Ancelotti bets on Rodrygo at the Etihad
Semifinals | Going
The king of Europe visits the great candidate for the Champions League, still without a crown, with spirits of revenge on both sides
Sealing their revenge against Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals with another epic night at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid sets foot in the Etihad Stadium with renewed spirits of revenge. The king of Europe still stings the elimination at the hands of Manchester City a couple of seasons ago in that round of 16 match that began in February, was interrupted by the break caused by the pandemic and resumed in August to end the immaculate streak of Zinedine Zidane in the maximum continental competition. A couple of errors by Varane ended up condemning the whites in the return leg, who had already seen how the 'sky blue' side came from behind Isco's goal at home and won with goals from Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne.
Four years earlier, the Chamartín group had waged another double assault with the Mancunian troops much more favorable to their interests. Then, with Zidane on the bench for today's thirteen-time monarch of the continent and Manuel Pellegrini in command of the 'citizens' hosts, Real Madrid unlocked the doors of the Milan final with an own goal by Fernando after a shot by Bale in the arena La Castellana that resolved a dispute in which both had signed a draw in the celestial fort. It was the prelude to the clash that inaugurated the last royal cycle for the Whites in their fetish competition.
That is one of the pending accounts that Manchester City has with its rival this Tuesday. The other concerns your technician. Pep Guardiola, eternal nemesis of Real Madrid, suffered one of the greatest humiliations of his career in 2014 when Real Madrid thrashed his Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The braces of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos struck down the Bavarian colossus, whom Benzema had already scratched at the Bernabéu, and consummated the Santpedor coach's debacle against Carlo Ancelotti's "athletes", then on his way to the 'tenth' and at who will be measured for the seventh time in his career as a coach with the challenge of opening his record of victories against the transalpine in the star tournament.
Winner in eleven of the nineteen clashes he has had with Real Madrid and with the balance also in green in the six previous pulses he has thrown at Ancelotti, of which he has won four, Guardiola has that thorn in the Champions League with the Italian who intends to get out to keep alive the dream of leading Manchester City to the pinnacle of world football.
The final against Chelsea last year marks the top of the competition for a club that since the arrival of the Emirati capital has spared no expense to overthrow the old regime. With Guardiola in charge, he played once in the round of 16 and reached the quarterfinals three times, in addition to the aforementioned dispute over the most coveted trophy that Porto had as its stage. Steady but slow growth for a squad that in that period of time has won the Premier League three times and is leading the race for the title this season in a tight battle with Liverpool. The final step is missing and to take it he will have to leave the opponent with the greatest throne that exists in the gutter.
One factor that plays in favor of City is the experience of Guardiola, whose nine Champions League semi-finals as coach set a new record. The main headache for the Catalan was in the defense. With Cancelo sanctioned and Walker injured, the man from Santpedor bets on Stones as a blotter for Vinicius. On the offensive front, Gabriel Jesus, who appears in the last matchup with Real Madrid and who has just registered a poker against Watford last weekend, beats Sterling in a trident completed by Mahrez and Foden.
On the visiting side they were also aware of the infirmary until the last minute. Mendy has recovered in time and will once again cover the left flank of the defense, in whose axis will be Alaba, also recovered from his contracture. He does not arrive on time, on the other hand, Casemiro. In the absence of the Brazilian, Kroos will act as a buoy, with Valverde and Modric as partners in the engine room. Above, Ancelotti rewards Rodrygo's great moment, with Vinicius looking for the imbalance on the left wing and Benzema opting to hunt down Lewandowski as the top scorer in the Champions League to get a little closer to the Ballon d'Or.
Ederson, Stones, Rúben Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Foden.
Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Valverde, Modric, Rodrygo, Benzema and Vinicius.
Istvan Kovacs (Romania).
Movistar Champions League.