Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Player ratings: Landmark strike ignites stunning CL semi as Man City quartet light-up Etihad in Real thriller

Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden

The earliest ever goal in a Champions League semi-final lit up what was a spectacular first leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid, as the home side ran out 4-3 winners.

City got off to a dream start at the Etihad Stadium, opening the scoring inside two minutes in what was the quickest ever Champions League semi-final strike.

Riyad Mahrez cut in from the right, showing skill and poise before sending a fine left-footed cross that Kevin De Bruyne met with a brave header that beat Thibaut Courtois.

Things got even better for City in the 11th minute when Gabriel Jesus justified his selection in memorable fashion, meeting a De Bruyne cross and then turning David Alaba before firing home.

Mahrez and Foden both squandered great chances to make it 3-0 before Real woke up through their talisman Karim Benzema in the 36th minute.

The France striker expertly hooked a left-footed shot in off the post under pressure from Oleksandr Zinchenko to make it 2-1.

Topsy-turvy encounter keeps on giving

City opened up their two-goal advantage again in the 53rd minute as substitute Fernandinho crossed superbly to the far post, where his pin-point centre was headed home by Foden.

The goals kept coming, however, and Real were back in it when Vinicius Jr escaped down the left. The winger was then given a clear run on goal before eventually beating Ederson from a tight angle.

An extraordinary game saw another twist as City added a fourth with a stunning strike from Bernardo Silva. But Real were not done as Laporte handled in the area and a cool Benzema decided a panenka was the best way to beat Ederson.

The thrilling contest is now set up unbelievably for the second leg next Wednesday.

Man City (4-3-3)

Ederson: Could do nothing about Real’s three goals after being let down by his defenders. 6/10

John Stones: Had his hands full with Vinicius Jr and hobbled off with only 36 minutes on the clock to be replaced by Fernandinho. 6

Aymeric Laporte: Should have got across to at least make a challenge as Vinicius had a free run on the City goal for Real’s second. Tough night as his handball also gifted the visitors a third. 5

Ruben Dias: Solid as a rock and managed to keep Benzema fairly quiet despite his two goals. 7

Oleksandr Zinchenko: Beaten to the ball by Benzema as Real pulled a goal back. Always available as an attacking outlet down the left. 7

Kevin De Bruyne: Gave City the perfect with his early diving header and completely bossed the opening half as City largely dominated. Not as effective in the second but still showed touches of class. 8

Rodri: Kept his discipline well to thwart the counter-attacking threat of Real . 7

Silva stunner too hot for Courtois

Bernardo Silva: Brilliant touches in the first half and smashed home a stunning fourth for City with 16 minutes to go. 8

Riyad Mahrez: Superb inswinging cross found the head of De Bruyne for City’s early opener. Hit the post early in the second-half but a constant thorn in Real’s side. 8

Gabriel Jesus: Took his first-half goal superbly, with a clever turn and finish and caused Real’s defence problems with his movement. 7

Phil Foden: Showed some outrageous skills early on but squandered two great chances to add to City’s lead either side of half-time. Made up for those misses with a close-range header to give City breathing space. 8


Fernandinho (on for Stones, 36): Forced to come on in an unfamiliar right-back role but produced a brilliant cross for City’s third. Torched by the pacy Vinicius for Real’s second goal on the night.  6

Raheem Sterling (on for Jesus, 84): N/A.