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Real Madrid 3-3 Man City: Fede Valverde volley denies City first-leg victory in Champions League quarter-final

Report as Manchester City draw 3-3 away to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final; Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol scored for City but Federico Valverde had the final say to leave the tie evenly balanced

Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League quarterfinal first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)
Image: Manchester City's Phil Foden scored a magnificent goal in a game of magnificent finishing in the Bernabeu

Manchester City drew 3-3 with Real Madrid in an extraordinary game at the Bernabeu that leaves this Champions League quarter-final tie in the balance.

Long-range strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol looked to have secured a dramatic win on the night for Pep Guardiola's European champions after Madrid had scored twice in the space of two minutes to take the lead following Bernardo Silva's early goal.

But Federico Valverde's sumptuous volley levelled it up again to the delight of a boisterous Bernabeu. A draw was a fair result given City dominated possession while Madrid had the better of the chances. All to play for ahead of the second leg in Manchester.

Speaking in the press conference afterwards, Guardiola alleviated some concerns about the manner in which player-of-the-match Foden limped off late in the game, saying: "He was grumpy with me for making a substitution. That means he is OK."

Player ratings

Real Madrid: Lunin (5), Carvajal (6), Tchouameni (6), Rudiger (7), Mendy (6), Valverde (7), Kroos (6), Camavinga (7), Bellingham (6), Vinicius Jnr (8), Rodrygo (7).

Subs: Modric (7), Diaz (6), Joselu (n/a).

Man City: Ortega (6), Akanji (5), Gvardiol (7), Dias (6), Stones (6), Rodri (6), Kovacic (6), Silva (7), Foden (8), Haaland (6), Grealish (6).

Subs: Julian Alvarez (n/a).

Player of the match: Phil Foden.

How the drama played out

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Ben Ransom and The Guardian's Jamie Jackson reflect on Real Madrid and Manchester City's 3-3 draw in the Champions League quarter-final

Kevin De Bruyne dropping to the bench due to illness was not the ideal start for City but they did make the early breakthrough after Jack Grealish was brought down in the first minute. Silva caught out Andriy Lunin with the free-kick to stun the Bernabeu.

The roof was closed on the famous old stadium in a bid to ramp up the atmosphere but it was two quickfire goals that did that. It was a remarkable response by the 14-time champions, even if City could count themselves unfortunate in how the goals came.

Team news - De Bruyne ill

  • Stefan Ortega kept his place ahead of Ederson for Manchester City, while Kevin De Bruyne joined the Brazilian goalkeeper on the bench due to a late illness. Josko Gvardiol was fit to start.
  • Aurelien Tchouameni was chosen instead of Nacho at the back for Real Madrid with Jude Bellingham lining up in an advanced role alongside Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior. Luka Modric was on the bench.

Eduardo Camavinga's shot was heading for the other side of the post until it deflected off Ruben Dias to wrongfoot Stefan Ortega and the goalkeeper was deceived again moments later when Rodrygo's shot diverted off Manuel Akanji, trickling into the empty net.

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Strange things can happen in Madrid, City know that better than most after their semi-final collapse in the Spanish capital two years ago. What was more alarming was the way that Carlo Ancelotti's side continued to trouble the Premier League champions thereafter.

Rodrygo celebrates after putting Real Madrid 2-1 up against Man City
Image: Rodrygo celebrates after putting Real Madrid 2-1 up against Manchester City

Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior had numerous chances to double the lead before the first half was through, counter-attacking at will in the left channel. Jude Bellingham and Vinicius both missed good chances from that zone early in the second half too. It proved costly.

Foden's opportunity was not so obvious but much more precise, arrowing the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out to break Madrid's resistance. It was typical of his fantastic form of late. The outrageous goal that followed from Gvardiol was not so predictable.

Cutting inside on his supposedly weaker right foot, the Croatia defender found the far corner with Lunin helpless. All three of City's goals came from outside of the penalty box. It was a wonderful exhibition of finishing but Madrid had an answer themselves.

Valverde snuck in at the back post and caught his shot magnificently to make it three each and leave the tie finely poised for the rematch at the Etihad Stadium next week. On this evidence, both teams will be entitled to fancy their chances of progressing.

Guardiola will take the draw

"It was, I think, a nice game," Guardiola told TNT Sports.

"We started really well and after it is so difficult against Real Madrid because they defend so well and the pace they have up front is unbelievable, so always you concede transitions against that team, it is impossible to control it.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reviews Phil Foden's performance during their Champions League game at Real Madrid and says his injury is not serious

"In the first half, we were a little anxious with the ball. After 2-1 we lose a lot of balls that players do not usually lose. But in the second half we showed our incredible personality in the way we play because at 2-1 it is a risk if we concede another goal.

"If we come back to Manchester 3-1 or 4-1 it would be difficult. But we continued playing with a lot of composure, much better than the first half. We make two fantastic goals from Phil and Josko. In the end, Madrid after 76 minutes, in this stadium, is an eternity.

"So, 3-3, we will take it. We have to win the game. Win the game to qualify for the semi-final. We will have our people. It will be sold out. We will need all of them to beat the kings of this competition."

De Bruyne 'chaos' | Praise for Gvardiol

Manchester City had to overcome De Bruyne's late withdrawal from the team and the coach was pleased with the way that his players responded to that adversity. Asked when he had found out, Guardiola said: "When I arrived here in the locker room."

He added: "In the last meeting at the hotel he was playing - he didn't say anything to me. But it started to become bad when we arrived. One of the secrets at the highest level is to adapt quickly when there is chaos - there is no time to complain."

Guardiola seemed to suggest the reason for Foden's removal late in the game as he limped from the pitch was not particularly serious. "It was a knock," confirmed the City boss. But there was praise for another scorer, Gvardiol. The left-back shrugged off doubts over his fitness to put in an impressive performance.

"We were lucky that he could play today because without him it would have been so difficult because we do not have players at the back. He made an incredible effort. Not just the goal. The way he played. He played really good. We are so happy to have him."

Shot map comparison from the 3-3 Champions League quarter-final draw between Real Madrid and Manchester City

The match in stats

  • This was the first knockout stage game in the Champions League to end level despite both teams leading since a 2-2 draw between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in 2018.
  • This was only the fourth time in the Champions League that both teams have scored three or more goals in the first leg of two-legged knockout stage tie, with the previous instance also being between these two sides (the semi-final in 2022).
  • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is winless in his last three matches at the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid, his longest run of games there as the visiting coach without a victory.
  • This was only the second ever knockout stage match in the Champions League to see three goals scored in the opening 14 minutes of play after Man City v Tottenham in April 2019.
  • Phil Foden has scored six goals from outside the box for Manchester City this season, the most of any player for a Premier League club across all competitions.

Analysis: Haaland anonymous but does it matter?

In a game where long-range shooting came to the fore, Erling Haaland was a bystander during a glorious encounter at the Bernabeu. The striker had just one shot and his failure to find the net means he has not scored in any of his three career appearances against Real Madrid - they are now the opponent he has played against most often in European competition without finding the net.

Haaland will always occupy the opposition - they cannot switch off with him around - but his lack of involvement in this game was quite staggering at times. He had just 20 touches of the ball, the fewest of any player who started the game and he made just two passes in the final third in his 94 minutes of action. It was the fewest he has made in a game this season.

Phil Foden made 17 and Bernardo Silva made 26, reinforcing the notion that the game passed Haaland by as others created the big moments for City. But does his tendency to disappear into the background matter? Are they really a better team without him? That is the question we have been asking about Haaland since he signed - and whatever the answer is, the question is not going away.
Lewis Jones

What's next?

Manchester City host Luton Town in the Premier League on Saturday, kick-off 3pm. They then return to Champions League action for the second leg of their quarter-final at home on April 17, kick-off 8pm.

Real Madrid travel to Mallorca on Saturday in LaLiga with the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points, kick-off 5.30pm.

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