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Apr 26, 2022 at 8pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Man City
4 - 3
Real Madrid
De Bruyne (2'), Jesus (11'), Foden (53'), Silva (74')
Guardiola (54'), Fernandinho (81')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Benzema (33', 82' pen.), Junior (55')
Nacho (90+3')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Manchester City and Real Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The La Liga champions-elect meet the Premier League holders in the last four of this season's Champions League, and the Etihad Stadium plays host to the first leg of Manchester City and Real Madrid's semi-final on Tuesday night.

Pep Guardiola's men needed just the one goal to scrape past Atletico Madrid in the quarters, while Real ended Chelsea's hopes of back-to-back European crowns in dramatic fashion.


Match preview

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling clashes with Atletico Madrid's Stefan Savic during the match on April 13, 2022 © Reuters

Not for the first time in his distinguished and ever-controversial career, Diego Simeone lost his cool on the touchline as his Atletico side struggled to break down a steadfast City backline, with their defensive tactics in the first leg coming back to bite them hard.

A goalless draw in the Spanish capital was enough for Man City to progress to the semi-finals for the second season running, but the game was marred by unsavoury scenes at the end, with the La Liga champions not covering themselves in glory in the tunnel after the game.

Nevertheless, City got the job done on the pitch before their treble hopes were dashed by Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals, but their customary thumping of Watford - with Gabriel Jesus scoring four - keeps their dreams of a domestic and continental double very much alive.

Undefeated at the Etihad in the Champions League since a 2-1 loss to Lyon back in September 2018, Man City have already found the back of the net 13 times in their five home matches in the tournament this season and navigated both legs of their Atletico and Sporting Lisbon ties without conceding a single goal.

Defensive absentees will certainly put that record under threat against Real Madrid, but Guardiola could become the first manager to eliminate Real Madrid from the Champions League three times over the course of the next two weeks and is surely more desperate than ever to finally bring the European crown to the blue side of Manchester.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema scoring against Chelsea in the Champions League on April 12, 2022© Reuters

After being forced to overturn a 1-0 deficit to get the better of Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the tournament, the tables very nearly turned for Real Madrid during the visit of Chelsea, who were on the verge of completing a phenomenal comeback from a 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge.

However, one of the passes of the season from Luka Modric allowed substitute Rodrygo to volley home and force extra time, where the head of Karim Benzema - who else - once again sunk the Blues to book Real Madrid's spot in the last four of the competition.

Also on the verge of wrestling their La Liga crown out of Atletico's grasp, Carlo Ancelotti's side enter the first leg having battled past Osasuna 3-1 on Wednesday night - in spite of two penalty misses for Benzema - and a 14th European crown is firmly in the sights of the away-day specialists.

Indeed, Los Blancos enter the first leg on a six-game winning streak away from home across all competitions - scoring three goals in each of their last three on rival turf - but no side has ever won away from home against two separate English teams during the knockout rounds of a single Champions League tournament.

Tuesday's first leg will mark the seventh meeting between familiar foes Real and Man City in the Champions League, with the Citizens claiming a pair of 2-1 wins in the 2019-20 last 16, but Los Blancos had previously won 1-0 over two legs in the 2015-16 semi-finals before Guardiola touched down in Manchester.

Manchester City Champions League form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Real Madrid Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W



Team News

Manchester City's Joao Cancelo celebrates scoring against RB Leipzig on September 15, 2021© Reuters

While all players who had only amassed one or two yellow have now seen their infringements wiped, City will have to cope without Joao Cancelo for the first leg, as the Portuguese picked up his third caution of the tournament at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Guardiola will therefore be desperate to have Kyle Walker back from an ankle issue in time for Tuesday - the right-back is "much, much better" according to the Catalan coach - and it remains to be seen if John Stones will battle back from a muscular injury to make himself available.

The likes of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez will all anticipate recalls to the first XI this week, but Jesus has given Guardiola plenty of food for thought by responding to links with a move away with a quartet of strikes on Saturday.

While Real Madrid do not have any suspension concerns for the first leg - Eder Militao is back from a ban served in the home loss to Chelsea - Ancelotti's injury problems are mounting after David Alaba was taken off with a thigh issue against Osasuna.

The defender was restricted to indoor work on Saturday alongside Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz - all three of whom will miss out - but Alaba has made the squad alongside Casemiro and Ferland Mendy and could earn some minutes here.

Luka Modric was rested entirely for the win over Osasuna but will reprise his midfield role here alongside the returning Toni Kroos, while Marcelo should be fit enough to deputise at left-back for Mendy if needed.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Marcelo; Kroos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Junior


SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-2 Real Madrid

Defensive uncertainties and absentees on both sides should have both revered managers feeling confident of gleaning a first-leg advantage at the Etihad, with Benzema and Vinicius capable of plucking goals out of nowhere for the visitors.

However, City will need no second invitation to break down a depleted Blancos backline in front of their own crowd, and we expect an end-to-end first leg with plenty of goalmouth action to end all square.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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How you voted: Man City vs Real Madrid

Manchester City
49.6%
Draw
16.2%
Real Madrid
34.1%
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Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro on February 3, 2022
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