“I’m happy for the victory and the performance as well. It’s not over. There’s one team in the world who can overcome everything, and it’s this club, but for our people, hopefully we can make a good performance and go through.” Guardiola said in his post match conference. If there’s any team that can do the almost impossible, it’s Real Madrid.
City had to come from behind to win their round of 16 first-leg against Madrid, after the hosts were put ahead by Isco. City head to the Etihad Stadium in two weeks as favourites to progress at the expense of the 13-time winners. It is nights such as this when City fans will concede that they quite like the Champions League after all. This was their first win over Real Madrid and their most significant Champions League result.
The last half hour of the game was very intense as Gabriel Jesus equalized, and Kevin De Bruyne put the visitors ahead from a penalty. Real Madrid ended the game with 10 men after Sergio Ramos was sent off for bringing down Jesus as the Brazilian looked set to score a third.
“We had 10 free days, and in those days, I watched the most amount of matches of Real Madrid,” Guardiola said. “Their defensive game was different. That’s why we changed. The space was there to attack, but never since I’ve been a coach have I gone to defend.
“[Zinedine] Zidane will look at what we’ve done, and the second leg will be different. We have to adapt quickly and try to go there to win the game.”
Madrid had not been playing well prior to the match, a run of just one win from their past four games in all competitions appeared to back it up. But when Isco scored, they looked ready to nick another big result in the competition they have made their own.
City fans became louder following the equalizer and lead. At the end of the game, they sang in protest at UEFA for their Champions League ban and in support of their owner, Sheikh Mansour, but the biggest statement was delivered by their team.
By: Muyiwa Aguda