FOOTBALL: Manchester City Versus Real Madrid Ends In A Stalemate

It was supposed to be a classic semifinal with goals but the moment the starting line up came out and Cristiano Ronaldo was left out for failing a fitness test,the Manchester city fans would’ve been buoyed about it but then,the game didn’t live up to the hype prior to the start.

Karim Benzema couldn't step up in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo
Karim Benzema couldn’t step up in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo

The first half started in a dull pace with both teams trying to be disciplined,more cautious in defence and pretty lethergic in attack.The fact that the best chances came near the end, four from Real Madrid and one from City in injury time that constituted their only shot on target all game was a real proof.Madrid threatened to land a few of those in the second half. Having impressed only with their organisation for much of the match, they could have scored four times after the break, hitting the bar and producing two outstanding saves from Joe Hart. Madrid captain Sergio Ramos should have done better with a free header after 54 minutes, Vincent Kompany having lost his man, and with 20 minutes remaining a cross from Lucas Vazquez the replacement for the injured Ronaldo, homegrown no less — picked out substitute Jese. His header went on a high arc, defeating Hart, but hitting the bar, the only time all evening that England’s goalkeeper was at a loss.That Jese was even on, however, shows the opportunity Manchester City spurned. Ronaldo did not make it to the starting blocks, Benzema pulled out halfway, with Jese his half-time replacement. Yet still Madrid’s goal remained largely untroubled. City may have enjoyed periods of good possession, but the best chances fell to Madrid.

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A corner from the right after 79 minutes picked out Brazilian defensive screen Casemiro — one of the night’s outstanding players, which says a lot about the balance of play — but his header was superbly stopped by Hart, with his feet, in the manner of David de Gea. A free-kick for Madrid on the edge of the area a minute later also looked dangerous but Gareth Bale blasted it tamely into the wall.From the corner, Hart made the save of the night. Headed on by Bale, the ball fell to Pepe in so much space he was initially presumed offside. A flag went up, then down, and in that split-second Hart threw himself at the danger as if smothering a grenade.Pepe hit his shot hard, but it cannoned off Hart. It was a magnificent stop. Hart didn’t have much to do, but what he did proved vital.City will not be without injury woes in the second leg, either. The loss of David Silva is not the hammer blow it would once have been but what appeared to be a hamstring tweak after 40 minutes could keep him out for the remainder of the season. If that is bad news for Silva, however, it may even be worse for Raheem Sterling, whose £50million transfer from Liverpool is in danger of veering into ‘what-a-waste-of-money’ territory. Surely he would have been the perfect, like-for-like replacement for Silva, an inventive presence coming inside from the left flank and linking up with Sergio Aguero. Apparently not. Instead it was Kelechi Iheanacho’s number that was held up and the warm reception from the home support confirmed this was not considered a maverick call by Manuel Pellegrini. There were no moans, no exclamations of surprise. They wanted the teenager, too, and while Iheanacho had a quiet game, Sterling’s late arrival did nothing to convince that he should have been favoured.

Both teams definately have a lot of work to do in the second leg as Manchester city would go into the game,knowing a sucker punching first goal would require Realmadrid to score twice to qualify while Realmadrid will be confident of getting that vital win especially with the fact that their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo would be back.

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Chukwuyem Ogala is a content writer at Edliner. A multifaceted personality with a degree in Economics. He has a strong passion for Rap music and sports. A big fan of the NBA, likes Rafael Nadal and has a crush on Serena Williams. Chuks just strives to be better and wants to be heard globally.

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