|Phil Foden celebrates after scoring in the second half to hand City a two-goal lead but that didn't last long. It eventually ended 4-3 to the Cityzens. (Photo credit: UCL)|
The champions league game between Manchester City and Real Madrid offered us everything we want in a movie, legends of the game in the dugouts and on the pitch, future stars walking in the footsteps of their idols, and goals that tell a story of why we love the game; it was a special night at the Etihad.
It was always going to be magical; Kevin De Bruyne warmed us to an electrifying start with a crisp finish that caught the visitors unaware; the moments that followed suggested that Real Madrid would need help from somewhere; Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 before they could get a hold on the game. From there on, it became a simple pendulum affair.
Who else? Has to be Karim Benzema! The contender for the player of the year found the back of the net to half the deficit after the hour mark; Manchester City created many chances but couldn’t bury any of them as the half ended with the hosts in front but by a single goal margin.
There was a gap for the City to manage; the absence of the due of Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker to suspension and injuries, respectively, meant John Stones and Oleg Zinchenko stood in for them, but Real Madrid exploited both flanks to good effects in the second half.
If the legends were making it their night, one of the presents, tip-toeing into the future, took laws into his own hands to give the hosts a breathing space; Phil Foden got on the end of a Fernandinho assist in scoring City’s third of the night, but another youngster on the other side had something to say almost immediately.
Vinicius Jr reduced the deficit just two minutes after Foden’s strike to make it 3-2, but the pendulum wasn’t ready to stop swinging. Bernardo Silva scored to make it four for the hosts, and Benzema came up with his thirteenth goal of the UCL season from the spot after Aymeric Laporte was adjudged to have handled in the City area.
The 4-3 was more of a movie than a football match and we can’t wait for the second leg in a week at the Santiago Bernabeu.