Despite Real Madrid falling to a 4-3 defeat against Manchester City on Tuesday, Pep Guardiola has congratulated the La Liga leaders and manager Carlo Ancelotti. The City boss was full of praise after witnessing an instant classic at the Etihad Stadium in their Champions League semi-final first leg.
Kevin De Bruyne contributed to a dream start for the hosts, opening the scoring in the second minute before providing the assist as Gabriel Jesus doubled the lead just past the 10-minute mark. Karim Benzema produced a stunning finish to revive Real later in the first half, but Phil Foden restored the two-goal advantage minutes after the break.
Just moments later, Vinicius Jr. produced a dazzling piece of skill to set himself free down the left and slot home to make it 3-2 before Bernardo Silva added a fourth on 74 minutes. However, after Aymeric Laporte’s handball in the area, Benzema netted his 14th goal of the campaign with a brilliant panenka penalty to round off a scintillating encounter.
After full-time, Guardiola sent congratulations to Ancelotti for his team’s performance in east Manchester. The Catalan coach labelled Real ‘so good’ ahead of their decisive second-leg clash, still all to play for, at the Bernabeu next week.
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He told BT Sport: “All we can do is perform as we perform. The quality of Real Madrid is such they can punish you. What we have done with the ball and without the ball, creating chances and chances and chances, I can’t ask anything else.
“Both teams want to attack and have the quality to play,” Guardiola added. “Football is a fantastic spectacle. Congratulations to Carlo [Ancelotti] and his team as they are so good. At the same time, we saw ourselves that we can be there.”
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Man City’s full focus will turn towards a potentially tricky test against Jesse Marsch’s resurgent Leeds United this weekend. Guardiola said: “I say to the players to rest. Leeds now is the most important thing and we go to Madrid to win.”
Marsch’s side are unbeaten in five games, winning three of them, and are looking for a win that could help guarantee survival. But City travel to the always-hostile Elland Road, knowing a slip-up would open the door for Liverpool to take pole position in another enthralling Premier League title race.
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