Thursday, 30 May

Man City adopted quickly to chaos - Guardiola

Sports News
Pep Guardiola

Manager Pep Guardiola praised Manchester City's ability to "adapt quickly to chaos" in their 3-3 first-leg draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Holders City took took the lead in the second minute when Bernardo Silva cleverly snuck a 25-yard free-kick round the wall and past goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

 

But deflected strikes from Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo helped 14-time European champions Real overturn the deficit at the Bernabeu.

"We were 2-1 down, playing here without much composure," Guardiola said.

"This game, in the first three seasons together, we'd have lost 4-1 or 5-1 as we were not stable emotionally."

City, who won this competition for the first time last season as part of a historic Treble, came into this game with Kevin de Bruyne on the bench after the Belgium midfielder fell ill before kick-off.

Guardiola said: "One of the secrets at the high levels is to adapt quickly to chaos. There is no time to complain.

"You need time to learn and now we are more stable and hopefully in the future we can do better and better."

City had lacked quality in the final third until Phil Foden, who had been on the periphery of the game, found space just outside the area to turn and fire into the top corner to pull City level.

 

Moments later left-back Josko Gvardiol cut in and found the far corner with a superb right-foot shot to score his first goal since joining City from RB Leipzig in the summer.

However, Madrid equalised with a stunning volley from Federico Valverde to set up an intriguing second leg on Wednesday, 17 April at Etihad Stadium, where City beat Madrid 4-0 in last season's semi-finals.

"We take the result and in one week in Manchester, with our people, it will be sold out and they will help us," Guardiola added.

City show resolve

City got the perfect start when Silva cleverly curled in the opener after Aurelien Tchouameni, who will now miss the second leg, fouled Jack Grealish.

Guardiola's team were rocked by Madrid's quickfire response, but showed patience in their build-up with Madrid happy to sit off the Premier League champions, only pressing when City got near the penalty area.

It worked for large parts of the game and opened up counter-attacking opportunities for Carlo Ancelotti's side, but City's quality eventually told.

Foden had been quiet, drifting between wide right and attacking midfield, but his superb season continued when he smartly turned and fired an unstoppable drive into the top-right corner of the goal.

When Gvardiol put the visitors ahead, just a second win at the Bernabeu looked on for City, before they were pegged back by Valverde's wonderful low drive.

However, City now have the chance at home to progress to the semi-finals for the fourth consecutive season, where in recent years they have blown sides away in the Champions League.

Madrid exploit City's lack of pace

This is a very different Real Madrid team to the all-conquering sides which dominated the tournament this century.

Their general shape, often with 11 men behind the ball, showed City a lot of respect, and perhaps vulnerability on the back of last season's chastening defeat in Manchester.

However, their solid defensive shape allowed them to exploit one of the few weaknesses City have.

At the back Guardiola's side lack pace, especially with the continued absence of Kyle Walker, and that allowed Rodrygo to get in down the City right for the second Madrid goal.

It was a weakness that Madrid, who are top of La Liga and had nine days off coming into the game, continued to target but Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo all saw efforts saved or go wide.

It is a tactic they are likely to use at the Etihad in eight days' time, but last season Ancelotti's side struggled to gain possession in the second leg against a fired-up City, so opportunities may be few and far between.

It will be fascinating to see if Guardiola's team, who are one point off top spot in the Premier League and into the FA Cup semi-finals, can do it again and continue their march towards another Treble.

Source: BBC