Bernabéu fortress hosts stellar showdown
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Real Madrid CF will hope to continue last season's unstoppable European home form when they take on a Manchester City FC side aiming for more in the UEFA Champions League.
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Real Madrid CF and Manchester City FC meet for the first time when the nine-time continental champions kick off their Group D campaign against the European game's new pretenders at the Santiago Bernabéu.
• The match brings together the champions of Spain and England with Madrid beaten semi-finalists for the past two seasons and City keen to improve on their group stage elimination on their 2011/12 UEFA Champions League debut.
• Madrid won six straight home matches in last season's competition, scoring 24 goals. Including the 4-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur FC in the 2010/11 quarter-finals, Madrid have a home record of W5 D4 L2 against English visitors.
• City lost three of five games on their European travels in 2011/12 as they finished behind FC Bayern München and SSC Napoli in UEFA Champions League Group A and fell to Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. However, they did win 3-0 at Villarreal CF, their first victory in Spain at the fourth attempt.
• José Mourinho replaced Roberto Mancini as FC Internazionale Milano coach in 2008. Mourinho had got the better of the Italian when FC Porto beat Mancini's S.S. Lazio 4-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup.
• Mourinho suffered his first defeat as Chelsea FC manager against City – 1-0 in Manchester in October 2004 – but ended with a record of W4 D1 L1 against them.
• Mourinho has a good record in the UEFA Champions League against English clubs, starting with Porto's 3-2 aggregate success against Manchester United FC in the 2003/04 round of 16. His Inter side lost to United (2-0 agg) at the same stage in 2008/09 but beat Chelsea (3-1 agg) in the last 16 a year later. Then, in 2010/11 with Madrid, Mourinho oversaw home and away quarter-final wins over Tottenham (5-0 agg).
• As a UC Sampdoria player Mancini lost the 1988/89 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup finals against FC Barcelona. He helped Lazio defeat RCD Mallorca 2-1 to claim the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
• As a coach, Mancini's Inter were eliminated from the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals by Villarreal.
• As a Manchester United player, Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in 11 derbies against City, winning seven and losing three. He scored four goals but also collected two red cards, both away from home.
• Álvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso (both Liverpool FC), Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Essien (both Chelsea) and Luka Modrić (Tottenham) also faced City in the Premier League.
• Modrić was in the Tottenham side that won 1-0 at City in May 2010 to earn UEFA Champions League qualification at their opponents' expense.
• Arbeloa scored an own goal to give City a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in February 2009.
• Essien hit the opening goal in Chelsea's 6-0 home defeat of City in October 2007. The next season he got the only goal as Chelsea beat City again at Stamford Bridge.
• Javi García started his career at Madrid and made 18 Liga appearances before joining SL Benfica in 2009.
• Scott Sinclair made four Chelsea appearances under Mourinho while Maicon was part of the Portuguese coach's 2010 UEFA Champions League-winning side with Inter.
• Sergio Agüero failed to win a single derby match at Club Atlético de Madrid despite scoring three goals, suffering eight defeats in 11 attempts against the Merengues.
• Twice a Spanish champion with Barcelona, Yaya Touré appeared five times against Madrid, winning three times and losing twice.
• David Silva (RC Celta de Vigo, Valencia CF) and Pablo Zabaleta (RCD Espanyol) also faced Madrid during their time in the Spanish Liga.
• Karim Benzema took on Joe Hart, goalscorer Joleon Lescott and James Milner in France's 1-1 draw with England at UEFA EURO 2012, Samir Nasri equalising for Les Bleus. Alonso hit both goals in Spain's quarter-final defeat of a France side including Benzema, Nasri and Gaël Clichy.
• With Italy, Mario Balotelli met Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Alonso, Arbeloa and Silva in two matches at UEFA EURO 2012 – the 1-1 group stage draw and Spain's 4-0 final triumph.