Football Features

Player ratings as “the coolest man in European football” makes history again but Man City beat Real Madrid 4-3

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:33, 26 April 2022

In a staggering night of football, Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-3 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Every time City looked set to pull away and seal the tie, Los Blancos found a way to get back into the game.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad Stadium:

Manchester City

Ederson – 6 – Didn’t play terribly but still conceded three times.

John Stones – 4 – Struggled to deal with Vinicius’ movement on the flank. Hooked early due to injury.

Ruben Dias – 7 – A rock solid display at the heart of the City defence yet still saw his side concede three times.

Aymeric Laporte – 5 – Did mostly well but foolishly conceded a penalty to once again give Madrid life when they had none. He was also quite slow to cover Vini on the Brazilian’s goal.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7 – Failed to track Benzema for Madrid’s first. Did really well after that and pinged some delicious crosses in.

Rodri – 8 – Pinged the ball about the pitch with ease. Won the ball back when he had to and basically owned the middle of the pitch.

Bernardo Silva – 9 – Tigerish in the tackle, brilliant on the ball and scored a deliriously dynamic and devastating goal to make it 4-2. Quite simply one of the best midfielders in the world.

Kevin De Bruyne – 9 – Quite simply one of the other best midfielders in the world. Arguably the best. The levels De Bruyne was hitting in the first half could be said to be nothing but Messi-esque, torturing Madrid between the lines. A wonderful run and diving header gave City the lead and he then produced a sumptuous pass to Jesus for the second. Every time the ball went near him you could feel the terror in Real Madrid’s souls. He’s on a plane all of his own.

Riyad Mahrez – 6 – Produced the cross of the year to let City open the scoring, but later missed a simple cross that would have given his side a third, selfishly shooting. After that he continued to do almost everything perfectly only to mess up easy finishes and so, instead of cruising into the first leg, City are just one goal up.

Phil Foden – 7 – Terrorised Madrid with his movement and dribbling on the left. Scored a wonderful header.

Gabriel Jesus – 7 – A tenacious bit of play to double City’s lead as he shrugged Alaba off, spun and tucked the ball home. Never stopped running and his movement left Madrid in a daze.

Manchester City Substitutes:

Fernandinho (for Stones 36′) – 7 – Played really well with the ball producing some outstanding passes, but got rinsed by Vinicius on more than one occasion including for the Brazilian’s goal.

Raheem Sterling (for Jesus 83′) – 4 – Quietly came on after Madrid’s penalty and did nothing but mess up City attacks.

How the Champions League outright odds look now:

  • To win the 2021/22 Champions League: Man City 1/1 | Liverpool 6/5 | Real Madrid 12/1 | Villarreal 20/1

Follow this link for more William Hill football betting markets. Odds correct at time of publication. You must be over 18 to gamble. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware.

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois – 6 – Played well, had no chance with any of the City goals, especially Foden’s.

Dani Carvajal – 7 – Unreal, instinctive block on the line to stop Foden scoring a third at the start of the second half. After that he was probably Real Madrid’s best defender but that really isn’t staying much.

Eder Militao – 4 – Failed to track De Bruyne for the opener. Failed to deal with any of City’s movement and physicality. Lucky that City didn’t really have their shooting boots because this should have been six or seven for Pep’s men.

David Alaba – 4 – Shrugged off too easily by Jesus for the second City goal. Struggled to deal with City’s movements and was subbed off at half-time, possibly with a knock but honestly that would be a convenient cover.

Ferland Mendy – 5 – Played terribly but produced a lovely cross for the first Madrid goal that he manages to avoid a 4/10.

Toni Kroos – 6 – Constantly caught out defensively whenever City ran at him which was all the time. However, his passing was superhuman yet again and of course he completed more than 90% of his passes.

Fede Valverde – 7 – The ultimate worker never stopped working. Gets through so much effort.

Luka Modric – 7 – Crucial tackle to enable Madrid’s first goal and some delicious turns and passes. However, unlike the last two rounds he peaked too early in the game and ran out of steam.

Rodrygo – 5 – Didn’t really impact the game much.

Vinicius Jr. – 7 – Lively but sloppy for the most part as City pocketed him quite well. Well, except for the time he spun Fernandinho like a top and then sprinted 50 yards untroubled into the box to slot home a stupendous goal.

Karim Benzema – 8 – Absent from the game until he pulled Madrid back into it with a barely believable left-foot finish sweeping a cross into the back of the net to bring Los Blancos back to life. After that he was more involved, more lively, and when Los Blancos needed someone to take the decisive penalty Benzema not only stepped up but Panenka’d it in. 600 games played for Real Madrid, 41 goals scored this season with nine of them in the Champions League knock-out rounds for Karim Benzema; the best player in the world right now and, according to commentators: “the coolest man in European football.”

Real Madrid Substitutes:

Nacho (for Alaba 46′) – 7 – Came on and steadied the ship to a degree. Always reliable.

Eduardo Camavinga (for Rodrygo 70′) – 7 – Helped stabilise midfield when he came on.

Dani Ceballos (for Modric 79′) – N/A – Came on late.

Marco Asensio (for Vini 88′) – N/A – Came on late.