• Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Nervous Witness out to continue ascent at Happy Valley

April 27, 2022, 4:22:44 AM

Carlo Ancelotti's last visit to Manchester City ended in a 5-0 humiliation, which was the final match of his Everton managerial career.

Carlo Ancelotti's last visit to Manchester City ended in a 5-0 humiliation, which was the final match of his Everton managerial career.
On his return to Etihad Stadium, the great Italian manager, 62, turned to his Real Madrid backroom staff with arms outstretched and an anxious glance down at his watch with City 2-0 up after only 11 minutes, he was presumably fearful of a similar result.
The city was soaring. Real were awestruck. This was shaping up to be a one-sided thrashing for the venerable old Champions League campaigner, who was chasing the title for the fourth time in his career.
Despite this, Ancelotti was seen smiling on the pitch after the game, his eyebrow arched in customary fashion, suggesting he was content with a 4-3 first-leg loss, much to the surprise of almost everyone who witnessed a gold standard classic of a football match.
He didn't seem as surprised as others that Real was still in with a chance of reaching another Champions League Final.
City's players were not deflated - how could they be after such an outstanding performance and a semi-final first-leg victory? Their body language, on the other hand, revealed the harsh reality that they should have had this tie tied up by the time the second leg began at the Bernabeu.
This was a thrilling night that embodied everything that is great about football at this level, and City were spectacular at times.
Nonetheless...
The Bernabeu has an odd way of doing things in the Champions League, and while City will not face the same physical assault as Atletico Madrid did in the quarter-final second leg, they will be put to the test with only a one-goal lead.
A Real Mad Night in Manchester, according to the Football Daily podcast
Who was in your combined Man City and Real Madrid starting lineup?
Get direct access to all of the best City stuff.
Real was let off the hook by City, and history shows that this may be a costly error.
Ancelotti, like many of the Real players, has run this course and distance before, but they will also recall being ripped to shreds for lengthy periods of the game.
They will, however, have serious faith in their ability to beat either Liverpool or Villarreal in Paris.
The good news for City is that, despite the close victory, they outclassed Real at times, with Luka Modric unable to impose his normal influence in midfield.
City was slicker, better, and more frightening. This is the information they'll bring on the plane to Madrid.
Nonetheless...
Who knows what kind of lead Real will need to finish off the competition, especially with the Bernabeu fans behind them and such a long history in this competition? Every big night at the grand old arena comes with a sense of foreboding.
Guardiola's thinking was revealed with City two goals up and Real on the verge of being beaten.
When Riyad Mahrez committed the cardinal sin in this manager's book by being too greedy, slamming a shot into the side-netting with Phil Foden waiting unattended in the centre and the goal at his mercy, the Spaniard exploded in wrath in his technical area. At 3-0, the job might have been done.
Guardiola yelled, "Riyad. Riyad," before continuing to fume. Real Madrid is unforgiving, as he knows, as the Spanish giants have proven.
City had a two-goal lead three times, played fantastic, fluid football, and will know there will be no need for those nagging questions that may have been after the final whistle.