Man City vs Real Madrid: Confidence surging through City’s veins after clawing back into Champions League tie
Jack Grealish warned Real Madrid that Manchester City feel “unstoppable” at Etihad Stadium as they look to book a place in the Champions League Final.
City are in a strong position going into the second leg of their semi-final after securing a 1-1 draw in Madrid last night.
Vinicius Junior opened the scoring in the first half, but City hit back after the break, thanks to a brilliant strike from Kevin De Bruyne.
Pep Guardiola’s side host Madrid in the second leg next Wednesday and they are currently on an English record 25-game unbeaten run at home in the Champions League.
“At the moment, we feel unstoppable at the Etihad,” said Grealish (right, last night). “We have a new team, with different players from a year ago. One thing is that we’ve learned so much from last year.
“We have the perfect balance of experience and a few youngsters, like Phil [Foden] and Erling [Haaland]. Youngsters like that who are just world class.
“And then we have the experience. We just have quality. I swear I’ve never felt so confident going onto the pitch and just having these players around me.”
City dominated large parts of the game last night, with Madrid happy to sit deep and hit them on the counter.
Vinicius’s goal in the 36th minute was Madrid’s first shot on target and the fear for City was that all their possession would count for nothing. De Bruyne, however, stepped up to the plate midway through the second-half by arrowing a 25-yard strike into the bottom corner.
“In the end, Kev comes up with an absolute worldie,” said Grealish. “Nights like this are made for him. I said to myself that we’ll only score from a shot from the edge of the box. We had a few in the first half.
“When it fell to Kev, it was unbelievable. We see it every day in training, you wouldn’t choose anyone else for it to fall to. You can’t count how many times he’s scored important goals and got important assists.”
Madrid, however, were unhappy with De Bruyne’s equaliser, as they believed the ball went out of play in the build-up to the goal being scored.
“The ball was off the pitch,” said Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti. “Technology said it and I don’t understand why VAR didn’t check it. The referee didn’t pay attention to many things.”
City are chasing a treble and will now quickly turn their attention to Premier League action against Everton on Sunday.
Guardiola opted to make no substitutes during last night’s game, which means he could be forced to rotate his side this weekend. Julian Alvarez, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez were all left on the bench last night and look primed to start at Everton, with City hoping to extend their one-point lead over second-placed Arsenal.
“Now it is time to recover. We play on Sunday, which for the Premier League is good, because we have one more day,” said Guardiola.
“But for the Champions League it’s not good. Now we recover and prepare for the game at Goodison Park. One game at a time.”