Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the Champions League
last-16 first leg between Real Madrid
and Manchester City
from the Bernabeu. Tonight's affair will be the first meeting between the two teams since the semi-finals of the 2015-16 European Cup, when Madrid booked their spot in the final courtesy of a 1-0 aggregate win. It should be a cracking encounter in the Spanish capital; be sure to stay tuned for all of the action!
REAL MADRID: Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Isco
MAN CITY: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, B Silva
Madrid are without the services of Eden Hazard through injury, while Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos are both on the bench tonight. Isco and Vinicius Junior have been selected alongside Karim Benzema in attack, while the impressive Federico Valverde features in midfield. There are no surprises at the back, though, with Ferland Mendy, as expected, getting the nod over Marcelo.
As for City, head coach Pep Guardiola has sprung a huge surprise by leaving Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho on the bench. Raheem Sterling is also among the substitutes having recovered from injury, meaning that a front three of Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva will take to the field. Nicolas Otamendi is picked in central defence, while Bernardo Mendy get the nod at left-back. Some big calls from Guardiola here.
Los Blancos have actually reached four of the last six Champions League finals, but City have only made the semi-finals on one previous occasion and lost in the quarter-finals last season. The second leg between the two teams will take place at the Etihad Stadium on March 17, but both teams will be fully focused on tonight's affair. Kickoff is now just moments away!
KICKOFF: Madrid kick things off in the Spanish capital...
... it must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium. It has been a lively start from the visitors with Bernardo Silva already having a cross blocked by Carvajal.
Benzema is very much the lone forward for Madrid with Isco playing off the right and Vinicius wide on the left. The home side have had most of the ball in the early stages, although City are showing their intent by pushing high up the field at the Bernabeu.
Benzema collects a super pass from Modric out wide before turning and finding Carvajal, but the defender sees his low cross blocked. No chances to report in the opening six minutes.
Interesting to see Bale on the bench for Madrid tonight; Isco and Vinicius have been picked alongside Benzema in attack, but the Wales international will surely be used at some point in the first leg. The home side remain on the front foot in the Spanish capital.
Carvajal is caught in possession by Jesus and the City forward threatens to break clear, but Varane is across to bail his teammate out of danger. Nervy from Carvajal there.
Not too much to report in terms of attacking moments in the opening 12 minutes to be brutally honest. Both teams have had decent possession but not much happening!
Super work from Vinicius as the Brazilian works some space before delivering a cross towards Benzema, but Laporte is on hand to make an important defensive header.
City are struggling to offer a threat at the moment with Madrid very much in control. The visitors have had some chances to counter but have been unable to take them.
SHOT! Varane fires high over the City crossbar following a period of Madrid pressure.
Mahrez manages to work some space in a wide area, but there is no-one in the middle for the attacker and the chance evaporates. Not much from the visitors going forward in the opening 19 minutes, although Guardiola will be pleased as long as it stays 0-0 here.
It does appear that City have come for a 0-0 tonight as they are not too interested in breaking forward at the moment. Madrid continue to have lots of the ball but are struggling to make the most of some decent positions. Still goalless in the capital.
SAVE! Big save from Courtois to keep out a strike from Jesus after the City forward had worked some space inside the Madrid box before attempting to find the back of the net.
Varane has perhaps been the pick of the players on the field thus far tonight; excellent at the back and also had Madrid's only shot over the City crossbar.
Mahrez takes a huge risk inside the City box as he invites a challenge from Vinicius; the Algerian loses the ball but wins the free kick. Not sure there was too much in that.
Jesus drives away from a couple of Madrid challenges before making his way into the home side's box, but Varane is across to make the tackle. Jesus has been impressive when he has been given the chance to drive at Madrid's defensive unit tonight.
CHANCE! De Bruyne works his way into the City box before attempting to bend one into the far corner, but the Belgian gets his effort wrong and fires high into the air!
YELLOW CARD! Benjamin Mendy (Man City) is booked for a foul on Modric. Late tackle.
CHANCE! Huge moment! First Ederson does so well to keep out a header from Benzema and then Vinicius somehow cannot convert the rebound! The ball fell for the Brazilian in a dangerous position but he was falling backwards and could not make contact.
SHOT! Casemiro fires harmlessly over the City crossbar from distance.
CITY SUB! Terrible blow for City as Laporte has to leave the field. Not sure of the exact problem, but it does not look too fantastic. Fernandinho enters here.
City might have to make another change here as Gundogan has gone down holding his leg, perhaps his ankle. Surely not another injury for the Premier League champions.
Gundogan is back on his feet, excellent news.
Benjamin Mendy just needs to be a little bit careful here as he continues to fly into challenges, which is a surprise considering that he has only just picked up a yellow card.
Jesus finds Bernardo Silva inside the Madrid box, but the Portugal international can only roll a low cross into the arms of Courtois. Still goalless in the Spanish capital.
Vinicius again drives down the left before delivering a low cross to the edge of the City box but there are no takers. Modric should have been arriving in that area of the field.
Zidane watches on at the Bernabeu as the first period approaches its latter stages. Madrid have had the game's best chance thus far, but City have certainly provided a threat in the final third. The opening 43 minutes of this last-16 first leg have flown past.
Valverde is still down receiving some treatment for Madrid following a collision in the middle of the park. The home supporters remain in good voice as we approach the break.
City have had the ball in the last couple of minutes but have been unable to threaten Courtois between the home side's sticks. It hasn't been the best match thus far if we are being brutally honest, although Guardiola will surely be the happier of the two managers.
We are into the second of two additional minutes at the end of the first period.
OFF THE LINE! Desperate, last-ditch defending from Madrid as a mixture of Casemiro and Ramos manage to keep out a shot from Jesus, which was heading for the back of the net.
HALF TIME: REAL MADRID 0-0 MANCHESTER CITY
So there we have it; the referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Madrid had a golden chance to take the lead through Vinicius, but City have also had some big moments and came so close to scoring just before the referee's half-time whistle.
STATISTICS! Madrid shaded the first-half possession with 53%, while they had three attempts, one of which was on target. City actually had six attempts in the opening 45 minutes, with two of those on target. Just the one booking to report - Benjamin Mendy having his name taken for a late challenge, and the card will rule the Frenchman out of the second leg.
BENCH WATCH! City have already been forced into a change here with Fernandinho replacing Laporte, who limped off the field in the 33rd minute. However, Guardiola still has the likes of Aguero, Foden, David Silva and Sterling available ahead of the second period. Madrid, meanwhile, have attacking options in the shape of Jovic, Bale, Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.
KICKOFF: City resume the action at the Bernabeu...
... no changes to report at the interval, which is not too much of a surprise. However, both managers will surely have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.
City would fancy their chances of beating Madrid in the second leg if the score stays 0-0 tonight; surely Zidane will have sent his team out in the second period to score a goal.
YELLOW CARD! Federico Valverde (Madrid) is booked for pulling Gundogan to the ground.
CHANCE! Big chance for the visitors as De Bruyne races clear before finding Mahrez, but the attacker bends his effort wide of the far post. Good counter from City there.
Walker drives clear down the right before looking to deliver into the Madrid box, but Ferland Mendy does brilliantly to make the challenge; two speedsters going head-to-head.
YELLOW CARD! Luka Modric (Madrid) is booked for a foul on Mahrez.
Bale will surely be in Zidane's thinking as the second period continues to develop; the onus is on Madrid to take the game to City, who are very comfortable at the moment.
Vinicius drives into the City box and goes down under pressure from Walker, but the referee is not interested. The Brazilian simply lost control of the ball.
SAVE! Decent save from Courtois to keep out a strike from Mahrez.
SAVE! Even better save from Courtois this time to keep out another drive from Mahrez!
SAVE! Comfortable save from Ederson to keep out a header from Isco.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-0 MANCHESTER CITY (ISCO)
GOAL! Breakthrough! Madrid take the lead on the hour as Isco converts from close range following a clever pass from Vinicius. Otamendi was guilty of losing possession in a dangerous area, and the home side have taken full advantage to score here!
Not too much happened in the first half of this match, but the second period has been excellent. The atmosphere is incredible as we head for the final 25 minutes of action.
You do get the feeling that there is at least one more goal in this match, and City have some big-hitters on the bench. Madrid, meanwhile, also have Bale and Jovic warming up as the second period continues to develop. Much, much better game at the moment.
The home supporters are in fine voice here as their side continue to move the ball in the final third. Valverde breaks down the right before looking to deliver a cross into Benzema, but Ederson does well to make the claim. Still no sign of any substitutions here.
Sterling is going to enter the field for City in the next stoppage here.
Carvajal breaks into the City box and looks to deliver a low cross into Benzema, but Fernandinho does so well to make the block. Excellent defending from the Brazilian.
CLOSE! Another super block from Fernandinho, who blocks a strike from Ramos, who found himself free inside the penalty box. All happening for the home side at the moment.
MAN CITY SUB! Sterling replaces Bernardo Silva for the visitors.
REAL MADRID SUB! Bale replaces Vinicius for the home side.
De Bruyne has the chance to deliver a dangerous free kick into the Madrid box, but Courtois comes through the crowd to make the claim. Still 1-0 to the home side here.
Bale has a shot deflected into the arms of Ederson after super work from Modric, who had worked a pass into Mendy. Little over 10 minutes of the second half remaining here.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-1 MANCHESTER CITY (GABRIEL JESUS)
GOAL! City level the scores as Gabriel Jesus heads into the bottom corner after beating Ramos in the air. But VAR are going to have a look at this for a possible push!
Goal stands! City level the scores at the Bernabeu!
CLOSE! Jesus heads a cross from Mahrez over the crossbar this time!
You do get the feeling that there is going to be another goal in this match, and it would not be a surprise if City were to turn this game around. Still around 10 minutes to play here.
PENALTY! City have a penalty as Sterling is brought to the ground by Carvajal!
PENALTY! Carvajal dives into a challenge with Sterling, who hits the deck.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-2 MANCHESTER CITY (DE BRUYNE, PEN)
GOAL! De Bruyne finds the bottom corner to send the visitors 2-1 ahead.
REAL MADRID SUBS! Vazquez and Jovic replace Modric and Isco.
Oh my goodness me. Sergio Ramos
is sent off for bringing Gabriel Jesus to the ground in a last-man challenge. Huge, huge moment in this football match and the tie.
SAVE! Mahrez sends his free kick straight into the arms of Courtois.
Well, this has been a fairly busy second half. Not too much happened in the first half, but it has been a brilliant second 45 minutes. Huge night for City as it stands.
We are into the first of three additional minutes at the Bernabeu.
SAVE! Sterling could have scored a third for City in second-half stoppage time, but the England international fires straight into the arms of Courtois from close range.
Mendy pokes just wide of the post as Madrid pass up perhaps their final chance of the night. City are seemingly going to claim a 2-1 first-leg advantage at the Bernabeu.
FULL TIME: REAL MADRID 1-2 MANCHESTER CITY
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with City running out 2-1 winners on the night. Isco send Madrid ahead, but Gabriel Jesus levelled the scores before De Bruyne scored from the penalty spot. Huge result for the Manchester giants.
That is just about it from me tonight, but I shall leave you with the match report
from events at the Bernabeu. Advantage City ahead of the second leg! See you soon.