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FootballMan City 1-1 Real Madrid (4-4 agg, 3-4 pens): Holders suffer penalty...

Man City 1-1 Real Madrid (4-4 agg, 3-4 pens): Holders suffer penalty heartache

Real Madrid ended Manchester City’s hopes of back-to-back trebles with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the Champions League quarter-finals, with Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic both failing to convert from the spot.

Pep Guardiola’s side dominated for long periods after Rodrygo – who memorably scored twice against City in the 2022 semi-finals – gave Madrid an early lead, and Kevin De Bruyne’s equaliser took them to extra time.

However, City were unable to force a winner and ultimately suffered penalty heartache, with Andriy Lunin keeping out dreadful kicks from Silva and Kovacic to swing it Madrid’s way after Ederson denied Luka Modric.

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Ederson stepped up to convert a must-score penalty for City, but Antonio Rudiger held his nerve to slot home the decisive kick, avenging Madrid’s 4-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in last year’s semi-finals.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men will now face Bayern Munich for a place in June’s final at Wembley Stadium, with English interest in the competition over after the Bundesliga giants beat Arsenal 3-2 on aggregate.

City dominated possession early on, but Madrid went ahead from their first real attack. Kyle Walker played Vinicius Junior onside as he escaped down the right to cross for Rodrygo, and though the Brazilian’s first attempt was kept out by Ederson, he made no mistake with the rebound.

That goal spurred the hosts into action, and they went agonisingly close to a swift equaliser when Erling Haaland headed against the crossbar and the loose ball bounced wide off Silva.

City continued to push but were twice denied by Lunin either side of half-time, Madrid’s stand-in goalkeeper pushing De Bruyne’s fierce drive to safety then parrying Jack Grealish’s volley.

The visitors were forced deeper and deeper as City made it a game of attack-versus-defence, and their pressure finally told with 76 minutes played. Rudiger made a mess of clearing Jeremy Doku’s low cross, and De Bruyne was on hand to hammer into the roof of the net from close range.

De Bruyne should have completed the turnaround five minutes later, but he blazed over after being found by Manuel Akanji’s cutback in a miss that would later prove costly.

Both Haaland and Vinicius were withdrawn shortly after the end of the 90 as the pattern of the game remained set in stone, but Madrid should have gone ahead in the 105th minute when Rudiger somehow prodded over the crossbar from close range.

That was the final clear-cut chance as two tiring teams went to penalties. Things looked to be going City’s way when Ederson pushed Modric’s kick away, but Silva and Kovacic both failed to beat Lunin – the former chipping a terrible penalty straight into his hands.

Ederson slotted City’s fifth attempt home to keep them in it, but Rudiger made up for his extra-time miss with the all-important kick, rolling his effort into the bottom-left corner to dump the champions out.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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