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Real Madrid vs Manchester City: five most memorable meetings


The UEFA Champions League semi-finals kick off on Tuesday night with the champions of England seeking to dethrone the champions of Europe.

Manchester City and Real Madrid have previously met eight times, all coming since 2012, including at this stage of last season’s competition, with this article looking back at their five most memorable meetings.

Real Madrid vs Manchester City: Head-to-head Champions League record

Manchester City wins: 3. Real Madrid wins: 3. Draws: 2.

Real Madrid vs Manchester City: UEFA Champions League meetings

2022 semi-finals: Real Madrid 6-5 Manchester City- on aggregate, after extra time.

2020 round of 16: Manchester City 4-2 Real Madrid- on aggregate.

2016: semi-finals: Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City- on aggregate.

2012 group stages: Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City & Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid.

2012: Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City

Back in 2012, Manchester City were very much the new kids on the block in Champions League terms, having finished third in their group on debut 12 months earlier.

This time round, as Premier League champions, a lot better was expected of Roberto Mancini’s team, as they kicked off their campaign with a trip to the Bernabéu.

The Sky Blues were seemingly on the cusp of a famous victory, with Edin Džeko breaking the deadlock before Aleksandar Kolarov made it 2-1 with just four minutes to play.

But, as Man City would learn frequently over the subsequent decade, you can never write off Real Madrid.

Karim Benzema equalised in the 87th minute before, in stoppage time, Cristiano Ronaldo fired home the winner, dipping over Vincent Kompany’s head and beyond the reach of Joe Hart.

Manager José Mourinho certainly enjoying this winner, knee-sliding onto the pitch in jubilation.

Man City would go on to finish rock bottom of Group D, failing to win any of their matches, with the reverse fixture a dead-rubber 1-1 draw.

2016: Real Madrid 1-0 Manchester City

Three seasons later, Manchester City had reached a first-ever Champions League semi-final, thanks to victories over Sevilla, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Dynamo Kyiv and Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid meantime had just dumped out Wolfsburg, losing the first leg 2-0 away before Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick secured a remontada.

In truth, this semi-final wasn’t a particularly entertaining affair, with the only goal of the 180+ minutes coming in the first half of the second leg.

20 minutes into the clash in Madrid, Gareth Bale burst in behind down the right and his attempted cross flicked up off Fernando and flew into the top corner.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men rarely looked like getting back into the tie, with Real setting up an all-Madrid final at San Siro.

Zinedine Zidane’s team would defeat Atlético on penalties, securing the first of their unprecedented three-peat Champions League success.

Man City meantime would have to wait another five years for their next semi-final appearance.

2020: Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City

In 2020, these two were drawn against one-another in the round of 16, after Real had slumped to second place in their group, behind PSG.

This felt like a coming of age night for Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s team coming from a goal down to win 2-1.

Isco broke the deadlock, but Gabriel Jesus’ header, followed by Kevin De Bruyne’s cooly taken penalty, secured two away goals (remember them?) and a statement away win.

A fortnight after this game, the world shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the second leg played 63 days later behind-closed-doors, also a 2-1 Man City win.

Following this victory at the Bernabéu, no one could have foreseen that Man City’s Champions League bid that season would come to an end at the hands of Olympique Lyonnais in an empty stadium in Lisbon six months later.

2022: Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid

Manchester City and Real Madrid went head-to-head in the Champions League semi-finals just last season, producing an epic two-legged affair for the ages.

The first leg witnessed no fewer than seven goals, with Man City racing into a 2-0 lead after little over ten minutes, with Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus again on target against Real.

The teams then took in turn to score, with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva on target, only for Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior to find the target too.

The scoring ended in the 82rd minute, with Benzema converted a penalty, opting for the impudent Panenka in such a high-pressure moment.

So, 4-3 it finished, leaving the tie perfectly poised for the rematch in the Spanish capital eight days later.

2022: Real Madrid 3-1 Real Madrid

This clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is, without doubt, one of the most memorable matches in the 68 year history of the Champions League/European Cup.

For over 70 minutes, it was a rather forgettable, low-key clash, until Riyāḍ Maḥrez fired home an opener, sending Thibaut Courtois the wrong way, giving Man City a seemingly unassailable 5-3 aggregate advantage.

With over 89 minutes on the clock, Real Madrid were going out with a whimper, and had a ≤1% chance of advancing.

Los Blancos managed to cut the deficit when Karim Benzema’s cross was poked home by Rodrygo, but they still needed to score again.

A mere 88 seconds later, the unthinkable had actually happened; Dani Carvajal’s cross was nodded home by that man again Rodrygo; amazing scenes.

At this point, Man City had completely fallen apart, and Rodrygo would actually have completed a 177 second hat-trick, but for an Ederson save.

Nevertheless, Real Madrid secured the remontada in extra time from the penalty spot, with Rúben Dias scything down Benzema, before the Frenchman picked himself up and slotted home from 12 yards.

After 210 minutes of action, los Blancos prevailed 6-5 on aggregate, and would go onto capture their 14th European Cup against Liverpool later that month.

If this season’s rematch is anywhere near as entertaining, we’re in for a treat.


Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".


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