Paris is well worth another night of magic and emotions at the Bernabéu
Real Madrid must come back from 4-3 in the first leg against Manchester City to dream of the ‘Decimocuarta’ and the double
MADRID, May 3. (EUROPE PRESS) –
Real Madrid will seek this Wednesday (9:00 p.m. / Movistar Champions League) a new ‘magical’ night full of emotions at the Santiago Bernabéu that will help them lift the 4-3 that they brought last week from the Etihad Stadium and seal their ticket for the 2021-2022 Champions League final.
The dream of the ‘Decimocuarta’ and the double pass once again through the coliseum on Calle Concha Espina. Manchester City arrives there ready to put an end to Madrid’s aspirations, protected by their minimal advantage and Pep Guardiola’s board to placate the joy in which their rival has been immersed since last Saturday.
Already champions of LaLiga Santander, Carlo Ancelotti’s team now aspires to something unusual in its modern era, that of trying to chain domestic and European dominance, something it has achieved only three times in its history, twice in the decade of the 50 and the last time in 2017. For this, they will need a game that borders on perfection both above and, above all, behind, and, surely, without gaps as in the ‘miracles’ against PSG and Chelsea.
The mirror in which to look is the comeback against the Parisian team, which unlike the Londoner required them to come back from minute 1, although in front there will be a team that does not depend so much on individualities and that will have a new test to check his competitive maturity after his recent record in the Champions League dictates that he often suffers from vertigo at key moments.
A more expert Real Madrid in its ranks in this type of match also clings to that, but it probably won’t find one as open as last week’s at the Etihad Stadium, a true ode to football from which it came out with flying colors due to the lack of aim of Pep Guardiola’s men who deserved a greater advantage and who will try to overcome the spirit and the ‘punch’ of their rival.
The 13-time European champion left Manchester knowing that in attack he can do a lot of damage to the Premier League leader, but that he will have to raise his level in defense and be up to the task of the night if he wants to have a chance. Carlo Ancelotti will have to work above all so that his central defenders don’t get sidetracked by the absence of a clear offensive reference in the ‘sky blues’.
In this sense, David Alaba does not arrive on time, so it will be Nacho who will play alongside Militao, with Carvajal and Mendy on the wings, while it also remains to be seen what the Italian coach will decide in midfield, where he recovers a Casemiro that should provide more strength to the containment.
The Brazilian is a fixture along with the Croatian Luka Modric, one of the few starters who came out in the win against Espanyol, where Toni Kroos had some rest, so it seems that the German will not miss the game as it happened surprisingly on City’s last visit in February 2020, when Zinédine Zidane left him on the bench.
Now, the question is whether this trio will continue to battle for the ball against Kevin de Bruyne, who is vital to neutralize, and company, or if Ancelotti will bring in Fede Valverde and his physical display to remove one of the top players. There, Benzema and Vinicius want to join forces again to fill the stands with hope against a City that is theoretically more solid at the back than a week ago. If there is a pure 4-3-3 as in the first leg, Rodrygo Goes has the chance to be the chosen one.
GUARDIOLA COULD RECOVER WALKER
The English team comes from beating Leeds United and defending its leadership in the Premier giving rest to players like De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Mahrez, and hopes that the good record of their coach will help them get out of the Bernabéu.
Guardiola has not lost in eight of his nine visits to the Madrid Coliseum, with six victories, the last with his current team two years ago in the first leg of the round of 16 (1-2), and he only lost in the first leg of the 2014 semifinals when he directed Bayern, with Ancelotti on the bench and with Benzema as executor.
The Catalan coach has the good news of the return of Joao Cancelo, suspended in the first leg, and could also count on a key player in the defensive network like Kyle Walker, who travels and whom he will wait until the last minute to have an antidote of much strength against Vinicius.
In addition, he will have to decide how he configures his midfield team upwards, with the possibility of repeating with the six who also did it at the Etihad or putting more muscle with Gundogan and overtaking Bernardo Silva. City could opt for a more ‘calm’ game, similar to the one on their last visit and where they will try to defend themselves with possession so as not to leave the spaces that Ancelotti’s men like so much.
REAL MADRID: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius and Benzema.
MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson; Walker, Ruben Dias, Laporte, Joao Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Foden.
–REFEREE: Daniele Orsato (ITA).
–Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
–TIME: 21.00/Movistar Champions League.