HELLOOOOOO!!! I apologize for leaving. Work sent me away for 5 weeks and internet was crap. With that said, it was a tropical island and I got a tan… I’m not too angry.
So our first leg against Manchester City was away. I’m not the world’s biggest City fan (understatement) so it was not hard for me to yell at pretty much everything they did. I do, however, love Kevin De Bruyne. It’s a tough life when you love players on teams you severely dislike.
Pre-Match Social Media:
Manchester City: Joe Hart; Bacary Sagna, Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Gael Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho; Jesus Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva; Sergio Aguero
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez
The blow for us was that we were without Cristiano. But G-Money tends to step up in a big way when we need him, so I wasn’t terribly worried. I didn’t expect us to run away with it, don’t get me wrong. I just had confidence in our abilities.
The first half started slow and didn’t really change.
Otamendi brought Benz down in the 5th minute. It was late and kind of set the tone for what both teams would manage to get away with in the match.
I have to admit, I was following the match on BBC’s website since I was at work. I would glance at the live text and see “Navas” in reference to City and I was getting so confused.
Casemiro made a great challenge on De Bruyne in the 17th minute when he got by Pepe.
Pepe was the first player to pick up a yellow card in the 24th minute. He went in late on De Bruyne for the booking.
De Bruyne took the free kick but Kompany fouled Casemiro before he could get his head to it in the box.
David Silva picked up a yellow card in the 38th minute for a challenge on Gare Bear.
He needed to be subbed shortly after when it looked like he may have pulled his hamstring. He was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho.
In the first minute of extra time, Benzema had a shot over the goal. But after three added minutes, the half came to a boring end.
Zizou unfortunately had to make a sub at the half. Jese replaced Benzema. I’d like a fully fit Benz before we try to play him again. I honestly think we can beat City without both Benz and Cris if we have to, it just will take a little risk in the form of a less defensive lineup in the midfield.
The match started a bit nervy with Aguero firing over the net in the 47th minute.
In the 48th minute, Gareth went down in the box and wanted a penalty but the ref didn’t make the call.
We looked much better in the second half but things still weren’t falling into place.
In the 72nd minute, Jese hit the crossbar with a header from a Dani cross.
City made their second sub in the 77th minute when Sterling came in for Navas (of the Jesus variety).
In the 80th minute, Joe Hart (who FABOD likes to refer to as “Douchebag Lifeguard) made a save on Casemiro’s shot. And in the 82nd minute, DBL (hehe, I couldn’t resist. Honestly, nothing against Hart he just looks like that stereotypical douchebag lifeguard) made a fabulous reaction save on a Pepe shot.
Our final sub was in the 90th minute to get a little Isco in place of Kroos.
Pepe got in to make a challenge on Sterling in the first minute of added time that solidified that he was our best player of the match (for me anyway).
In the second minute of added time, Dani was booked for pulling down Kevin De Bruyne. It was smart foul, honestly. Keylor tipped the freekick over the bar and after those 3 minutes of extra time it was a match.
Manchester City 0 – 0 Real Madrid
Zidane: “We deserved more”
by Alberto Navarro (Manchester)“In the second half we kept the ball and had chances to score”, he said.
Zinedine Zidane appeared before the media at the Etihad Stadium following the first leg of the Champions League semi-final: “I’m pleased with the game because it wasn’t easy. We defended very well and in the second half we had more of the ball and chances to score. I’m a bit disappointed because we deserved more, but we were very good defensively. It was a hard-fought game”.
“We could have scored, but getting a goal doesn’t guarantee a place in the final. We’re halfway through the tie. We’ve got the next game at home and we know what we’re capable of doing at the Bernabéu. We’ll have to work like we did today”.
“We played higher up, pressured more and above all, had more of the ball. If you’ve got it, it’s difficult for your opponent to defend. We didn’t get the goal and it’s open going into the second leg. We’ll try and play well like today, it’s a Champions League semi-final, so it’s not easy. I’m pleased with the result and the way everyone worked”.
“We’re going to try to ensure that they’re back for the return leg, but right now I can’t say any more than that. We’ll have to see how they progress each day. If they’re on the pitch it’s better for them to be 100% fit, but if they’ve got any sort of issue, we can’t risk them. The players that did play did a good job, and that’s important”.
Ronaldo and Benzema
“I said that they were 100% fit, but that we’d have to see how they did in the last training session, Cristiano Ronaldo felt something and so he didn’t play. The issue with Karim was a bit different, but it was gradually getting worse and we didn’t want to risk him. They’re two important players and we hope that they’re back for the second leg. We’ll take it day-by- day and look at it with the doctors”.
“We performed well defensively and we didn’t afford them any space. We were very compact and we’ve got when wanted to coming into the game”.
Did Real Madrid play for a draw?
“We always go out and try to win. In the first half we defended a bit too deep. We had the chances to have scored in the second half, but it wasn’t meant to be. We’ve now got the return leg and we’re halfway through”.
Kroos: “We can win the tie at home”
by Alberto Navarro (Manchester)“The team stood up tall”, said Ramos.
Toni Kroos gave his take on the tie against Manchester City, following the clash at the Etihad Stadium: “We had more chances in the second half and we played a lot better. We’re not completely satisfied. There were three opportunities to win the game. It would have been significant if we’d scored but now we have to focus on winning the next game”.
“Manchester City are a good team but we’re playing at the Bernabéu and we believe we can win the tie. It doesn’t matter who the favourite is. The winner will be in the final. Everyone knows we’re good at home, we showed that in the quarters and we hope to do so again on Wednesday”.
The second leg
“We have to play well and do things like we did against Wolfsburg. If we play like that I think we’ll be in the final”.
The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo
“I don’t like to talk about players who haven’t played, I prefer to talk about the ones who have. Ronaldo is very important for us because he’s decisive and he scores goals. It’s obviously more difficult to play without him”.
Ramos: “These games demand concentration”
“In the second half we were more comfortable and had more of the ball, although we were unable to score. I focus on the attitude of the team, who despite the injuries we had, have stood up tall. These types of games demand a lot of concentration because small mistakes define knock-out ties. The team tried to do damage on the counter attack, especially in the second half with more precision”.
“He’s fundamental for us and we know how important it is for him to be out on the pitch but we’ve got a great squad and whoever plays does a good job. He would have liked to get to this stage of the season in the best possible fashion, but there are players who have had less minutes who come out and show fight”.
“It’s a really exciting tie. If you were given the option at the start of the season to be playing in front of your own fans to get into the Champions League final, you’d take it all day long. You have to win to get to the final”.
Lucas: “We go away feeling positive”
“It’s a shame about the chances from the two corners, but we go away feeling positive. Clearly, the 0-0 is a bit misleading. They make it difficult for us if they get a goal, but we know if we win the match at the Bernabéu we’ll go through, and that’s our goal”.
“It’s no use being afraid of anything, and even less so in the world of football. If you trust in your ability, things will work out well. The coach is the one who makes the decisions and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that he’s giving me. Long may it continue”.
Possible penalty conceded by Otamendi
“I think that it was a penalty, I’m reaching for the ball and he mowed me down. It was clear cut, but the referee didn’t see it like that”.
Carvajal: “We had more clear openings”
“We deserved to have got a goal, but everything will be decided at the Bernabéu. It was an even game, although we had more clear opening than they did. Before the game, if someone would have said that by winning at home we’d go through, we would have taken it”.
“They are a similar side to us, with a lot of pace and quality up top. It wasn’t a rip-roaring game and in the return leg we’ll try to perform well defensively, play as a compact unit and not allow them any chances. If we play as we did today, we can make it through to the final. There are 90 minutes to go and we have to win in our stadium and if we don’t do that, we don’t deserve to make the final”.
Support at the Bernabéu
“Our fans will get behind us for the whole 90 minutes. Thanks to them, and with them driving us on, we’ll try to get to Milan. We’re optimistic”.
The absence of Ronaldo
“He had a niggle and he preferred not to play today, given everything that lies ahead We’ve got a big squad, and today Lucas came in and he put in a more than worthy performance. Cristiano is very strong, with a very good physical make-up and he’ll be fit for the return. I hope that he and Benzema are available because they’re very important”.
Casemiro: “We have to start thinking about the return leg”
“We put in a great performance and had a terrific second half, but in football you’ve got to score goals. Now we go back to the Bernabéu and with the support of our fans we have to win there. We’re Real Madrid, we’ve got a great squad and we now have to start thinking about the return leg and La Liga, where we face a tricky game”.
“I’m sure that he’ll play in the return leg. He’s not a kid and he knows that it’s better to miss one game, rather than be out for lots. I’m sure that he wasn’t played so that he’s raring to go in the coming games. We miss Cristiano, but those that played did a very good job. Whoever plays needs to be up for it and ready”.
Marcelo: “We were the better side in the second half”
by Alberto Navarro (Manchester)“We showed that as a team we have a lot of character and that we want to go far in the Champions League.”, declared Pepe.
Marcelo spoke to the media in the wake of Real Madrid’s draw at the Etihad Stadium: “It’s tough when you play against a strong side who look to have possession of the ball at all times. We tried to keep the ball and we were the better side in the second half, we attacked more and had more chances than they did. The return leg is going to be tough too”.
“Silva is a fantastic player, but even without him Manchester City are still a great team. In the return leg, I don’t think that they’ll suffer from his absence”.
Pepe: “We’re going to win in front of our fans ”
“In the first half we were weighing each other up, but in the second half we were the stronger side. We knew that we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. They started strongly, but we dealt with their counter-attacks and we had quite a lot of possession. In the second half, the flow of the game changed, we were the ones calling the shots and constantly going in search of the goal, which unfortunately we didn’t manage to get”.
Return leg at the Bernabéu
“We showed that as a team we have a lot of character and that we want to go far in the Champions League. There’s one game to come at home and we’re going to win it in front of our own fans to make them happy”.
“I had the chance to have scored, but the goalkeeper was very quick and got right on top of me, he made a fantastic save. We worked hard and like a team, but they too are a great side”.
“We’ve got to congratulate those who have come in because it’s not easy to replace someone like Cristiano. Lucas is doing a fantastic job”.
Keylor Navas: “It’s always good to keep a clean sheet”
“We all wanted to win the match, it was important for us, but it’s always good to keep a clean sheet. We’ll have to try and do the same at home and win the game. At the Bernabéu, we’ll have to give everything to get to the final. Winning is the only way to do that”.
“We had to manage the game. Manchester City came out strongly and we didn’t want to make any mistakes. We slowly began to take control of the match and did so until the end. The team did a good job, everyone was focussed and very well organised in defence, and thanks to that we avoided too many problems”.
Strength in depth
“Everyone in the squad knows that we’ve been working towards these games for a long time. They all showed that when they’re given an opportunity, they go out there and give it their all”.
Post-Match Social Media:
I’m happy to be back! I’d like the boys to celebrate my return with their return to the CL final!
Our next match is Saturday away to Real Sociedad. We can all get our Pirata and Jailbait! fix!
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!
(I’ll have gifs for you next week! I just don’t have the time tonight, I’m sorry!)