Two outstanding strikes see Manchester City and Real Madrid battle out Champions League draw
Kevin De Bruyne struck a stunning equaliser as Manchester City claimed a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. The Belgian cancelled out an equally brilliant first-half effort from Vinicius Junior when he fired past international team-mate Thibaut Courtois from the edge of the area after 67 minutes in the Bernabeu Stadium. Treble-chasing City had dominated a lot of the early play but holders Real drew first blood in a tense battle when Vinicius lashed home from 25 yards after 36 minutes. The result leaves the tie delicately poised ahead of next week's return clash at the Etihad Stadium. City came into the fixture looking to avenge their loss to Real at the same stage last year and were not fazed by their return to the scene of their late capitulation in that tie. They started strongly, controlling possession in their usual confident manner and patiently looking to carve out opportunities. When the chances came they initially found Courtois in defiant mood. The former Chelsea number one saved well from De Bruyne before pushing away a Rodri effort and twice denying Erling Haaland. Real rarely got out of their own half early on but they did serve warning of their threat when Vinicius broke and centred for Karim Benzema but the Frenchman failed to control. As the first half wore on the hosts grew into the game and Ederson needed to be alert to prevent Benzema reaching a Rodrygo through-ball. The hosts snatched the lead after Eduardo Camavinga combined with Luka Modric and then played Vinicius through. The Brazilian sped onto the ball and unleashed a ferocious drive which flew past Ederson. City did not panic in response but Real then began testing their patience. Jack Grealish had come in for some rough treatment from Dani Carvajal since the start and things threatened to get out of hand when the Spaniard barged the City midfielder into the advertising hoardings. When Carvajal held out an arm to help the Englishman up, Grealish attempted to push him away and Carvajal flung himself to the ground theatrically. Portuguese referee Artur Dias let that incident go but did get out his yellow card soon after when Toni Kroos fouled Ilkay Gundogan after one of several skirmishes between the Germany team-mates. City manager Pep Guardiola was far from happy with the officials as the first half drew to a close and Real's spoiling tactics continued after the break. City tried to avoid the distractions and went close again when De Bruyne broke clear but Courtois stuck out a hand to save at close range. David Alaba produced a fine tackle to prevent Haaland shooting. The visitors had to do some defending too and they conceded a succession of corners before Federico Valverde shot narrowly over. Yet City were not flustered and they equalised in the 67th minute with a superb strike from De Bruyne. This time Courtois had no chance as De Bruyne fired into the bottom corner from just outside the area. Real manager Carlo Ancelotti was booked amid some commotion on the touchline as De Bruyne celebrated. Real finished strongly and Ederson produced fine saves to keep out a header from Benzema and a long-range shot from Aurelien Tchouameni.
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