Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City Beat Real Madrid in Thrilling UCL Semifinal 1st Leg

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2022

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 26: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates 4-2 with Phil Foden of Manchester City  during the UEFA Champions League  match between Manchester City v Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on April 26, 2022 in Manchester United Kingdom (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Manchester City drew first blood in the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, coming away a 4-3 winner in the first leg Tuesday at Etihad Stadium.

Bernardo Silva appeared to cap off the attacking frenzy in the 74th minute. The Portuguese star created something from nothing when he gathered the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, took a few touches and launched a shot into the top corner.

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

BERNARDO SILVA HIT THAT. 😳 <a href="https://t.co/orJkSRtxTa">pic.twitter.com/orJkSRtxTa</a>

That wasn't the last twist in the drama, though, as Aymeric Laporte was whistled for a handball in the box to gift Real Madrid a penalty.

In the club's 3-1 win over Osasuna last Wednesday, Karim Benzema missed a pair of penalty kicks, but that wasn't going to keep him from being the player to step up to the spot in the 82nd minute.

Benzema was the epitome of self-confidence as he opted for a Panenka to once again bring Madrid to within a goal.

B/R Football @brfootball

KARIM BENZEMA PANENKA 🥶🥶🥶<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/TUDNUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TUDNUSA</a>)<a href="https://t.co/KU1J7YyPWr">pic.twitter.com/KU1J7YyPWr</a>

Depending on how the second leg unfolds, that goal didn't change the outcome in the first leg but could carry massive implications for the semifinal as a whole.

Manchester City survived a nervy quarterfinal tilt with Atletico Madrid. Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 70th minute in the first leg, and that was the only goal across the two fixtures.

Between City's hard-fought aggregate victory over Atletico and FA Cup semifinal loss to Liverpool, it seemed fair to wonder whether the reigning Premier League champion is slowly losing steam.

That notion was well wide of the mark Tuesday night, as City blitzed Madrid for two goals within the first 11 minutes.

Only 93 seconds elapsed when De Bruyne headed in the opener. The Belgian then found Gabriel Jesus in the box before the Manchester City forward executed a deft turn around David Alaba and slid home the club's second.

B/R Football @brfootball

93 SECONDS <br><br>Kevin De Bruyne scores the fastest goal in Champions League semifinal history ⚡<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSSportsGolazo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBSSportsGolazo</a>) <a href="https://t.co/oYE4i4I3tw">pic.twitter.com/oYE4i4I3tw</a>

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

Five goals in three days. Gabby Jesus cannot be stopped. ⚡️ <a href="https://t.co/dqaxTcnhXZ">pic.twitter.com/dqaxTcnhXZ</a>

Manchester City looked like a threat to score every time it had the ball in the Madrid half across the first third of the match. After a low shot from Phil Foden rolled just wide, a third goal felt inevitable. A few minutes before that, Riyad Mahrez hit a shot into the side netting instead of passing across to Foden for what would've been an easier finish.

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

The extremely loud Radio Marca commentators just behind us have described Madrid's backline as "una defensa de mantequilla".<br><br>"a butter defence"


Pep Guardiola was FURIOUS that Mahrez didn't play this ball across to Foden.<br><br>It could've been 3-0 within 30 minutes 😳 <a href="https://t.co/H03jwfttas">pic.twitter.com/H03jwfttas</a>

But Benzema continues to operate as something of a cheat code for Real Madrid. Against the run of play, the French striker volleyed home a cross from Ferland Mendy in the 33rd minute.

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

KING KARIM SCORES HIS 40TH GOAL OF THE SEASON ON HIS 600TH REAL APPEARANCE. 👑 <a href="https://t.co/lii5qWEPLg">pic.twitter.com/lii5qWEPLg</a>

Julien Laurens @LaurensJulien

Karim Benzema has scored 13 goals in the Champions League this season from an xG of 3.54! 😳 How?!?!?!? This is incredible. That’s why he is Kariiiiim the Dream!

Mahrez's finishing betrayed him again in the 48th minute. His left-footed effort caromed off the far post, and Dani Carvajal cleared away Foden's follow-up.

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

Mahrez ❌<br>Foden ❌<br><br>How did Manchester City not score?! <a href="https://t.co/uIQmIV2tn1">pic.twitter.com/uIQmIV2tn1</a>

Foden powered a header past Thibaut Courtois in the 53rd minute to put City supporters at ease, but their respite was brief as Madrid responded almost immediately.

Vinicius Junior left Brazilian compatriot Fernandinho in his dust and made a blistering run down the left flank. Before any City players could converge on the Real Madrid winger, he slotted the ball into the far post to make it a 3-2 game.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will be happy to come away with the win but only to a certain degree. Were it not for some poor finishing, his club would carry much more than a one-goal lead into the return fixture.

Such a slim margin doesn't offer much security against Real Madrid when Benzema is in the form that he's enjoying, either.

The teams will head to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return leg on May 4.