In what is probably one of the most tense match-ups this season, two familiar faces met in Europe’s biggest stage once again. The last time Ancelotti faced Pep Guardiola, Los Blancos pulled off a historic comeback, moving to the final and claiming their 14th Champions League title.
However, that time around, Manchester City had a huge problem. They didn’t have a striker, a number 9, someone who could make sure that any ball inside the rectangle would end up in the back of the net. Now, Norwegian star boy Erling Haaland has become a goal-scoring machine. In fact, Haaland has scored 51 goals across all competitions this season.
How the Game Went
On a tactical standpoint, the game was exactly as expected from both coaches. Pep Guardiola’s side kept position for the most part, with Kevin De Bruyne and Haaland trying to break down Madrid’s low block through the middle. Ancelotti’s boys patiently waited, with their classic counter attacking style.
Madrid’s patience finally paid off as a well constructed play from the back ended in a menacing run from Vinicius Jr. to swing the ball past Ederson in the 36th minute, putting Madrid up 1-0. Los Merengues went into the locker room up 1-0.
As the game continued on in the second half, it was more of the same. Manchester precariously kept the ball around the edge of Madrid’s third and tried to find every way to bring the game level.
The breakthrough finally came in the 67th minute as Kevin De Bruyne slots a beautifully hit ball past fellow Belgium National Team player, Thibaut Courtouis. From then on, it seemed like Manchester were too cautious of any risks, slowing the pace of the game to a halt at times. To Pep, the goal could be more than enough to send Madrid packing home in the return leg in the Etihad Stadium.