He started in the base after all, Eden Hazard. Zinedine Zidane already indicated before the match that “Eden felt fine and has confidence.” The captain of the Red Devils showed this confidence in the opening phase in the empty Etihad. How he picked a ball from the air in the half hour: enjoyment and vintage Hazard.
He single-handedly provided the first two good chances for Real before half-time. First Hazard put Benzema in position on the edge of the sixteen, then he hit himself with his left. Just as many times Ederson had a good rescue at home. A nice start, until he completely faded away in the second half. Meanwhile, another fellow countryman quietly dictated the game.
The first shot (you) was therefore credited to Kevin De Bruyne. The playmaker got some space, but his attempt deviated from Militao, the replacement for the suspended Sergio Ramos. A handful of minutes later it was hit. Varane was childishly easy to snatch the ball from a seated Gabriel Jesus, who simply tapped the ball to Sterling. He had the leather to push in past a hopeless Courtois: 1-0. The assignment for Real, which took office in the new pink away shirts for next season, remained the same: score two goals.
Strong Courtois keeps Real in the match
Occasional captain Karim Benzema understood this well. The French striker himself set up the attack for the connection goal. Rodrigo’s cross was perfect, Benzema’s header just enough to beat Ederson. Good for his fifth in this CL campaign.
De Bruyne scared Courtois before the break with a corner kick that he turned straight to goal. His fellow Red Devil narrowly thwarted the Olympic goal.
KDB was clearly enjoying himself. He launched Sterling with a measured ball, Courtois’ fingertips kept the Royal in the match. Even after a short combination between Gundogan and Sterling, the Limburger came out of his goal appropriately. Beyond the hour, he made his best rescue, this time on Gabriel Jesus’ attempt.
How strong Courtois kept, Raphaël Varane was so weak to defend. He let himself go on a harmless high ball, this time Gabriel Jesus took advantage of it. Real was also completely lost in the back afterwards. Zidane brought in three more fresh forces, but City never really got into trouble again. Hazard moved to the side with the head down.
When Arab Sheikh El Mansour took over at Manchester City more than a decade ago, he immediately expressed his ambition to one day win the Champions League. Pep Guardiola took his last prize in Europe in 2011. Well, now they are closer than ever by eliminating the best CL squad in the past five years. Olympique Lyon now follows.
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