Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo absent for draw
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 27/04/16 8:27am
Manchester City and Real Madrid could not be separated in a cagey Champions League semi-final first leg that finished goalless at the Etihad on Tuesday.
The visitors were dealt a blow before kick-off as Cristiano Ronaldo, who trained on Monday after not playing at the weekend due to a thigh injury, was not included in the squad.
However, City were unable to take advantage of Ronaldo's absence in a game of few clear chances.
Real went closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half as substitute Jese headed against the bar and Joe Hart made a point-blank save to deny Pepe.
City failed to muster a shot on target at the other end until a late free-kick from Kevin de Bruyne, which was tipped over by Keylor Navas.
The two sides will meet again at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, May 4, with Ronaldo's involvement unclear after his exclusion at the Etihad.
The Portuguese was expected to be involved after missing the weekend's victory over Rayo Vallecano. However, instead he watched from the bench as Lucas Vazquez started along with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
De Bruyne and captain Vincent Kompany returned for City, who took little time to settle into their first Champions League semi-final.
With Fernandinho and Fernando pressing effectively in the midfield, the hosts made most of the running in the first half.
Chances, though, were at a premium. More regular were yellow cards, with Pepe booked for a foul on De Bruyne and David Silva penalised for a sliding challenge from behind on Bale.
Silva's night came to a premature end shortly afterwards as he was taken off with injury after 41 minutes, with Kelechi Iheanacho replacing him.
Real made a change at the break as Benzema, who was taken off before half-time at the weekend with an apparent hamstring issue, was replaced by Jese.
The hosts threatened soon after the break as Aguero found space to shoot from 20 yards, but he fired over the bar.
Ramos spurned the best chance of the match at the other end when he was left unmarked from a corner but headed at Hart.
Otherwise opportunities continued to remain scarce, until Jese headed Dani Carvajal's cross against the bar in the 71st minute.
Perhaps buoyed by the chance, Real finished the match stronger, with Bale curling a left-footed shot narrowly wide and Hart keeping out Casemiro's header.
Pepe should have put the visitors ahead in the 83rd minute when Bale's flick from a corner found him unmarked inside the six-yard box, but he blasted against Hart, who spread himself well.
Navas was then called into action in injury-time to tip over De Bruyne's free-kick and keep the tie evenly poised heading into the second leg.
Before that, Real Madrid travel to face Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday afternoon, while City are away to Southampton in the Premier League on Super Sunday.