Football

Match of Real significance for a Man City side chasing European glory

City aim for European glory before 2-year ban kicks in

Manchester City may be set to go to war with Uefa, but time is of the essence for the English champions to satisfy their quest to win the Champions League.

City head to the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow morning (Singapore time), knowing that failure to beat Real Madrid over two legs could be their final European adventure for two years.

    ROUND OF 16, 1ST LEG
REAL MADRID MAN CITY

Uefa slapped a two-season ban on City earlier this month for breaching Financial Fair Play rules, but City have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In the meantime, Pep Guardiola's men have to finally get it right on the field to satisfy City's long wait to conquer Europe.

Even before the latest body blow of a European ban, the City support have not been enamoured by their new status as Champions League regulars.

A run to the semi-finals before being beaten by Real in 2015/16 is their best-ever showing in the competition.

Despite rewriting the history books domestically, Guardiola's star-studded squad have fallen at the quarter-finals to English opposition in the past two seasons.

LACK OF FIREPOWER

While it is expected that City will have it tough against the 13-time European Cup winners, Real have been struggling with goals this season.

Their problems in attack are well expressed in their list of goalscorers. Karim Benzema leads the way with 13 La Liga strikes, followed by Sergio Ramos with five, then midfielder Casemiro, who has three.

Benzema made a flying start to this campaign, but the Frenchman's form has since nosedived - he has scored only two goals in his last 11 matches.

Injuries have limited Eden Hazard to 15 appearances, in which he has scored once, and the Belgian is ruled out for the next two months after fracturing his ankle against Levante.

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, has not scored since September, while Brazilian wingers Rodrygo and Vinicius offer plenty of promise but little consistency.

The lack of a reliable goalscorer, however, does not worry Ramos, who has lifted four Champions League titles with Real.

"We have been creating lots of chances, doing many things right and I don't think we're lacking goals, we haven't all season," said the Real captain.

"We have an ideal chance to make a real statement by winning this match." - AFP, REUTERS

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