By Aliyu Yakubu Yusuf
Real Madrid and Manchester City played quite an entertaining one-all draw at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. The much went as much as I expected it, with Manchester City dominating the possession, trying to dictate the tempo of the game and Real Madrid pressing the City players, trying to disrupt their rhythm and attacking at full pace through the electric Vinicius Jnr and the young prodigy, Rodrygo Goes.
That was the pattern for much of the game. Real Madrid will be a bit disappointed for not registering a win (no matter how slender) ahead of the second leg next week. Of course, it’s easy to criticise Guardiola for settling for a draw. But come on! We are talking about a FIRST LEG of a UEFA Champions League semi-final. Do you seriously expect any serious coach to attack Real Madrid all guns blazing and risk getting hammered via counter attack?
True, Manchester City players looked tired and disjointed in the closing stages of the game. I expected Guardiola to introduce Mahrez, Alvarez and/or Foden in place of largely ineffectual Bernardo and Grealish. But do I think I know better than Pep Guardiola?
This game can still go either way. Expect that when you are playing against Real Madrid in the UCL. However, from the result of the first leg, Manchester City will be the happier side. They played largely well below their capabilities (thanks to Real Madrid’s game plan and management) and still came out of the mighty Santiago Bernabeu unscathed.
On for the second leg!
Aliyu Yakubu Yusuf wrote from Kano and can be reached via email@example.com.
How can they draw the game they expected to win and then you say they came out unscathed?