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Real Madrid 1-1 Man City: De Bruyne strike restricts holders to first-leg draw

Kevin De Bruyne's stunning equaliser helped Premier League leaders Manchester City peg back holders Real Madrid after Vinícius Júnior's spectacular opener in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

Highlights: Real Madrid 1-1 Man City (available from midnight where you are)

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City came from a goal down to deny holders Real Madrid victory in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie, which produced two strikes worthy of any stage.

Key moments

8': Courtois denies De Bruyne
: Rodri tests Real Madrid goalkeeper
: Vinícius Júnior hits sumptuous opener
67': De Bruyne powers in equaliser
78': Ederson repels Benzema header
90': Tchouameni forces one-handed stop

Match in brief: A sensational goal apiece

Guardiola's side, keen to banish the memories of their dramatic last-four loss here last season, dominated the opening stages, enjoying sustained spells of possession but unable to convert that into clear-cut chances.

Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Erling Haaland all forced saves from Thibaut Courtois in the opening 15 minutes, but the Player of the Match in the 2022 final was equal to everything the visitors could muster.

As it happened: Real Madrid 1-1 Man City

The reigning champions found it difficult to get any attacking rhythm going but the visiting defence still had to be alert to the dangers of Karim Benzema and company, with Rúben Dias' last-ditch intervention preventing Vinícius Júnior's low cross from reaching last season's leading scorer, who was lurking at the far post for a tap-in.

Such was the Cityzens' superiority in terms of possession, it took until the 36th minute for the hosts to have their first shot of the evening, but it was worth the wait.

Vinícius Júnior celebrates his stunning strike
Vinícius Júnior celebrates his stunning strikeGetty Images

Eduardo Camavinga exchanged passes with Luka Modrić midway in the Real Madrid half before cutting in from the left and racing deep into City territory. He nudged the ball into the path of Vinícius Júnior, who took it in his stride before unleashing a thumping effort from outside the area which flew past his fellow Brazilian Ederson.

City sought a response and ten minutes after the interval, De Bruyne tested his compatriot Courtois from the edge of the box, but the midfielder's low, curling effort was too close to the home goalkeeper.

City's playmaker would not be denied, however, levelling in spectacular fashion midway through the second period. İlkay Gündoğan could not find a way into the Real Madrid penalty area so laid the ball back to midfield colleague De Bruyne, who blasted a powerful low drive into the bottom corner from a similar position to the opening goal.

Both teams pushed for a winner in the closing minutes in an engaging finish. The holders seemed most likely to snatch a late advantage, but Ederson was at his sharpest to stop Benzema's header from squeezing in at his near post before pulling off an impressive one-handed save to prevent Aurélien Tchouameni's thumping strike from flying in.

PlayStation® Player of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

"He was influential in a performance that City needed to get a result here."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Player of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne highlights

Graham Hunter, Real Madrid reporter

Whether you were Madrid, City or neutral, this match will have lit up every sense in your body. Nerve-shredding at times and blessed with utter brilliance at others, it could have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock, such was the tension. The home fans alternated between worship and biting their nails the rest of the time. Madrid weren't at their sharpest or most intense, but that goal! From one penalty area to the other in about 12 seconds and one of the greatest goals you'll ever see. Bring on Manchester.

Matthew Howarth, Man City reporter

A draw was probably a fair result after both sides contributed to an edgy, enthralling and thoroughly entertaining first leg. The game could have gone either way, both goalkeepers pulling off important saves. City will enjoy plenty of possession and opportunities in Manchester next week, but it will count for nothing unless they can keep the likes of Vinícius Júnior and Benzema quiet at the other end. It's impossible to tell which way the tie will swing next.

Steve McManaman, BT Sport

"They're two great sides, aren't they? City are now slight favourites. It was a wonderful game with some moments of real class. There were some really nice battles all over the pitch."


Courtois: 'There's everything to play for'

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach: "It was an interesting game. It was difficult for us in the first half, but the second half was much better. We had good control of the game. When they had lots of possession we were in control defensively, then when we started to play we caused difficulties."

Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid goalkeeper: "It's a good draw. There's everything to play for next week. It will be like a final and I hope we can put that in our minds. Although it's away, we are quite good in finals so I hope we can visualise it like that, even though it's City. It will be tough."

Pep Guardiola, Man City manager: "We defended our box well, the effort was incredible. Now it's like a play-off. We can defend better in some departments, maybe we can attack a little differently. Alaba and Rüdiger were so close to Erling, so there were very few spaces to find. Maybe we can adjust a couple of things for next week."

Rodri, Man City midfielder: "In the first 25 to 30 minutes we controlled the game and then [with the] first chance they had, they scored an incredible goal. But we kept in the game, even though it was difficult. Lots of concentration is needed because when you lose the ball, it is tough to regain."

Rodri reaction to 'tough' draw for Man City

Key stats

  • Benzema made his 151st UEFA Champions League appearance – moving him joint-fourth in the competition's all-time standings alongside Xavi.
  • De Bruyne struck in the last four of this competition for the third campaign running.
  • 11 of the Belgian international's 14 Champions League goals have been scored in the knockout stages.
  • Man City have won all eight ties in UEFA competition in which they drew the away first leg.

Fantasy star performers

Kevin De Bruyne – 11 points
Vinícius Júnior – 9 points
Eduardo Camavinga – 5 points

De Bruyne is mobbed by his team-mates
De Bruyne is mobbed by his team-matesUEFA via Getty Images


Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Rüdiger, Alaba, Camavinga; Valverde, Kroos (Tchouameni 84), Modrić (Nacho 87); Rodrygo (Asensio 81), Benzema, Vinícius Júnior

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Rúben Dias, Akanji; De Bruyne, Gündoğan, Rodri; Bernardo Silva, Haaland, Grealish

What's next?

The second leg takes place in Manchester on Wednesday 17 May. The aggregate winners are the nominal home side when they play Milan or Inter in the final in Istanbul on 10 June.