Tuesday 17th May, 8pm
Man City @ 8/13
Draw @ 18/5
Real Madrid @ 9/2
City to qualify @ 10/29
Real Madrid to qualify @ 13/5
Pep’s final hurdle (almost)
Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final feels like Pep Guardiola’s most important City game. Following last weeks 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, where two moments of brilliance from De Bruyne and Vinicus Jr settled a somewhat cagey affair, City go into the game as clear favourites. Their last loss at home in the champions league came back in 2018, a 2-1 loss to Lyon, and they will again be relying on their home form to get them over the line.
Although neither Milan team can be written off, it is generally viewed that if City get through Wednesday night, they will have too much in the final for either. Despite everything pointing towards a City victory, if there is one team that can spoil the party, especially in a champions league, it is Los Blancos.
The kings of the Champions League
Real Madrid are the undisputed Kings of Europe, with the famous Spanish giants steeped in European pedigree. They have won the European Cup 14 times in their history, while City have never had European success.
They learned the hard way that Madrid are tough to beat in this competition, when just last season, Madrid scored in the 90th and 91st minute to take the game to extra time, for Benzema to then win the game with a penalty. If City are to go one step further than last year, they must overcome the seemingly unbreakable hold Real Madrid have in Europe, and with Erling Haaland, they may just have the weapon to get the job done.
City’s trump card
Erling Haaland has scored 35 goals in just 28 UEFA Champions League appearances, rewriting the record books in the process. Incredibly, at just 22, he is already 19th on the all-time Champions League scorers list, ahead of the likes of Kaka, Rooney and Samuel Eto’o.
City brought Haaland with games of this stature in mind, where it may be one half-chance that decides things. They will be hoping their talisman delivers and finally brings European success that both Pep and their owners have been striving for since they took the reins.
City were able to rest Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish and John Stones from their starting line-up during their 3-0 win at Goodison Park. However, Rodri’s fitness is a concern after he was forced off with a knock late in the game.
This will be a real worry for Guardiola, with the player having cemented himself as a vital cog in the City wheel over the last couple of seasons. However, there is good news, as Nathan Ake has made a speedy recovery from his injury, and is believed to be in contention for Wednesday’s game. They will need all their big players fit and firing to get past the Real Madrid juggernaut.
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