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Manchester City’s treble hopes dashed – lost to Real Madrid in penalty drama

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Antonio Rüdiger pounces in triumph in front of his teammates after scoring the decisive penalty as Real Madrid knocked defending champions Manchester City out of the Champions League. Photo: Dave Thompson, AP / NTB

Of NTB | 18.04.2024 00:13:57

Sport: Erling Braut Haaland had a nod on the crossbar, but he also failed to score against Real Madrid on Wednesday. He was replaced before extra time and had to watch as the team relinquished the Champions League crown.

Ederson saved Real’s first penalty from Luka Modric, but Bernardo Silva gave away the advantage by easing a panenka straight into Andrej Lunin’s lap. Then Lunin also saved Mateo Kovacic’s shot.

Antonio Rüdiger scored the decisive penalty to make it 4-3 and ensure there will be no English team in the final at Wembley on 1 June. Two German, one French and one Spanish team are fighting for the final places.

– We had to suffer a lot today, but we are Real Madrid, We always fight to the end, said the winning team’s captain Nacho to Movistar.

– We are not used to being put under such pressure, but we showed a new side. We showed that we can defend deep and win. I get goosebumps just talking about it. We made it a magical evening.

Haaland and his teammates dominated the rest of the match in both play and chances, but struggled to outwit Lunin in the Real Madrid goal.

Kevin De Bruyne equalized in the 76th minute after a rare mistake by Real Madrid stopper Rüdiger. Substitute Jéremy Doku came forward on the left and scored. Rüdiger feebly cleared De Bruyne’s right and at the same time fell on his bum so that he could only watch as the Belgian smashed 1-1 into the roof of the net.

De Bruyne had a couple of great chances to score the winner before normal time, but he blew the ball over from a free position in the 82nd minute.

Haaland was replaced by Julian Álvarez before extra time.

After a cautious opening to the game from both teams, it was Real Madrid who gained the upper hand with a goal in the 12th minute, after sluggish defensive play by City.

Dani Carvajal struck wide from the edge deep in his own half. Jude Bellingham stood and wondered right on his own side of the halfway line and was thus onside. He took the ball down and played to Federico Valverde, who played Vinicius Junior on the wing. The Brazilian challenged Ruben Dias and cut in to his compatriot Rodrygo, who was all alone in the box when Kyle Walker slipped and fell. Ederson saved the first shot, but had no chance on the rebound.

Real Madrid thus had a 4-3 lead on aggregate. From there, it was to be a defensive battle against a City team that dominated.

The return went straight to Bernardo, but he couldn’t shuffle his feet, and the ball ended up wide.

A little later, De Bruyne tried his shot from 20 metres, but Lunin threw himself at full length and struck out. Then Nacho was crushed by Haaland in an aerial duel, but no City player reached the header before the goalkeeper grabbed the ball.

In the 36th minute, Haaland moved elegantly past two opponents and set up Grealish, who, hard pressed by Rüdiger, went for a shot instead of playing the Norwegian in the middle. It was just a corner.

At half-time, the Uefa statistics showed 13-5 in finishes, 43-5 in dangerous attacks, 9-0 in corners and 61-39 in possession, all to City, but 0-1 in goals.

Then Phil Foden got the ball in the rebound area after a corner kick, but he didn’t get enough speed on the ball to outwit Lunin.

City continued to press and the chances came even closer after Doku came on for Grealish in the 72nd minute. De Bruyne not only scored the equalizing goal, he also had the two biggest ones to decide in the closing minutes of the 2nd half, but both shots went over.

Rüdiger was about to make up for his mistake in extra time in the 1st extra period, but shot inches wide on a Brahim Diaz through ball. It was the biggest chance in the extra half hour. Before the penalties, it was 34-8 in finishes, 120-19 in dangerous attacks, 18-1 in corner kicks. Rüdiger was to be the match winner there anyway, an honor he must share with Lunin to the highest degree.

An early goal behind after poor defensive play made it difficult for Pep Guardiola’s men. Rodrygo had two chances alone with goalkeeper Ederson in the 12th minute and sent Real ahead both in the second leg and overall.

Before the match, Haaland received the golden boot as top scorer in last season’s Champions League. It is also a title he has to give up. He has never scored against Real Madrid, not even when the team won 4-0 in the semi-final last year after a draw in the away game. After 3-3 in Madrid, City were to repeat the feat, but it became more difficult this year.

In the 19th minute it should have been 1-1. De Bruyne was played forward on the right, and goalkeeper Andrej Lunin barely hit his cross into the box. Bernardo Silva and Toni Kroos had a duel for the ball, which flew up into the air. Bernardo nodded it into the middle, where Haaland beat Valverde in the air and nodded into the crossbar away from the cross while Lunin stood and watched.

The second half started as the first ended, with City pressing and chances. Grealish put Lunin to the test with a hard shot, before De Bruyne in the 51st minute raided and played through against Haaland. Nacho reached the ball first, took it around his own player and then cleared just in front of the goal line, with the Norwegian hot on his heels.

(© NTB)

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