Real Madrid beats Man City 4-3 on penalties to advance to the Champions League semifinals

MANCHESTER, England — Real Madrid weathered the storm, silenced the crowd and ultimately ended Manchester City’s brief hold on the Champions League.

It was the all-time kings of Europe who moved a step closer to a record-extending 15th title in the competition they have dominated after a 4-3 win Wednesday on penalties at Etihad Stadium.

For Pep Guardiola it is back to the drawing board after watching his team dominate Madrid, only to relinquish the trophy it won for the first time last year.

“In this competition, that’s the way happens,” the City manager said. “In other sports, for (these) statistics, we would have won.”

The game had gone to the uncertainty of a shootout after ending 1-1 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.

City dominated the chances after going behind to Rodrygo’s opening goal in the 12th minute, but only had Kevin de Bruyne’s leveler in the 76th to show for its superiority, which included 64% of possession and 18 corners to Madrid’s one through extra time.

That counted for little as Antonio Rudiger struck the decisive spot kick after Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic both saw their penalties saved.

“I was pretty much dead on my feet at the end,” Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham said. “It’s so difficult. They are continuously probing with the ball and move you around. Most teams would fall apart when City get on top of you, but we stood up really well.”

Madrid’s players and the visiting fans were still celebrating as the stadium quickly emptied.

City’s hopes of becoming the first English team to win back-to-back Champions League titles were quashed. So too, Guardiola’s bid to win successive trebles.

Madrid’s own defense of the trophy was ended by a 4-0 rout at the hands of City in last year’s semifinals. Now it is closing in on another title and will face Bayern Munich in the semifinals.

Bayern beat Arsenal 1-0 on Wednesday and 3-2 on aggregate.

Despite coming up against the defending champions and tournament favorites, Bellingham had been quick to point out the pedigree of his own team on the eve of the match, noting “we’re a pretty good team ourselves.”

So it proved.

The England midfielder was pivotal to Madrid’s opener with a moment of brilliance to open City up.

Collecting a high ball just past the halfway line, Bellingham shook off the attention of Rodri with a deft touch to wrong-foot his opponent.

The ball was worked to Vinícius Junior on the right who crossed to Rodrygo. The Brazilian’s first shot was pushed away by Ederson, but there was nothing City’s goalkeeper could do when he fired home on the rebound.

In response, Erling Haaland and City mounted one attack after another to leave Madrid retreating for the majority of regulation time.

City’s pressure eventually paid off when De Bruyne leveled the game.

Substitute Jeremy Doku’s cross was only partially blocked by Rudiger and when the ball rolled to De Bruyne, he lifted a shot high into the net.

With no further goals in extra time, the game went to a shootout and City immediately seized the advantage after Julian Alvarez converted his opening penalty and Luka Modric’s effort was saved.

But Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin then saved successive spot kicks from Silva and Kovacic to swing the balance in the visitors’ favor. Silva’s attempt was right down the middle and easily caught chest-high by Lunin.

It came down to Rudiger to take the winning kick that sent Madrid fans wild and City supporters home.

“I could never dream of how it started (for me at Madrid),” Bellingham said. “Just the feeling you get playing for the club — getting to put the badge on your chest. Long may it continue. Hopefully more nights like this.”


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