The Champions League: Manchester City vs Real Madrid, Live!
by Ian | Apr 26, 2016
Good evening everybody, and welcome to our coverage of this evening’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid. New money versus old money. Middle-Eastern oil barons versus a club so much of the establishment that they have the Spanish word for “Royal” in their name. If you want an idea of the extent to which this is a clash of the arrivistes and the old guard, consider this somewhat extraordinary comparison – this is Manchester City’s first appearance at this stage of the Champions League or European Cup whereas, by contrast, Real Madrid have played at this stage of the tournament on a previous twenty-seven occasions. Real have won this competition ten times whereas, prior to the introduction of cold, hard cash into the equation a few years ago, City had only ever played two matches in the competition.
The story of Manchester City’s doomed venture into Europe in 1968 is a curiosity of its times. City had won the league on the last day of the previous season, but this achievement was slightly overshadowed by Manchester United becoming the first English club to win the European Cup shortly afterwards. City, therefore, might have been persuaded to take the European Cup seriously the following season, but assistant manager Malcolm Allison – who did most of this sort of work, under the genial Joe Mercer – didn’t get his opponents, the Turkish champions Fenerbahce, watched properly prior to the first leg. A crowd of almost 38,000 people saw them draw that match nil-nil, and Fenerbahce won the second leg to dump City out of the tournament at the first hurdle. It would be forty-three years before they returned.
Those of you that have looked at the team lists below will have noted that Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t play for Real Madrid tonight. He can’t even muster a place on the substitutes bench. Manchester City, meanwhile, are missing Yaya Toure. On the flip-side for both teams, Karim Benzema, who had been an injury concern for Real, and Vincent Kompany both start for their respective teams. Kick-off is at 7.45 (in the UK) and I’ll be back then for the whole of what is a most difficult to call Champions League semi-final.
Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernandinho, Fernando, Jesus Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Aguero. Substitutes: Caballero, Zabaleta, Sterling, Kolarov, Delph, Mangala, Iheanacho.
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Lucas Vazquez, Benzema, Bale.
Subs: Casilla, Varane, James Rodriguez, Kovacic, Jese, Isco, Danilo.