Three things that stood out in Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Open sights and two world players

It was the highest scoring semifinal in Champions League history. And it was (perhaps) also the most spectacular.

What Manchester City and Real Madrid offered in Skyblues’ 4-3 victory in 94 minutes was attacking football at its best. When it came to defense, however, both teams left much to be desired.

City led Los Blancos in the first half hour, scoring twice early and adding two more goals in the second half. But Real Madrid also showed their excellent comeback qualities this season at the Etihad Stadium that evening.

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There are many things that stood out in this open exchange, we chose these three.

1. World footballer Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne has been an undisputed solid man at Manchester City for years. The Belgian has always won over known competition; it was relatively indifferent to him being committed again for x million.

And year after year, the Belgian is also among the extended circle of favorites for the nomination of the best football player. That he never had a real chance to win is due to the lack of a major title in the club or with the national team.

After the bankruptcy in the last Champions League final against Chelsea, where De Bruyne had to be replaced after almost an hour injured, he has another chance to (finally) get the handle. The starting position for another entry to the final is not unfavorable after 4: 3 against Real Madrid – and De Brunye played a big role in it.

Manchester City: De Bruyne (left) and Foden (right) cheer

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Outstanding was his run in front of the quick opening goal (2nd), lightning-smart the sharp pass to the six-yard field before Jesus made it 2-0, his direct pass to Phil Foden was brilliant, giving City a great chance.

When De Bruyne was in ball possession, he either pushed or moved between the chains, looking for space, as he did when he headed the goal. In the fight against the ball, he worked non-stop in the front press line.

“Amazon Prime” commentator Jonas Friedrich said in the middle of the first half about the 30-year-old: “The best world football player who was never a world football player.” Probably true. But a Champions League title can change a lot in this regard.

2. World football player Karim Benzema

What applies to De Bruyne, in essence, also applies to Karim Benzema. He has won many major titles with Real Madrid, but has always been overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos or Luka Modric.

Last year, the Frenchman was relatively close to winning the World Cup, but lost to Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.

That was obviously motivation enough for Benzema to go one step further. With his brace in Manchester, he increased his goal quota to 41 in 41 competitive matches in 2021/22. He has already scored nine times in this season’s knockout phase of the leading club competition, only Ronaldo was one goal better in 2016/17. But Benzema has at least one more match to break the record.

That Real Madrid is still alive is once again thanks to their striker. In his 600th match for Real, Benzema scored the goal to make it 2-1 almost out of nowhere. He even started the goal by winning a tackle and then showed Ferland Mendy the crosser exactly where he wanted the ball to go. Mendy delivered, Benzema hit mercilessly.

When Real looked to fall apart for the fifteenth time in the match at the score 2-4, City defender Aymeric Laporte grabbed the ball after an air duel with Benzema.

In the last league match against Osasuna, the Frenchman missed two penalty kicks. Nevertheless, he came back and chipped the ball under the crossbar in the best Panenka manner. “He has to pee ice cubes as cool as he is,” Jonas Friedrich commented.

Expert Mario Gomez added that “the right masters need the special excitement in such situations and then deliver it”.

Benzema’s teammate David Alaba has not been able to think of anything for a long time as he has been asked to rate his captain’s performance. “You can not put into words what he has done week after week this season. Karim is incredible and we are obviously happy that he is with us,” the Austrian said after the match.

Kevin De Bruyne and Karim Benzema – two potential football players in the world crowned the show.

3. Naive cannot be defended

As excellent as both teams had in the attack, the defensive performance was sometimes miserable.

In the early stages, Real could not get a foot on the ground when playing against the ball. The gap between the back four and the midfield was far too large, and so was the gap between the two central defenders and the gap between the central and wing backs.

To make matters worse, Alaba hit the ball before Jesus made it 2-0 (11th) when Real were outnumbered (!) In their own penalty area.

“If you make mistakes like we did, don’t be surprised if you get four goals,” Dani Carvajal said. Coach Carlo Ancelotti also complained that “we did not do well in defense in the beginning”.

But City also made hair-raising mistakes at times. When the score was 3: 1, Vinícius Júnior ran 60 meters (!) Alone against goalkeeper Ederson, without anyone stopping him. Fernandinho had let himself be filled with a simple body trick, and without any defender wanting to cover or at least block Vinícius Júnior’s path to goal, it hit again.

“It’s our own fault that we did not win higher,” Phil Foden told BT Sport. “We had Real in the bag, but we did not take too many chances in front and allowed a little too much behind.”

Both teams played with open visors – apparently without regard to losses. “Meanwhile, no one really has the defense,” analyzed “Amazon Prime” expert Patrick Owomoyela.

Bad for Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, who need to rebuild their defense for next week’s second match in Madrid. But good for all fans who love football because of games like this.

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