After displaying moments of sheer individual brilliance at the Santiago Bernabeu, Manchester City and Real Madrid will face each other once again at the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night.
With the first leg ending in a 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital, both teams now have everything to play for as they look to potentially end the 2022-23 season as league champions and European conquerors. However, only one team can emerge victorious in this highly anticipated clash.
In last Tuesday's opening affair at the Bernabeu, Vinicius Junior set the bar high with a stunning goal, only for Kevin De Bruyne to raise it even higher. Despite Man City looking the more threatening side early on and taking the lead, a quintessential Champions League display from Los Blancos saw Carlo Ancelotti's team undo the Citizens' earlier hard work through Vinicius' rocket.
As the holders appeared set to extend their lead, De Bruyne showcased his outrageous technique with a sizzling strike that found the bottom corner. The Belgian's stunning effort ensured that Pep Guardiola's side would return to their headquarters with a hard-earned draw.
Man City's treble chasers had one priority in mind - avoiding a beating at the Bernabeu. Having accomplished that, they will undoubtedly carry the favorites tag on their shirts into Wednesday's second leg. The team navigated their way past Everton in a potential banana skin of a Premier League match with ease over the weekend.
The in-form Ilkay Gundogan was instrumental in their victory, contributing two goals and an assist, putting Man City within touching distance of the Premier League title. However, Guardiola's men cannot be preoccupied with thoughts of top-flight glory as they have their eyes set on upsetting the European apple cart.
Man City heads into Wednesday's second leg with an impressive 22-game unbeaten run to protect, having won 15 consecutive matches at the Etihad Stadium across all tournaments - scoring at least twice in 14 of those matches. They have not lost a Champions League game on their home turf since September 2018.
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