Not many predicted Pep Guardiola’s men to come out victorious in the encounter, especially with their inconsistent form this season and their Champions League failures of the past. However, the reigning Premier League champions showed immense character and determination with two late goals to set up an intriguing game back at the Etihad Stadium in a fortnight.
In this article, we take a look at the player ratings from Guardiola’s sensational win over his former rivals.
The Manchester City goalkeeper made a brilliant save from Karim Benzema in the first half, with the crucial stop becoming one of the moments of the match and a potential match-winner on its own. Real Madrid did not have a lot of shots on goal but Ederson was up for the task whenever called upon.
Kyle Walker: 6.5
The right-back had a decent game overall but is to be partially blamed for Isco’s goal. He could have done better to deal with the ricocheted ball which went through his legs before finding Vinicius, who squared it to the Spaniard for the opening goal.
Walker was toe-to-toe with the Brazilian teenager throughout the game but must have blown a sigh of relief when he was substituted. In attack, the Englishman was given license to bomb forward and his pace allowed him to recover well.
Aymeric Laporte: 6
The Frenchman was on the receiving end of another unfortunate injury just after the hour-mark. Having been sidelined for the majority of the season, this was Laporte’s third game in a week which is probably why his body took a toll. City maintained a defensive shape in the first half, conceding only a couple of chances and his presence gave them much-needed stability at the back.
Nicolas Otamendi: 4.5
A surprise inclusion over the consistent Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi was terrific in the air, winning a lot of duels and headers. However, he committed a decent amount of errors which helped Madrid create chances out of nothing.
Benjamin Mendy: 4
Manchester City’s most average performer of the night was left-back Benjamin Mendy, who is still finding his feet at the club. The French defender was excellent against Leicester City on the weekend, overpowering Ricardo Pereira on the left flank, which is why he got a nod against Madrid. However, he misplaced passes, took heavy first-touches and looked nervous all night long.
His sloppy pass was the reason Vinicius capitalised and assisted Isco for the opening goal of the night. His overall passing was decent but his lack of pace allowed the Real Madrid midfielders to glide past him easily. In the end, it was a typical Atletico Madrid-like performance from the Spaniard.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6
The German gave the ball away too many times and was ineffective in a double-pivot alongside Rodri. However, when the game opened up in the second half, Gundogan had a lot of freedom to dictate play and provide his neat passes to the forwards.
City’s captain on the night, Kevin de Bruyne, continued his brilliant Premier League form into the tie as he was a constant menace for the Real Madrid defenders. His turn and assist to Gabriel Jesus was magical and he also calmly slotted in a penalty to give Guardiola a healthy win to take back home. The Belgian was a class apart from the rest of the players on the pitch.
Bernardo Silva: 7
Tirelessly pressing and trying to take on defenders, Bernardo Silva was a joy to watch once again. Although not very effective in attack, the Portuguese helped City retain the ball and disrupted Real Madrid’s approach.
Riyad Mahrez: 6.5
Not at his usual attacking best, Riyad Mahrez could have had three goals in the match. The Algerian stretched the defence and carved open several chances but could not add the finishing touch.
Gabriel Jesus: 9
Several eyebrows were raised when Gabriel Jesus was picked over Sergio Aguero to spearhead the City attack. The Brazilian, however, had his best game in a City shirt to date. He was everywhere on the pitch, constantly pressing and working hard to get the ball back. He had City’s best chance in the first half which he should have buried but a well-taken header in the second half charged up Guardiola’s team. However, his biggest contribution of the night was when he got Sergio Ramos sent off in the final minutes of the game.
Guardiola said the Brazilian was not fully fit for the encounter but when called into action in only the 33rd minute, Fernandinho looked straight at home in the City defence. He nullified Karim Benzema and mopped up Otamendi’s mistakes, showcasing his immense worth at 34 years of age.
Raheem Sterling: 7.5
Sterling changed the tempo of the game as he came on in place of Bernardo Silva after a brief injury lay-off. His quickness and pace were dearly missed by Guardiola in the last few weeks. The Englishman won the match-changing penalty when Dani Carvajal lunged in aimlessly.
Thibaut Courtois: 7
The Real Madrid keeper made crucial saves off Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez in the first half and could not have done much in the former’s equalising header after the break. For the penalty, Courtois picked the wrong way and handed Manchester City a lead going into the second leg.
Dani Carvajal: 4
The Spaniard was seen performing only his defensive duties up until his attacking spell in the second half. However, Carvajal could not halt De Bruyne’s cross to Jesus for the equaliser and went on to concede the penalty late on. It was a largely forgetful night for the 28-year-old.
Sergio Ramos: 3
Sergio Ramos almost scored an own goal in the first half, could not cope up with Mahrez all night, got overpowered by Jesus for the equalising header and got sent off in the final minutes of the game. In a nutshell, it was absolutely calamitous for the Real Madrid captain who will now miss the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.
Raphael Varane: 6.5
In stark contrast to Ramos, Varane was arguably one of the best players in the white shirt. He had control over the game, was strong defensively and looked confident all night. However, the chaos around him made him look much worse than he actually was.
Ferland Mendy: 7
In a tale of two Mendys, Ferland definitely came out on top. The 24-year-old French defender was excellent going forward and also completely neutralised City’s attack in the first half.
Casemiro was the obvious focal point in Zidane’s set-up but had an unusually average performance in midfield. He blocked Jesus’ shot on the goal-line in the first half but his sloppiness in the second half led to Ramos’ red card.
Luka Modric: 6
The Croatian popped up in decent positions and played around City’s midfield in the first half but the pressure from the Citizens in the second half meant that he faded out of the game. He spent too much time complaining rather than impacting the game.
Federico Valverde: 5
An added protection in midfield, Valverde has been an unsung hero in this Real Madrid side this season. He has the capability to create chances as well but it was not his day against a determined City team who outran him in the second half.
Vinicius Jr: 7
One of Real Madrid’s most promising players on the pitch was youngster Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian teenager looked confident and rearing to go in the first half with his flicks and tricks, but he should have buried in the rebound off Benzema’s header.
He was a constant attacking threat from the left-side and gave Walker something to think about throughout the game. His assist to Isco for the opening goal was also class and substituting him was not the best decision by Zidane.
Isco linked up with Vinicius and Modric to create some notable chances and superbly slotted in the former’s pass past Ederson for the opening goal. However, he would have hoped to have a bigger impact especially in a floating role.
Karim Benzema: 5
Apart from his towering header in the first half which was brilliantly stopped by Ederson, Karim Benzema was non-existent in the entire game. His statistics this season have been remarkable but a lack of service clearly cut him out of the action.
Gareth Bale: 4.5
Many were expecting some fireworks from Bale when he came on for the final fifteen minutes but apart from a sprint or two, he could not affect the game at all.
Lucas Vasquez and Luka Jovic: N/A
The duo had too little time to impact the game.
Also Read: Man City UEFA ban- CAS confirm appeal lodgedPublished 27 Feb 2020, 06:58 IST