Manchester City vs Real Madrid preview: What time does it start, what channel is it on and where can I watch it?
A look ahead to the Champions League semi-final first-leg at the Etihad Stadium.
It’s a big game for...
Vincent Kompany: The Manchester City captain has only just returned from his latest calf injury, having started last week’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle before sitting out the 4-0 victory over Stoke at the weekend. Kompany’s talents are well documented, but so too are his fitness issues, and City cannot afford to see their captain’s return cut short again as it has done throughout his time at the Etihad.
Kompany will also need to find his form quickly, given Real Madrid have scored more league goals this season than any other team in Europe’s leading divisions. He is expected to partner Eliaquim Mangala in central defence, but for once all eyes will be on the Belgium international following a string of impressive appearances from the Frenchman.
Manchester City: Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Fernandinho, Fernando; Silva, De Bruyne, Navas; Aguero.
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
26: This is the 26th time Real Madrid have reached the semi-finals of the European Cup, with the Spanish side going on to win the competition a famous 10 times – more than any other club in history.
City led at the Bernabeu? Eden Dzeko gave City a second-half lead in their only previous trip to the Santiago Bernabeu back in the group stage of the Champions League during the 2012/13 campaign. Real soon equalised courtesy of a wonderful right-footed curling effort from Marcelo, but City restored their lead when Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick beat everyone in the Real area and left Iker Casillas stranded on his line with just five minutes remaining.
However, Karim Benzema levelled the scores with a neat finish and Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Jose Mourinho’s side took the three points with an injury-time effort that Joe Hart should have saved.
Player to watch...
Cristiano Ronaldo: The three-time Ballon d’Or winner faces a late fitness test ahead of the game but has travelled and is expected to play. His inclusion sees Real at their most lethal, with the trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale scoring 72 goals this season in all competitions. Ronaldo answered some of his critics that claimed he went missing in big games by scoring a hat-trick against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals to pull Real back from the brink, but if City can find a way to keep Ronaldo out of the game, they stand a chance of claiming an advantage to take to Madrid.
Manchester City 1 (Aguero, 73) Real Madrid 1 (Benzema, 10), Champions League, 21 November 2012.
Real Madrid 3 (Marcelo, 76, Benzema, 87, Ronaldo, 90) Manchester City 2 (Dzeko, 68, Kolarov, 85), Champions League, 18 September 2012.
Form Guide (last six games)…
Manchester City: WDWWWD
Real Madrid: WWWWWL
Manchester City: 19/10
Real Madrid: 29/20
(Odds provided by BetVictor)
TV: Live on BT Sport Europe at 19.00. Highlights on Wednesday 27 April on ITV at 22.40.
Independent News Service