Manchester City welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of their semi-final tie in 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
Man City enter this tie chasing a second consecutive Champions League Final appearance, whereas Real are looking for a 17th appearance in the final of Europe’s biggest footballing tournament.
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Kyle Walker could return for Man City after he missed their last three matches with an ankle injury.
John Stones (muscle) is another doubt after he too missed Saturday’s match but Joao Cancelo is suspended, after he picked up his third yellow draw of this season’s competition in their goalless draw at Atletico Madrid two weeks ago.
Benjamin Mendy (personal) remains absent.
Real Madrid could be without Nacho after he missed their last two matches with a muscle injury.
David Alaba (hamstring) is a doubt but Miguel Gutierrez (muscle) and Luka Jovic (groin) are unlikely to be available, whilst Mariano Diaz (muscle) is definitely ruled out.
- Manchester City have won just two of six previous Champions League matches against Real Madrid (W2, D2, L2).
- Real Madrid are winless in three previous visits to the Etihad Stadium (D2, L1).
- Man City have previously played Real in a Champions League semi-final on these very dates (26 April & 4 May) in 2016, where they drew 0-0 at home before losing 1-0 in Madrid.
- City have conceded five goals at home in this season’s Champions League, albeit in the Group Stage only with two consecutive clean sheets in the knockout stages.
- Five of Karim Benzema’s 12 Champions League goals for Real this season have been scored away from home.
Despite having one eye on their Premier League title fight, Man City definitely are coming into this match full of confidence after a ruthlessly clinical win over Watford complete with fantastic movement on and off the ball.
Pep Guardiola’s only concern though will surely be with how his team let their defensive focus slip briefly against Watford for Hassane Kamara’s goal, in which they lacked awareness of his positioning which can’t be repeated here against this strong Real team.
Real meanwhile come into this match fully rested after no La Liga round took place over the weekend due to the Copa Del Rey Final, which could give them an extra edge in fitness and tactical planning especially if they’re to silence City’s aggressive attacking movement and try to control this leg.
Goals however should be a certainty given the form of both teams but Real haven’t won at the Etihad in three previous visits, so a City home win could be a decent bet if there is a winner otherwise I am going for an entertaining score draw.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-2 Real Madrid