Manchester City will go to the Bernabeu with a slim Champions League semi-final edge after a seven-goal first-leg thriller against Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.
City put up a spectacular show, peppering Real’s goal for lengthy stretches, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side continued clawing their way back into a serious position to reach another final.
Kevin de Bruyne set the tone for a spectacular night of play in the second minute with a diving header from Riyad Mahrez’s cross, and in-form Gabriel Jesus promptly added a second from close range as Real reeled under wave after wave of the onslaught.
Mahrez infuriated manager Pep Guardiola when he struck the side netting rather than finding the unmarked Phil Foden, who went inches wide before Karim Benzema gave Real a lifeline with a sweeping header from Ferland Mendy’s cross after 33 minutes.
Shortly after the interval, the Spanish side escaped again when Mahrez hit the post, but City regained their two-goal lead in the 53rd minute when an unmarked Foden headed home Fernandinho’s cross.
Vinicius Junior dummied past Fernandinho and went from within his own half to score a fantastic second for Real.
Referee Istvan Kovacs’ great use of advantage, though, enabled Bernardo Silva to blast into the top-left corner for City’s fourth goal.
There was no respite, as Benzema concluded a magnificent performance by demonstrating steely nerves to chip a Panenka penalty past Ederson with eight minutes remaining after Aymeric Laporte’s handball.