Manchester City will face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals should they advance past Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
It looked like City could potentially have a rematch of last year’s agonising final defeat on the horizon after Chelsea served up an incredible comeback to storm into a 3-0 lead at the Bernabeu thanks to goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner. It was some turnaround after they lost the opening leg in London 3-1 due to Karim Benzema’s stunning hat-trick.
However, the latter stages of Europe’s top competition once again provided some remarkable drama. Luka Modric produced a stunning outside-of-the-boot ball into the box for substitute Rodrygo to volley home, levelling the scores on aggregate and sending the game into extra-time.
Madrid then dealt a killer blow to their spirited opponents as Benzema was on hand to score yet another header to put his side into the ascendency. A rollercoaster of a night would have no more twists and, despite having several great chances, Thomas Tuchel’s side couldn’t find another goal.
As a result, should City advance in their own finely-poised quarter-final on Wednesday, they will have another trip to the Spanish capital in store. The Blues currently lead reigning Spanish champions Atletico Madrid 1-0 after the opening leg in Manchester last week.
However, it took 70 minutes for Pep Guardiola’s side to finally break down the stubborn and resolute Atletico defence, with Kevin De Bruyne’s fine finish the difference. Yet, Diego Simeone would not have been overly disappointed by the result as his team are still firmly in the tie for the return leg on home soil.
City have met Madrid in three other Champions League knockout ties in the past and the results are even over six games with each side winning twice and there also being too draws. Madrid do hold the advantage on the number of eliminations, though, having knocked City out in 2012 and 2016, but City were victorious when they last met in the last 16 in 2020.
The first leg of the semi-finals will be played on the week commencing April 25, with the return fixtures coming a week later on the week commencing May 2. Villarreal are also through to the semi-finals after a shock triumph over Bayern Munich and will face either Liverpool or Benfica.