Vinicius Junior and Kevin De Bruyne stepped up for their teams in a tense Champions League semi-final as their stunning strikes left the tie finely poised ahead of the return leg.
Thibaut Courtois – 8
Real Madrid leant on their goalkeeper as they allowed Man City shots from range. He was more than up to the task, producing five saves, but couldn’t do anything to stop De Bruyne’s stunning goal.
Dani Carvajal – 6
Seemed more interested in winding up Jack Grealish than playing football. The right-back had a tough start, like the rest of his team-mates, but had an easier ride as the game went on.
Antonio Rudiger – 7
Did a good job of keeping Erling Haaland quiet. The former Chelsea defender left Ilkay Gundogan in a heap after a robust challenge as he imposed himself on the opposition. He combined well with David Alaba to contain one of Europe’s most prolific teams and his aggression was vital.
David Alaba – 7
Was composed in possession to help Real Madrid weather the early storm of Man City pressure. Best moment was when he kept out Haaland with a big sliding block in the box.
Eduardo Camavinga – 7
Tireless performance from the young midfielder at left-back. His run and pass set up Vinicius Jr to give Real Madrid the lead. But his bad pass gave up possession for De Bruyne’s equaliser.
Toni Kroos – 7
Struggled at times in the holding midfield role defensively, especially early on when City had control of the game. But his class shone through as Real grew into the game, playing a key role to keep his side calm with his ball retention.
Luka Modric – 7
The midfield maestro produced a moment of class to unlock Camavinga deep in the Real Madrid half for Vinicus’ goal. He couldn’t always keep up with City’s energy when Real were sat back on his return from injury however became more comfortable as his team took more risks going forward.
Federico Valverde – 7
Handed a more defensive role in midfield as he dropped back into the defence at times which meant we saw less of him going forward. Still signs of his quality in flashes offensively but fulfilled his duties admirably at the back. His rare attacking threat on the occasions he could get forward could see him start further up the pitch at the Etihad, as he did throughout the knockout stages last season.
Rodrygo – 7
Kept Man City busy and showed his quality going forward in moments. Real’s other Brazilian was somewhat in the shadow of his compatriot but was a genuine threat for Real. The lack of service for much of the first half left him feeding off scraps but he made use of the rare attacks and helped Los Blancos get back into the game.
Karim Benzema – 7
Star of the show last year, Benzema had more of a supporting role this time out. Knitted the play together well to help Real move further up the pitch and would’ve scored in the first half had it not been for Ruben Dias. His header deep into the second half was expertly stopped by Ederson.
Vinicius Junior – 9
Lived up to his billing by scoring an absolute screamer to put Real Madrid ahead. Man City never looked comfortable when he had the ball. The Brazilian shone brightest in a game that had been billed as a battle between himself and Haaland. It’s not often Kyle Walker has so much work to do. Player of the match.
Marcos Asensio – 5
Wasn’t on the pitch for long.
Aurelien Tchouameni – 6
Another late introduction but nearly scored the pick of the bunch. We’ve seen him strike them before for France against England.
Nacho – N/A
Had little to do in the few minutes he was on the pitch.
Ederson – 8
Could do nothing about Vinicius’ thunderous strike but produced vital saves when called upon, keeping out Benzema’s second-half header and the late thunderbolt from Tchouameni. Those saves may be forgotten with the two beautiful goals, but could prove crucial as the teams get set to battle it out in what is effectively a play-off at the Etihad.
Kyle Walker – 7
Was caught out at times by Vinicius but stuck to his task against one of Europe’s best forwards. No player on the pitch had more tackles than his five. Had he not been at it, Vinicius could’ve wreaked havoc on the City backline. He thoroughly enjoyed his task and showed it at full-time as he had a little cuddle with the Brazil forward.
Ruben Dias – 8
Produced a goal-saving block to stop Benzema from tapping in at the back post after Vinicius’ drilled cross in the first half. He was, perhaps, guilty of backing off the Brazilian too much for his goal. But he produced a captain’s display to help City keep Real’s chances to a bare minimum with a big display at the back.
John Stones – 8
Had a very strong start and was involved in a lot of City’s attacking play at the beginning of the game. Also defended very well out of possession. The England defender got so high up the pitch in his new hybrid midfield role that he looked like a No 10 at times. He’s thriving with more responsibility.
Manuel Akanji – 7
Struggled against Rodrygo at times but brought so much composure to City’s backline as they dominated the possession. Has had better games for City but is becoming very reliable for Pep Guardiola in City’s latest system.
Rodri – 8
Unfazed by the big occasion on his return to Spain, he was dictating the play for City and was a handful for Real. Also showed his grit in the midfield battle. City’s most consistent performer delivered again as he controlled the game for long periods against two of the world’s best midfielders.
Ilkay Gundogan – 7
Was in the wars early on after tough challenges from Kroos and Rudiger but managed to find De Bruyne for his equaliser. Real stopped him from finding those pockets of space going forward that he thrives in, missing the target with his two shots. The German midfielder barely put a foot wrong in midfield as City imposed themselves in Real’s backyard.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8
Had been stopped from linking up with Haaland for most of the game, but took matters into his own hands by scoring a stunning, drilled strike from range to bring City level. City’s star man stepped up again in their time of need. After seeing his first two efforts stopped by Courtois, De Bruyne made sure he beat his international team-mate at the third time of asking.
Bernardo Silva – 7
Played a big role for City early on as they appeared to target Camavinga, but he didn’t get much luck against the makeshift left-back. As always, he worked tirelessly for his team and won the ball back more than anyone else on the pitch (7) and pushed and probed for an opening, making more passes into the final third than anyone else.
Erling Haaland – 5
Had three shots which were comfortably saved by Courtois. Real did a good job of keeping the superstar’s involvement to a minimum. He had the fewest touches of any player that started (22), with both goalkeepers having more.
Jack Grealish – 7
Created more chances than any other City player as he gave Carvajal a headache. Ran himself into the ground in what turned out to be a good battle with the Real right-back after some early theatrics by Carvajal. He was involved in City’s equaliser as he threaded the ball into Gundogan.
Real Madrid’s next game is at home to Getafe in LaLiga on Saturday – kick-off 8pm.
The European champions then travel to the Etihad to take on Man City in their Champions League semi-final second leg on May 17 – kick-off 8pm.
Ahead of their rematch with Real, City go to Goodison Park to take on Everton in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 2pm.
May 14: Everton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
May 17: Real Madrid (H) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
May 21: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm
May 24: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
May 28: Brentford (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
June 3: Manchester United (N) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm