Home Sports Real Madrid’s tough victory over Manchester City felt like a heavyweight boxing fight… this was not a typical display from Carlo Ancelotti’s team, but perhaps survival was the only way they had a chance, writes AADAM PATEL

Real Madrid’s tough victory over Manchester City felt like a heavyweight boxing fight… this was not a typical display from Carlo Ancelotti’s team, but perhaps survival was the only way they had a chance, writes AADAM PATEL

by Alexander
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Real Madrid's tough victory over Manchester City felt like a heavyweight boxing fight... this was not a typical display from Carlo Ancelotti's team, but perhaps survival was the only way they had a chance, writes AADAM PATEL

The clock read just over 11:30 p.m. when the UEFA representative informed the print media that Carlo Ancelotti would not give the post-match press conference and would simply pass through the mixed zone. Yes, it was late, but Ancelotti did it his way.

Minutes earlier, Pep Guardiola had commented that he felt his Manchester City team couldn’t have done more to beat Real Madrid. “We played exceptionally well in every aspect,” he said. ‘They defended so deeply with incredible solidarity. We did everything. “I don’t regret it,” Guardiola insisted.

They put even more pressure on Ancelotti and Madrid’s defensive approach. “I don’t want to judge the way and the ideas with which Madrid and Carlo decided to play,” he said. More than anything, it was a statement of respect rather than frustration.

Ancelotti’s team started brightly, content with City having possession in their own half, although they themselves were comfortable in possession; Their early goal was a prime example as they ran through City with ease.

However, inexcusably after the break, Madrid went deeper and deeper as City’s attack continued. It was a one-way game and after the tie, only one team really looked like they could win.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City on penalties and qualified for the Champions League semi-finals.

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This defensive display was untraditional for Real Madrid, who survived City’s attack.

Madrid were confident they would win the penalty shoot-out after third-string goalkeeper Andriy Lunin produced a man-of-the-match performance.

Madrid were confident they would win the penalty shoot-out after third-string goalkeeper Andriy Lunin produced a man-of-the-match performance.

‘You can’t explain it. We started well, we took the lead and then we started to defend, to suffer, to qualify. “We thought we would play differently, but when we got ahead, we dropped the block too much,” Ancelotti admitted afterwards.

Still, his team struggled admirably with Andriy Lunin, Madrid’s third goalkeeper at the start of the season, putting in a man-of-the-match display.

In the closing stages, it looked like the twelfth round of a heavyweight fight with two elite teams refusing to be defeated. One on the hunt for victory. The other is simply content to survive.

While the penalty shootout was taking place, Ancelotti walked along the touchline isolated, apart from the rest, in his own space and with his own thoughts.

1713427513 11 Real Madrids tough victory over Manchester City felt like a

Pep Guardiola’s men dominated Madrid but couldn’t find a way to knock them down

Carlo Ancelotti stated that 'sacrifice' was the only way Madrid could unseat City at the Etihad

Carlo Ancelotti stated that ‘sacrifice’ was the only way Madrid could unseat City at the Etihad

As his players and backroom staff rushed towards Antonio Rudiger and Lunin after the winning penalty, the Italian expressed a brief moment of joy with two fists in the air before shaking Guardiola’s hand.

‘In the penalty shootout we were convinced that we were going to qualify. Andriy played a fantastic game. I really like it when a team sacrifices and fights. In addition to quality. This is the only way to win here,” he said.

In fact, the only way to win here. Ancelotti knows it. He saw his team capitulate at the Etihad less than a year ago in the semi-final and knew it was necessary to sacrifice. Perhaps the plan for this ‘Don Carlo’ crush was laid out that night. This was not the traditional Madrid way. But perhaps it was the only way Madrid had a chance.

‘Our greatest strength is [Ancelotti] Find a way to let children play freely. Other teams are structured with their game patterns, but sometimes we are very improvisational,โ€ insisted Jude Bellingham. “I caught him yawning before the game and he said, ‘You have to go and excite me!’ That’s the peace of mind it brings.’ Bellingham added.

There are already three times that a team led by Ancelotti has eliminated Guardiola from the Champions League: 2014, 2022 and 2024.

City learned from their capitulation to City last year with this crushing of 'Don Carlo'

City learned from their capitulation to City last year with this crushing of ‘Don Carlo’

An incredible tenth semi-final of the Champions League awaits the Italian. This time, against another former club, Bayern Munich.

There will undoubtedly be a reprimand and perhaps a fine for his decision not to bother with the press conference. But here we have a man who has always done it his way. And also with great success.

“Everyone thought we were dead, but no one can do it, Real Madrid never dies,” the 64-year-old coach said later.

So, just like the class and aura of Real Madrid, Ancelotti’s class and aura are still alive. He remains the only coach with four European Cups under his belt. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if that number reaches five on June 1 at Wembley.

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