Football

Man City eliminate Real Madrid from Champions League

CHAMPS LGE: R16, L2
MAN CITY REAL MADRID
2 1
(Raheem Sterling 9, Gabriel Jesus 68)

*Man City win 4-2 on aggregate
(Karim Benzema 28)

Manchester City reached the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Real Madrid 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday morning (Aug 8, Singapore time), with scorers Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus taking advantage of dreadful errors by Raphael Varane.

Having beaten the 13-time European champions at home and away, City will now head to Lisbon for the Final Eight tournament where they will face Lyon, who knocked out Juventus, on Aug 16 (3am, S'pore time).

Real, trailing 2-1 from the first-leg were without suspended skipper and defensive lynchpin Sergio Ramos and it showed, with the Spanish side looking shaky at the back throughout.

Pep Guardiola’s City side were confident and focused and avoiding the kind of defensive lapses that have cost them in the knockout stage in previous campaigns.

Instead, it was Real whose frailty was exposed and they made a disastrous start, gifting City a ninth-minute opener.

Frenchman Varane, having received a pass inside his own area from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, was robbed by City forward Jesus and he slipped the ball to Sterling who slotted home.

There was a strong response from the Spanish champions, with City goalkeeper Ederson forced into fine saves to keep out efforts from Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard.

Ederson could do nothing, however, to keep out a bullet header from Benzema in the 28th minute, the Frenchman rising to power home a superb pin-point cross from Rodrygo.

But Real’s defensive uncertainty was highlighted again three minutes before the interval when Courtois cleared straight to Kevin de Bruyne who quickly fed Phil Foden, but the youngster’s shot flashed just wide.

City created plenty of chances after the break but lacked the killer touch and it took another piece of calamitous defending by Varane to decide the tie in the 68th minute.

Having initially failed to head clear a long ball, Varane’s attempted header back to Courtois was too weak and Jesus was alert again, nipping in to flick it past the goalkeeper and make the score 2-1 on the night.

“We wanted to be right on them and from our pressing we got two goals,” said Sterling, who got his 100th goal for the club.

“We know how good they are, we know how good we are and the difference was who would run the most and I thought we were brilliant,” he added. – REUTERS

Football