Manchester City lacked ingenuity and creativity on all fronts as they succumbed to a disheartening 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Manchester City was expected to put up a fight against the Spanish Giants, but they fell short of expectations throughout the course of the game which has undoubtedly left City fans as well as fans of English football pondering about why their team lacked the drive and desire to put the game to bed.
The odds were firmly stacked against City, but Real also had a lot to worry about because Manuel Pellegrini’s men were eager to score at least one away goal that would have sent them to the final.
Following Atletico Madrid’s semifinals triumph, a host of English football supporters expected City to follow suite and secure qualification against Real Madrid to set up what would’ve been dubbed as a final for underdogs considering the tiny odds of both sides reaching the final in the first place.
Now the stage is set for another Madrid Derby in the Champions League final with Real Madrid having won the European title against Atleti three years ago following an emphatic late comeback orchestrated by Sergio Ramos.
Manchester City looked like a better side in the opening 15 minutes of the game as their forwards made some decisive runs and kept possession quite casually with Jesus Navas launching most of City’s attacks from the flanks.
However, they seemed to have lost concentration later in the game as Real Madrid began their spell of dominance just before the half-time when Gareth Bale dispatched the ball to its ultimate destination with a cross helped by Fernando.
The home side controlled the game after that limiting Manchester City to just half chances in the second half.
Pellegrini added some dynamism to City’s attack when he sent in Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Ihenacho onto the pitch, but the pair failed to make any significant impact on the scoreline. Although, City looked more dangerous going forward when they had Sterling on the ball.
Real Madrid could have been down to ten-man in the second session when Lucas Vazquez threw in a reckless challenge at Sterling with his studs showing. Vazquez undoubtedly deserved to have been sent off on that occasion, but the ref brandished a yellow card when he could easily have shown the Red Card.
Now that Real Madrid has made it into the final, they may begin to look ahead to the clash against their City rivals which means they might pull out of the La Liga title race.
Real Madrid needs all their players to be fully fit ahead of the supposed grudge match that awaits them in the final of Europe’s elite club competition as there have been some fitness concerns growing in the Madrid camp.
Ronaldo just made his return from a hamstring injury that he picked up a fortnight ago.
Judging by the importance of the game against Atletico, Real’s key players may be given a hiatus from the La Liga to prevent any last gasp injuries.
Atletico, on the other hand, are a team that works hard regardless of the opposition. They are fully expected to keep on putting pressure on Los Cules in the La Liga title race because they aren’t facing any serious injury or fitness concerns.
The way Atleti sets up on a consistent basis suggests that they will maintain their first team selection up until the UCL final against Los Merengues and by the looks of things they’re going to stick with the 4-4-2 formation that has brought them unparalleled success in recent years.
Zidane’s army should be ready for the battle of a lifetime against Simeone’s troops as we know all too well what Atletico Madrid are capable of when they have loads of belief.