Rodrygo Goes and Eduardo Camavinga inspired Real Madrid to a comeback for the ages as they beat Manchester City 3-1 to qualify for the UEFA Champions League finals.

Manchester City came into the second leg of the semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu with a slender lead, having beaten Real Madrid 4-3 at the Etihad in the first leg last week. And the game was off to a feverish start, with tempers flaring early on as Aymeric Laporte and Luka Modric were involved in a kerfuffle.

The first big chance of the night fell to Vinicius Junior, who fired his effort over the bar, while Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden then forced Thibaut Courtois into two important saves as the first half ended goalless. Vinicius had another half-decent opportunity early in the second period but could not make it count, and the chances of another magical comeback at the Bernabeu started to look bleak.

Things got even more difficult for Real Madrid when Riyad Mahrez powered home a stunning strike in the 73rd minute to give Manchester City an aggregate lead of 5-3 in the tie. Jack Grealish had a couple of great chances to kill the game off but was denied by a goalline clearance from Ferland Mendy, and a fine save by Courtois.

The home team pressed in search of a way back, but the Cityzens managed to hold firm until the final minute of regulation time, at which point all hell broke loose. And then, Rodrygo Goes poked home a smart finish after some top-notch work by Eduardo Camavinga and Karim Benzema in the 90th minute to bring Real Madrid back into the game.

With the deficit down to one goal and six minutes of added time left, Real Madrid started smelling blood, and Manchester City began to show signs of nerves. And just like that, within a minute, Real were back on level terms as Rodrygo powered a header into the net to make it 2-1 on the night and 5-5 on aggregate, sending the game into extra time.

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From that point on, there was going to be only one winner as Real Madrid again showed their Champions League pedigree while Manchester City looked stunned and rattled by their opponents’ late rally. A poor challenge by Ruben Dias on Benzema gifted Carlo Ancelotti’s men a penalty in the first half of extra-time, which the Frenchman tucked away to pull off another miraculous comeback.

Manchester City had the result in their pockets and were almost through to the finals in Paris later this month. But their failure to kill the game off when the chances were there came to haunt them as Real Madrid did what they do best. They are not called the comeback kings for nothing as Ancelotti & co. scripted another memorable victory after their exploits against PSG and Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid will now face Liverpool in the finals of the UEFA Champions League in France, while Pep Guardiola’s wait for another European trophy continues. Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after a classic encounter played out in the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid Player Ratings

Thibaut Courtois: 9/10

While Rodrygo, Benzema and Camavinga will enjoy the spotlight for Real Madrid’s comeback, it would not have been possible without their goalkeeper. Courtois has time and again stepped up for Los Blancos this term, single-handedly saving them on several occasions. And on Wednesday, he was at it again, making sharp saves to deny Silva and Foden in the first half.

The Belgian international then produced a stunning save with his toe to keep Jack Grealish out and then was at hand to deflect Foden’s header away from goal in extra time. While he may have been beaten at his near post by Mahrez, Courtois more than made up for it on the night.

Dani Carvajal: 8/10

The Spaniard brought all his experience and know-how to the table, defending stoutly for most of the game while also providing an attacking outlet on the right flank. Carvajal hit a sumptuous cross for Rodrygo to head home in stoppage time to make it 5-5 on aggregate.

Eder Militao: 7/10

Not his finest displays, as he was found wanting with the ball at his feet at times, but the Brazilian showed great heart and determination to keep Manchester City at bay for most of the game. Militao produced several crucial interventions throughout the contest before he had to be taken off with a knock in extra time.

Nacho: 8/10

Stepping in for the injured David Alaba, the Real Madrid utility man proved his worth with a brilliant defensive display on the night. Often the last man at the back, Nacho was at hand to make several crunching tackles to break City’s attempts to counter while he used the ball well when in possession. The only blemish in his performance was that he could have done better to close down Silva in the buildup to City’s goal.

Ferland Mendy: 6/10

The Frenchman was not tight enough to Mahrez for the goal, while he was also guilty of not providing adequate attacking support to Vinicius on the left flank. However, his goalline clearance to deny Jack Grealish with the scoreline at 1-0 proved a pivotal game-changing moment. He also tightened things up at the back in the latter stages of the game.

Luka Modric: 7/10

The Croatian international was involved in a lot of positive things that Real Madrid did in the first period. Taking up a slightly advanced position than usual, Modric was always trying to get on the ball and drive the team forward and helped create chances in the first half. Off the ball, he was found wanting at times and was taken off by Ancelotti to add some fresh legs onto the field.

Casemiro: 6.5/10

The Brazilian added the solidity and bite in midfield that was missing in the first leg for Real Madrid. While his presence helped the team, Casemiro made some strong challenges in the first half and was lucky to avoid a booking. He seemed to tire off and made way for Camavinga, who was one of the chief catalysts for the comeback.

Toni Kroos: 6/10

A so-so display from the German international who failed to stamp his authority on the proceedings but did enough to ensure that City were not in control either. Kroos came close with a deflected freekick and was a tad too passive in his distribution at times. He was the first player to be taken off.

Federico Valverde: 7.5/10

The energy and intensity Valverde brings to the table are off the charts. The Uruguayan was all over the pitch throughout the 120 minutes, helping Carvajal out defensively, while also aiding in buildup play and chance-creation. He never stopped pressing the visitors and did a sterling job of protecting the defence in the latter stages of the game after moving into midfield.

Karim Benzema: 8/10

The Frenchman might not have been as involved as he has been in matches this season, but he stepped up for his team in the important moments. Benzema did very well to cushion the ball for Rodrygo to score the first goal. He then won the penalty and scored it with ease to help Real Madrid through to the finals. The main man rose to the occasion yet again.

Vinicius Junior: 6.5/10

The Brazilian was involved in an enthralling duel with Kyle Walker, who matched his pace at every step and ensured that he was quiet for long parts. However, once the Englishman started struggling with an injury and had to be taken off, things opened up for Vinicius, who ran at the visitors and caused problems, although his end product was not always up to the mark. 


Rodrygo Goes: 9/10

Unlucky to have been dropped out of the starting XI despite scoring a brace at the weekend against Espanyol, Rodrygo replaced Kroos in the 68th minute and livened things up for Madrid. The Brazilian scored two wonderful goals in the 90th and the 91st minute to drag his team back into the game. He also was involved in the move leading to the penalty incident and worked his socks off to help his side out defensively in extra time. Simply stunning!

Marco Asensio: 6/10

The Spaniard replaced Modric in the 75th minute. While he might not have been as influential as some of the other substitutes, Asensio played his part in helping Real Madrid get over the line with his efforts off the ball.

Eduardo Camavinga: 9/10

Camavinga came on for Casemiro in the 75th minute and helped turn the tide in Real Madrid’s favour. The youngster played a brilliant deep cross to Benzema in the buildup to the first goal and had a hand in the second goal as well, winning the ball back and starting the attack. The Frenchman also had a rolein the move leading to Benzema winning the penalty. 

Camavinga showed great maturity in the final stages of the game, making crucial tackles and interceptions, while some of his driving runs with the ball were simply stunning. A bright future awaits the teenager who has had to bide his time in his debut season in Spain.

Dani Ceballos: 6/10

The midfielder came on for Benzema for the final 15 minutes of extra time and helped see the game out.

Lucas Vazquez: N/A

Vazquez replaced Vinicius for the last five minutes.

Jesus Vallejo: N/A

Vallejo came on for the injured Benzema in the 115th minute and won some crucial headers.

Manchester City Player Ratings

Ederson Moraes: 5/10

The Brazilian did not have much to do for the first ninety minutes of the game before he ended up conceding three goals in quick succession. Ederson should have done better for Rodrygo’s second of the night, while some of his kicking in the latter stages was poor.

Kyle Walker: 7/10

Rushed back from injury for this vital game, Walker produced a top-notch defensive display as he went toe-to-toe with Vinicius Junior and kept the Brazilian quiet for a long time. However, his fitness issue started flaring up as the game wore on he had to be taken off.

Ruben Dias: 5/10

The Portuguese had had a steady display for most of the night, even though there were one or two missteps along the way. Dias had done well to keep Real Madrid at bay before the entire defence fell apart in the final phase. To make matters worse, he gave away the match-winning penalty with a rash challenge on Benzema.

Aymeric Laporte: 5/10

The Manchester City defender was involved in an incident with Modric early on, during which he appeared to slap the Real Madrid veteran and comically threw himself to the ground to try and get the midfielder sent off. Lucky to be just shown a yellow card for the incident. Laporte did his bit to keep the home team far from Ederson’s goal but could not hold things tight in the final stages.

Joao Cancelo: 5/10

Not good enough from the Portuguese international, who was back for this game after missing the first leg due to suspension. Cancelo did not offer the usual level of threat in attack while he struggled to keep things quiet on his side defensively. He also lost Benzema in the lead-up to the first Real Madrid goal.

Bernardo Silva: 8/10

One of the best Manchester City players on the pitch, Silva forced Courtois into a save in the first period and always posed a threat when he got on the ball. When not in possession, the Portuguese playmaker was always at hand to help out defensively, showing off his impressive work rate. Silva then went on a fine run before setting Mahrez up for the goal, which seemed to have won it for City until the team broke down late in the game.

Rodri: 7/10

The Manchester City midfielder did what he was supposed to do as he kept making ball recoveries in the centre of the park (15) and playing it forward in an attempt to start attacks. Rodri oozed calm and composure on the field and was in no way responsible for the calamitous display from his team in the latter stages.

Kevin De Bruyne: 6/10

One of the biggest cames of his career, but De Bruyne just could not get going. While he did help engineer a couple of chances and had a few attempts at the goal from a distance, the Belgian never really hit his stride and was taken off in the 72nd minute.

Riyad Mahrez: 7/10

The Algerian international had been quiet for most of the game, but when his moment came, Mahrez made no mistake, as he scored a stunning goal that should have won it for Manchester City if not for the late collapse. He has now scored 24 goals in the 2021/22 campaign.

Gabriel Jesus: 5/10

The Manchester City striker had caused a lot of grief to the Real Madrid defence in the first leg. But a repeat was not on the cards at the Bernabeu as he never really got going and hardly posed a goal threat. Jesus was taken off in regulation time.

Phil Foden: 5/10

Apart from a couple of bright moments when he called Courtois into action, Foden never really got going on Wednesday night. The Manchester City wonderkid spent a lot of the second half and extra time chasing long balls and had no visible impact on the proceedings.


Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10

Gundogan replaced De Bruyne in the 72nd minute and had a hand in the buildup to Mahrez’s goal. He injected some energy in midfield, but the seasoned pro could not help his team regain their composure when things started to fall apart.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 5/10

He came on for Walker in the 72nd minute and slotted in at left-back, with Cancelo moving on to the right. Zinchenko showed good energy and adventure after stepping onto the pitch but could not cope with Rodrygo.

Jack Grealish: 5/10

If there ever was an occasion for Grealish to prove his worth, this was it. But the £100 million-man failed to show up, failing to kill the game off when presented with two brilliant opportunities.

Fernandinho: 5/10

On for Mahrez in the 85th minute as Guardiola thought of shutting up shop. However, the Manchester City captain could not inspire his team over the line. He came close to scoring in extra time but could not divert his effort on target.

Raheem Sterling: 5/10

On for Foden in extra time. Sterling did little of note.

Comments 1

  1. Hala Madrid “When you think nothing happens, That’s when anything can happen” Hail Madrid.

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