36th minute.
The holders got back on top in the second half and took control, but it was City who scored after they won possession high up the pitch and worked the ball to De Bruyne who drilled in with the outside of his boot to leave the tie poised ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg.
It was a frantic encounter at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu with the home fans spending the first half hour of the match on the edge of their seats as City started strongly.
Real struggled with City’s relentless pressure and the visitors dominated proceedings early and maintained control as the first half progressed.
Pep Guardiola’s team enjoyed a staggering 75 per cent ball possession for a large part of the first half and by the halfway point of the opening period City had recorded six attempts, with four on target, compared to none from Real.
But the hosts slowly started to get a foothold in midfield and started to test City on the counter, with Vinicius moving to a more central position, luring markers away from touchline and creating space for Eduardo Camavinga.
After Camavinga and Vinicius combined to create two half-chances, they nailed a textbook counter attack.
Camavinga burst down the left touchline and passed to Vinicius, who let fly with a missile from outside the area that shot into the corner of the net.
Real got on top in the second half and almost scored early on when Karim Benzema fired wide.
The France striker seemed off the pace, making uncharacteristic errors and misfiring with several attempts on goal.
It was after a poor pass from Benzema that Man City stopped another Real counter and, after recovering the ball high up the pitch after a poor attempt at a clearance by Camavinga, that De Bruyne netted the equaliser.
City keeper Ederson made two critical saves to keep the scores level ahead of next week’s return encounter.
“The tie remains open… we played a good game. They had possession early, yes, but no real chances… Too bad about the goal, we had more chances than they had,” Luka Modric told Movistar Plus.
“I don’t think anyone goes to the second leg with a mental edge. It’s an open tie, we already knew that this wasn’t going to end here at Santiago Bernabeu, that nobody was going to take an advantage to kill it today.
“The tie, before this game, was 50-50. And now, it’s still the same.” ― Reuters