In one of the biggest clashes in the 2019-20 Champions League’s upcoming round of 16, the Premier League’s reigning champions Manchester City face off with 13-time Champions League winners, Spanish giants Real Madrid.
It’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen in the tie, but it’s almost certain that the two legs will be packed with action. The two sides have faced off in the Champions League before, and, in fact, City have never beaten Los Blancos in 4 attempts. Can Pep Guardiola change that this time around? We’re about to find that out.
Here is a look at the last 3 meetings between these two European giants.
#3. Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City
Champions League semi-finals, second leg – 4th May 2016
The last time City faced Real Madrid was during the 2015-16 edition of the Champions League – a competition Los Blancos would go onto win after defeating neighbouring rivals Atletico Madrid in the final after a penalty shoot-out.
The two sides met in the semi-finals of the competition and it was the second leg that turned out to be the key. City travelled to the Bernabeu knowing that a win or a scoring draw would send them through into the final at Milan’s San Siro, but despite flying past Dynamo Kiev and Paris St-Germain in the previous knockout stages, they found themselves outgunned by Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Manuel Pellegrini’s City struggled from the off in the match, managing just 5 shots throughout the game, with Fernandinho coming closest to scoring with an effort that struck the outside of the post. Real, meanwhile, bombarded the Citizens’ goal, taking 15 shots with Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo all coming close.
In the end, it was an own goal that settled the tie; the unfortunate Fernando deflecting a cross from Bale into his own net. Real could’ve been reduced to 10 men late in the game when Lucas Vazquez chopped Raheem Sterling down, but the substitute was only given a booking, and City ended up exiting with a whimper rather than a bang.
#2. Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid
Champions League semi-finals, first leg – 26th April 2016
After downing Paris St-Germain in the quarter-finals of the 2015-16 Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini’s City were faced with Zinedine Zidane’s Real in the semi-finals after Los Blancos had pulled off a huge comeback in the previous round by sending Wolfsburg packing when a 3-0 second leg overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.
City were hopeful of giving themselves a lead like the one Wolfsburg had enjoyed in this first leg at the Etihad, but it wasn’t to be. A disappointing game saw neither side break the deadlock, with the two teams managing just 4 shots on target between them. It actually took until 27 minutes into the game for the first attempt on goal, from City’s Nicolas Otamendi.
Despite Real being without Cristiano Ronaldo, it was the Spanish giants who had the better chances; City goalkeeper Joe Hart made a pair of excellent saves from Casemiro and Pepe in what was a Man-of-the-Match level performance from him, while City’s best attempt came from a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick.
In the end, Pellegrini’s men came away from the game the happier side, knowing that they’d need only a scoring draw at the Bernabeu to make it into the final, while Zidane’s Blancos had no other option but to win.
#1. Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid
Champions League group stage, 22nd November 2012
After City’s first entrance into the Champions League in 2011-12 saw them crash out at the group stage, hopes were higher going into the 2012-13 edition following Roberto Mancini’s side dramatically winning the Premier League title in the previous season. Unfortunately, they fell once again at the first hurdle, with this match against Real Madrid sealing their fate.
Both sides needed a victory at the Etihad; City more than Real as they’d picked up just 2 points prior to the game – the penultimate one in the group – but they were unable to gain it and showed their Champions League inexperience in a relatively low-par performance.
After just 10 minutes, Mancini’s side found themselves behind, Karim Benzema comfortably finishing from a nice cross from Angel Di Maria. At that stage of the game it looked like City were about to be destroyed; their 3-man defence was leaving far too many gaps and the likes of Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Di Maria looked set to run riot.
Mancini sent on Javi Garcia to replace Aleksandar Kolarov after half-time though, and the adjustment helped to shore up City’s back-line, allowing them to get back into the game. On 74 minutes, Sergio Aguero was fouled by Alvaro Arbeloa and dispatched the subsequent penalty, while Arbeloa was dismissed for the infraction.
Despite Los Blancos being down to 10 men, a late rally from City was unable to secure them what would’ve been an all-important winner – and they exited the competition while rooted to the bottom of their group, while Real advanced to the knockout stages after a victory over Ajax in the final game.