Real Madrid vs. Manchester City: Score, Highlights and Grades

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IISeptember 18, 2012

The most anticipated matchup in the Champions League group stage lived up to the billing as Real Madrid came from behind twice to beat Manchester City 3-2 at the Bernabeu. 

Joe Hart was called upon in the first half to make a few spectacular saves to keep the Galácticos out of the net.

In the second half, the game took a wild turn. Yaya Toure found Edin Dzeko on a counter attack to open up the scoring in the 68th minute, giving City the lead despite having been on their heals for most of the match. 

But Madrid pulled level with a fantastic shot from Marcelo in 76th minute after the Brazilian had been close to scoring on previous occasions. City then regained the lead on a dipping free kick from Alexander Kolarov in the 85th minute. 

The game continued on at a frantic pace and just two minutes later Karim Benzema fired low into the corner to give the Spanish side its second equalizer of the match. Then Cristiano Ronaldo was finally able to beat Hart in the 90th minute, a fitting end to a remarkable match. 



In the first half, Joe Hart was the main story as he came up with two incredible saves to keep the game scoreless. 

Yaya Toure broke the game open and proved once again how dangerous he is on counter attacks, covering an incredible amount of space in the blink of an eye before setting up Edin Dzeko.

Marcelo finally found the back of the net as the City defense allowed him far too much space. 

Alexander Kolarov's free kick put the Madrid defense in an uncomfortable position, and their hesitation proved to costly. 

Cristiano Ronaldo once again stole the show, and his strike gave Madrid a hard-earned victory.



Yaya Toure, Manchester City: A-

Toure is three center midfielders in one player. His size and strength make him an elite ball-winner while his vision and touch make him an excellent distributor. 

But his greatest asset is his ability to cover ground extremely quickly and lead a counter attack. When he was given this opportunity, he played his role perfectly and set up the first goal of the match. 


Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: A+

Ronaldo was a constant burden for the City defense throughout the match. He tormented the English Premier League's stingiest defense from a season ago, and was able to carry the ball at his markers and get into threatening positions.

If not for a few breathtaking saves from Hart, the Portuguese superstar certainly would have made it onto the score sheet earlier. But he remained persistent and deserved to score the winning goal. 


Edin Dzeko, Manchester City: B+

Dzeko came on as a substitue in the 63rd minute to give Manchester City an added presence up front. He did exactly this when he gave Toure a running partner on the counter attack that led to City's first goal.

When Toure gave him the ball, Dzeko was sharp and efficient with his touches, calmly pushing the ball past Iker Casillas. While he did not factor into the rest of the match much, he delivered precisely when City needed him most. 


Marcelo, Real Madrid: A+

The Madrid left-back constantly confused the City defense when he came forward, and was able to find acres of space on the pitch. He was able to tee up shots from distance at will, and nearly beat Joe Hart twice before finally pulling his team level. 

The Brazilian's shooting was excellent today, and he gave Madrid an excellent option in the attack. His contribution kept the Spanish side from losing. 


Joe Hart, Manchester City: B

Manchester City nearly earned a point primarily because of Hart's terrific performance. He was active and aggressive on his line, making himself tall and covering incredible amounts of space.

Had he not reacted quickly to Ronadlo's first-half attempts, City would certainly have lost this match by a much greater margin. While Ronaldo's game-winner was certainly a difficult shot to stop, he needed to come up with one more spectacular save to earn a point and was unable to do so. 


Angel Di Maria, Real Madrid: A

With the wild finish, Di Maria's incredible performance was overshadowed by his teammates who got on the score sheet. 

However, Di Maria had two assists in the match and was constantly orchestrating the Madrid attack. The Argentinian played brilliantly on the wing and also did extremely well when cutting into the center. He is as responsible for the victory as any of the goal-scorers. 


Manchester City Defense: D

This was a collective collapse from City's back four. The team was far too passive in dealing with Marcelo's runs forward. Benzema had an inexplicable amount of space to turn and shoot, and Ronaldo ran wild against the defenders for the entire match.

The back line was bailed out by Hart multiple times and simply did not perform up to par in this match. 


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