Real Madrid vs Manchester City: As It Happened (1-2)
Real Madrid edged out Man City in the semi-finals four seasons ago (Photo: Adam Millington/VAVEL UK)


Save the date: Tuesday 17th March

That's all from me, Chris Lincoln, on a fantastic night for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.

Don't miss the second leg, it's set to be a cracker!


You have to fear for Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Sunday after this comeback.

But what does it do for Real's confidence ahead of el Clasico on Sunday?

50 up

That was KDB's 50th strike for City. What a time to bring up the landmark.

No Aguero, no problem

De Bruyne and Jesus, playing in inventive positions, manufactured seven key passes between them - as many as the entire Real team.

Despite Jesus spending so much time on the left, it was ironic that he popped up in the middle of the penalty area to net the equaliser.

De Bruyne adds another assist to his name and a rare penalty. What. A. Player.

Lyon held on to beat Juventus 1-0 to also secure a narrow advantage.

Even with City's defensive absentees, I'm not sure we have seen enough on tonight's evidence to suggest that Real will overturn the deficit in Manchester.

They had just nine shots to City's 14, only 49% of the ball and were less accurate with their passes by 2%.


A deserved advantage for the English side!


90+2' Mahrez loses Mendy from a deep cross but the Real left-back mishits a prod at goal.

Three minutes of injury time

90' Sterling cuts inside three white shirts before firing straight at Courtois.

A couple of minutes left. Do City take what they have? Or do they go for another and a bit more of a cushion for the second leg?

87' Mahrez strikes the free-kick under the wall but straight at Courtois.

Incidentally, Fulham scored in the 94th minute and Sheffield Wednesday netted in the 95th. Both are playing at home tonight...


86' Captain Ramos has gone!

Last man, he clips Jesus who is running through on goal just outside the penalty area.

The boy loves an early bath.

Double change for Real

84' Isco and Modric off, Luka Jovic and Lucas Vazquez on.


Where has this come from?!

De Bruyne comfortably sends Courtois the wrong way!

The substitute whips the ball past Carvajal and the right-back hacks him down. 

Captain De Bruyne steps up...


82' Sterling goes down!

Jesus goes close again!

79' Another header but this time City's striker can't get the ball on target from Mahrez' cross on the right.


Would you believe it?!

De Bruyne twists in the box before clipping a high ball towards Jesus. The Brazilian climbs above Sergio Ramos, possibly with the use of a hand, before nodding past Courtois!

Bale on

75' A relatively quiet night for Vinicius but a moment of composure saw him create the first, and possibly pivotal, goal in the tie. Bale replaces the 19-year old on the left.

Still no home goals in England or Scotland other than Havant and Waterlooville as games head towards injury time!

Sterling on

73' Raheem Sterling replaces Bernardo Silva.

Gareth Bale is also preparing to come on.

Fernandinho saves City

71' Fernandinho in the right place at the right time.

After one important block, he then gets his body in the way of a Sergio Ramos effort after Isco touched the ball down for him following a diagonal pass from the left.

Madrid are bossing the right side of the pitch, a couple of crosses going close to finding their targets.

Real look hungry for more. City now look lost.

What have you got Pep?


Otamendi and Rodri get themselves in a tangle before Luka Modric nips the ball away.

The former World Player of the Year feeds Vinicius who cuts inside Walker, selling himself for the first time tonight, before laying the ball across goal and an unmarked Isco slides the ball into the bottom corner.

Home goal incoming!

City believe

59' Even Fernandinho has a go, lashing an effort wide from range.

Isco did see a soft header nestle into Ederson's gloves at the other end.

Great save!

56' Mahrez twists and turns before stinging the palms of Courtois with a low effort.This game is beginning to heat up... Mahrez then finds himself in even more space, drifting behind the Real defence.

This time he fires an effort across Courtois but the giant goalkeeper gets down low to tip the effort away, as Ederson did from Benzema's header in the first half.

Modric booked for a late challenge. He definitely hasn't got the legs these days as Mahrez nips away.

Just wide!

49' Casemiro loses the ball and De Bruyne bursts away from Luka Modric. He feeds Riyad Mahrez on the right who cuts inside and curls an effort just past the top corner.

We have seen him bury many of those in the Premier League.


The second half is underway.

No changes and an early yellow card for Federico Valverde. He was also quiet in the opening 45.

Freezing at home

In fact, in 13 matches across the Champions League, Europa League, Championship, International Friendlies, National League South and Scottish League Two, only two sides have scored at home tonight.

Lyon and Havant and Waterlooville.

Braga lost 1-0 to Rangers in the Europa League earlier, whilst Bulgaria slipped to a defeat by the same scoreline against Belarus.

Problems for Ronaldo

Even a Real legend is struggling tonight.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus are 1-0 down to Lyon at half-time.

Only 3 goals in 7 Championship games so far...

Not one home side have scored.

Where next?

City have implemented this surprise tactic effectively. But IF the scoreline remains 0-0, where do they go next for the second leg at the Etihad?

The emphasis will be on them to attack as the home side but they will still hope to starve space between their defence and midfield - something they have done expertly in this first half.

No Mendy and possibly no Laporte could leave them slightly open in the return leg.

But we have plenty of football still to play tonight until then...

Bale and Kroos

Real Madrid desperately need an injection of energy.

Their full-backs are trying to get forward but Vinícius and Isco, in particular, have failed to make any sort of impact ahead of them.

The midfield trio have lacked creativity and Benzema has been starved of service with just one touch in the City box - albeit he went close to scoring with that header.

The hosts have manufactured just two other shots - from a central defender and defensive midfielder.

Half-time: Real Madrid 0-0 Manchester City

A quarter of the job done for Pep...

Off the line!

City nearly take the lead just before half-time!

Courtois flaps at a De Bruyne corner, Jesus mishits a volley that rebounds off Sergio Ramos' legs and is hacked clear by Casemiro!

2 minutes of injury time...

37' City look effective on the break.

De Bruyne sprays the ball to Jesus who clips the ball to Bernardo but he can't get any purchase on his strike with the ball rolling across his path of movement.

Laporte hobbles off

33' Huge blow for City. Aymeric Laporte hobbles out of just his fourth game since August and is replaced by Fernandinho.

Incidentally, a maximum of one Mendy will play in the return leg - Benjamin's booking will see him miss out in Manchester.

Great save!

30' After touching the ball just nine times, not once in the box, Ferland Mendy whips in a delightful cross for Karim Benzema whose header across goal is touched away by the despairing dive of Ederson.

The ball falls to Vinícius who slips as he stretches for the rebound.

28' De Bruyne and Mahrez combine, with the latter playing in the former after coming more central. The Belgian lashes high and wide.

Bernardo is playing inverted off the right. He has arguably been positioned further up the pitch without the ball than when City gain possession and he drops deep to impact the play.

City chance!

21' The tactic almost worked a treat.

De Bruyne threads through Jesus in between Varane and Carvajal, that exact position he is looking to exploit.

The Brazilian turns inside Varane but his strike is parried away by Thibaut Courtois.


Man City's tactical approach is fascinating.

Off the ball, Kevin De Bruyne is playing as a false nine with Gabriel Jesus moving to the left, tracking Dani Carvajal.

In possession, Jesus appears to look like he is trying to move more central with the likes of De Bruyne, Mahrez and Bernardo given a bit more freedom to roam.

16' Raphael Varane fires over from just outside the box as the hosts crank up the tempo.

10' No chances of note...yet. 

Vinícius has picked off a couple of impressive touches and Ferland Mendy always appears to be a willing runner on his outside.

3 minutes in and Laporte's laces are undone. Schoolboy. Ederson just keeps the ball at his feet.

City started with intent but Real have settled into a spell of possession.

Here we go!


Zizou and Pep embrace

What a central midfield partnership that would have been back in the day...

The Champions League tune is bellowing around the Bernabeu.

Will it be the last time City hear that anthem on their travels for at least two years?

Players are in the tunnel

And the atmosphere is ramping up!

Score predictions?

Drop me a tweet on @chrisbourne2win

I can't call it...

Here is the denim we told you about earlier...

'Score 5 goals in 10 minutes'

We hope Pep is right with his pre-match comments to BT Sport when answering what his team need to do tonight...

Why no Fernandinho?

Another eye-catching selection is Pep Guardiola's decision to leave Fernandinho on the bench.

But Ilkay Gundogan is the only City player to be deployed in every minute of their Champions League contests this season, over an hour ahead of Nicolas Otamendi and the rest of the squad.

Whilst Fernandinho is known for his tackling ability, Rodri averages 3.4 tackles per game in the Champions League, more than the rest of his teammates.

However, no City player has been dribbled past more times than the Spaniard this season.

Key Battle: Vinícius Júnior vs Walker

It will be interesting to see how the 19-year old Brazilian gets on in just his tenth start of the season.

A threat running with the ball, he could give Kyle Walker a torrid night after his surprise inclusion.

But he doesn't like to track back and the English full-back might enjoy the odd City counter-attack, doubling up with either Riyad Mahrez or Bernardo Silva against Ferland Mendy.

Key Battle: Benzema vs Laporte

Many of us were surprised that Pep Guardiola didn't bolster his defensive options during the January transfer window, heaping further emphasis on the form and fitness of Aymeric Laporte.

But the 25-year old hasn't completed 90 minutes since August and faces the man second only to Leo Messi in La Liga top scorers this season.

The man who normally controls the game doesn't start...

Key Battle: De Bruyne vs Casemiro

Kevin De Bruyne has at least doubled all but Trent Alexander-Arnold in number of Premier League assists this season.

You feel that City have to at least score in the Bernabeu tonight and the hosts will be looking to Casemiro to break up play in midfield.

The tenacious tackler recently admitted that he cancelled a family holiday to Disney World after seeing his side lose to rivals Atletico Madrid in a friendly last summer.

A friendly...

Man City XI

Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Mendy; Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Bernardo, Jesus

Real Madrid XI

Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Modric; Vinícius Júnior, Benzema, Isco


Talking of strong benches, Real Madrid have the likes of Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Marcelo who they can call upon. A bit of experience there...

Jesus starts

Gabriel Jesus has been rewarded for scoring the winner against Leicester on Saturday with a starting berth ahead of Sergio Aguero. 

How often do you see Aguero, Raheem Sterling and David Silva on the bench for City?

The best?

Both managers have been heaping praise on their respective opponents in the dugouts.

When asked who is the best coach in the world, Zidane told the media at his pre-match press conference: 

"He's (Pep) shown it at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. There are a lot of coaches, but I think it's him."

Appeal registered

BREAKING TODAY: The Court of Arbitration for Sport have registered Man City's appeal against their two-year ban from European club competition.

Making a statement

Whilst City will be looking to make a statement on the pitch, they have already made one off it...

The side have raised eyebrows with their 'double denim' attire for the trip to Madrid...

Start your engines...

This clash of the heavyweights is live on BT Sport but if you can't catch it on TV then make sure you join us on VAVEL UK from about an hour before kick-off for all the team news.

Can City finally deliver the knockout punch to their esteemed opponents? Or will Real continue to dominate the floor in this arena?

One thing is for certain, failure is not an option for either club...

The legend

And his opposing manager?

Zinedine Zidane has won all 12 of his Champions League knockout ties, nine across two legs and three in the final.

Oh, and he also won it as a player in 2002.

The abstract

Although this is a meeting of two of the richest and biggest clubs on the planet, there is an intriguing sideline.

Real's dominance in this competition is second to none, whilst City are yet to make their mark - although their dreams could be over before they have even started, for the next two years at least.

Pep Guardiola identified the discrepancy in his post-match press conference.

"This is the real test. The kings of this competition against one team who aren't used to playing these kind of games much, as our best performance was one semi-final. We have to show our personality."

Sterling returns, Hazard out

There are significant injury updates for both teams.

Raheem Sterling, City's top scorer in Europe this season, is available for the English club, whilst Eden Hazard is expected to be out for the remainder of the campaign with a fractured ankle.

Sterling provides extra impetus against a Real defence that have conceded just 17 goals in 25 La Liga games.

In contrast, Man City have shipped 29 in 27 Premier League matches, four more than Sheffield United. But Real have relied solely on Karim Benzema for their goals this season and have netted 16 less than Barca.

Massive week ahead

...and both clubs have important games on Sunday.

Real host Barcelona in El Clasico, whilst Man City play Aston Villa in the League Cup Final at Wembley.

Poor form

Neither side can boast particularly impressive form, each losing two of their last four in all competitions.

City are already out of the Premier League title race whilst Real Madrid's La Liga hopes were dealt a huge blow when they drew against Celta Vigo and lost just their second league game of the season against Levante last time out.

They are now two points behind Barcelona...


Whilst City have reached the Champions League knockout stages for the seventh consecutive season, Madrid will be starting a 23rd successive campaign past the group stages.

Winners of four trophies since 2014, they have lifted the top European silverware a remarkable 13 times.

Lack of goals?

Remarkably, that tie four seasons ago ended 1-0 on aggregate - an own goal by Manchester City's Fernando the only difference.

The likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Isco, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne all featured that evening. As did a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Spanish curse

City's problems in Europe extend past Madrid - they have been knocked out in each of their three last two-legged ties against Spanish clubs, twice by Barcelona and once against Los Blancos in the 2016 semi-finals.

The time is now

Manchester City have never beaten Real Madrid in the Champions League. And this could be their last chance in the foreseeable future.

If their two-year Champions League ban is to be upheld, it might be the final opportunity Pep Guardiola has to win the holy grail for the blue half of Manchester.

Fifth time lucky against the white half of Madrid?


Welcome to this battle of the Galacticos as Real Madrid host Manchester City in the last 16 of the 2019/20 Champions League.

I'm Chris Lincoln and I will be providing you with live updates and analysis of this huge encounter for both sides, right here on VAVEL UK.