Real Madrid draw with Man City in 6-goal, first-leg thriller

April 9, 2024, 5:29 PM

Real Madrid and Manchester City slugged out a thrilling 3-3 draw in a rip-roaring Champions League quarterfinal clash in the Spanish capital on Tuesday, leaving the tie between the last two holders of the trophy wide open for the second leg next week.

The Madrid crowd was left stunned two minutes into the match when City's Bernardo Silva took advantage of a one-man wall to drill a free kick from outside the area just inside Andriy Lunin's right-hand post to give the visitors the lead.

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To make things worse, Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, playing as an emergency centre-back, was shown a yellow card for the foul on Jack Grealish that led to the goal and will miss the return leg in Manchester next Wednesday.

But Eduardo Camavinga helped level the scores after 12 minutes when his long-range strike deflected off defender Ruben Dias for an own goal after wrongfooting keeper Stefan Ortega.

Two minutes later Vinicius Junior delivered a brilliant through ball that Rodrygo took in his stride before his weak goal-bound shot was deflected by Manuel Akanji to give the hosts the lead.

Madrid had the momentum and should have extended their lead, but were wasteful. Rodrygo misfired twice from the edge of the box late in the first half and then Vinicius blasted a close-range strike over the bar early in the second half.

City piled on the pressure and levelled in the 66th minute through a stunning Phil Foden strike into the top corner and went ahead when Josko Gvardiol fired home five minutes later with an equally sublime finish.

But Federico Valverde's glorious volley in the 79th rescued a draw for Real on another epic Champions League night that left the fans eager for more in the return leg in Manchester.

"[The equaliser] lifts your spirits a bit for the return leg," Valverde said after the match. "A draw is a bit like last year, it feels like a defeat.

"The most important thing is we knew how to respond to the goal, scoring twice in a few minutes, that motivated us. Then we rested a bit and that wasn't good, we stopped pressing a bit due to tiredness and they have good players.

"We both played a great game."

The game was played despite multiple social media posts from the Al-Azaim Foundation -- a media arm of ISIS-K -- calling for attacks at stadiums hosting Champions League quarterfinal matches.

European football's governing body, UEFA, said it was aware of the threats, but that the matches would proceed as planned.

It is the third consecutive encounter between the clubs in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Madrid eliminated City in the semifinals in 2022, while City got the best of Madrid at the same stage last year. Both teams went on to win the title after eliminating their rivals.

The game also marked Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti's 200th game in the dugout in the Champions League. The 64-year-old Italian has the most appearances as coach in the European tournament, as well as the most titles (four) and victories (114).

Man City coach Pep Guardiola entered the match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with the second most Champions League victories as a coach, with 109 wins in 168 appearances.

The second leg will be played at The Etihad on April 17, with a spot in the semifinals on the line.

"I'd rather play the second leg at home than at the Bernabeu, with past experience," Guardiola said. "But favourites? Against the kings of this competition? No, the favourites will be those who play best, but our fans will help us for sure."

Guardiola left playmaker Kevin De Bruyne out of his starting lineup after the Belgian felt sick in the locker room prior to the match.

"When we arrived here in the locker room ... he started to vomit when we arrived and he didn't feel good to play," Guardiola said. "The secret at the high level is to adapt."

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this story.