Following a tense 1-1 draw in the first leg Manchester City welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad tonight as their quest for the treble continues. Kevin De Bruyne’s long range strike in Madrid has placed the Citizens in a wonderful position as Carlo Ancelotti’s 14 time European Cup winners seek passage to the final in Istanbul this June.
This is an all too familiar situation for Ancelotti who will be hoping to look back on last year’s semi-final as motivation for his side to secure their 18th final appearance in the club’s history. Having exited the competition at the same stage against the same opposition last year, Guardiola will be keen for his side to offer greater attacking threat as he chases three trophies to close the season.
The Madrid stars were left stranded outside Manchester airport for over half-an-hour on Tuesday as their mission to reach another Champions League final encountered an unexpected hitch. Ancelotti was less than impressed at the awkward mix up in Manchester. Real ended City’s dreams of winning a first Champions League title in dramatic fashion at this same stage 12 months ago and want lightning to strike twice.
In last season’s semi-final, when Madrid staged a comeback to beat Guardiola’s men 6-5 on aggregate, both legs were enthralling. This season the meeting of the two giants feels entirely different. Crucially, perhaps, this time the second leg takes place at the City of Manchester Stadium, where the home side are on a 14-match unbeaten run with a combined score of 49-7. City have made a real habit of turning ties around when the second leg has been back in Manchester this season. Expect more of the same here tonight.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Real Madrid