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Top Winners and Losers After Real Madrid vs. Manchester City UCL Semifinal Leg 2

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2022

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on May 4, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

For 89 minutes, Manchester City imposed its will on Real Madrid, leading 1-0 on a Riyad Mahrez rocket and 5-3 on aggregate.

And then Los Blancos did what they always seem to do—they won.

Two regulation goals and one extra-time goal later, and Real Madrid had its 3-1 win (6-5 on aggregate) and its berth in the Champions League final against Liverpool.

It should be a match for the ages. First, we'll recap the winners and losers from Wednesday's instant classic, a game that won't soon be forgotten.


Winners: Rodrygo and Karim Benzema

From the depths of despair to the pinnacle of joy, courtesy of Rodrygo and Karim Benzema.

First, it was Rodrygo, the second-half substitution, scoring two goals within a minute of each other at the death to force 30 minutes of extra time:

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

THE GOAL THAT GAVE REAL MADRID HOPE. ⚪️ <a href="https://t.co/KZGXCNa9fU">pic.twitter.com/KZGXCNa9fU</a>

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES FROM RODRYGO TO LEVEL THE TIE. BERNABEU BEDLAM! 🤯 <a href="https://t.co/UAr6zwvhm2">pic.twitter.com/UAr6zwvhm2</a>

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Rodrygo’s introduction had been a turning point against Chelsea top.

And once the game headed to extra time, was there really any doubt who would provide the crucial moment?

CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ @CBSSportsGolazo

KING KARIM IS INEVITABLE.<br><br>REAL MADRID SHOWING WHY THEY ARE THE KINGS OF EUROPE. 💥 <a href="https://t.co/nWF0itchuO">pic.twitter.com/nWF0itchuO</a>

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Karim Benzema just keeps on scoring 📈🇫🇷<br><br>Where do you rank him among French strikers all time? <a href="https://t.co/VDF5ES48Wj">pic.twitter.com/VDF5ES48Wj</a>

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

⚽️ Most knockout goals in a single Champions League season: <br><br>▪️ Cristiano Ronaldo = 🔟<br>▪️ Karim Benzema = 🔟<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UCL</a> <a href="https://t.co/gbGs2Zgc5e">pic.twitter.com/gbGs2Zgc5e</a>

Of course not. It was always going to be Benzema.


Loser: Pep Guardiola's Champions League Legacy

Yes, Pep Guardiola has won the UCL twice. He's undoubtedly one of the game's iconic managers.

But he last did so in the 2010-11 season with Barcelona and since then has watched some truly talented clubs bottle excellent opportunities.

Maximiliano Bretos @MaxBretosSports

Another <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChampionsLeague?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChampionsLeague</a> collapse for Manchester City, this one the worst of the lot. A late game meltdown that defies explanation. A heavy burden for Pep, who was outmaneuvered by Ancelotti.

Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_

What a game. Guardiola and City will start to feel there's a curse on them on them in the Champions League. But you just can't blow a match-winning lead in stoppage time

Graeme Bailey @GraemeBailey

Manchester City go out to Real Madrid - but Pep Guardiola will be staggered with how his side have thrown away their place in the final. To concede two goals in injury time is unacceptable.<br><br>Real Madrid vs Liverpool in the final is a fascinating clash.

Nick @NickRTFM

Surely not another year of this, Pep.

Rob O'Hanrahan @RobOHanrahan

There is nothing more delightfully hilarious than watching Pep Guardiola and Manchester City concoct increasingly ridiculous ways to not win the Champions League.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RMAMCI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RMAMCI</a>

City, with as good a roster as money can buy, never got past the UCL quarterfinals in Guardiola's first four seasons on the job. Then it reached the final last season, only to lose to rival Chelsea. And now, with plane tickets to Paris all but purchased and hotel rooms booked, City inexplicably watched its lead evaporate in a minute.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Today marks the first time that Manchester City concedes multiple goals in the 90th minute or later in a match under Pep Guardiola.

And in the process, Guardiola's legacy took another hit, as City still seeks its first-ever UCL title.


Winner: Real Madrid's Unrelenting and Inevitable Magic

There is just something special about this Real Madrid side. There is something in the air at the Santiago Bernabeu. Remember, Manchester City was completely in control of this tie.

Until it wasn't.

John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC

Everyone: “Game over. City in the final.”<br><br>Real Madrid: <a href="https://t.co/NF5B3fqpq6">pic.twitter.com/NF5B3fqpq6</a>

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Santiago Bernabéu nights, where the impossible happens. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UCL</a>

𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 @TheEuropeanLad

You haven’t won at the Bernabéu until you left the stadium.

Graham Hunter @BumperGraham

Only <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Madrid?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Madrid</a>

Sam Monson @PFF_Sam

Real Madrid make no damn sense.

Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli

This is one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen and I saw Real Madrid against PSG and Chelsea.

When you take City's propensity for blowing its UCL chances with Real Madrid's habit of magically surviving despite all odds being against them, well, Wednesday's result almost isn't surprising in hindsight.

It sure was brilliant in the moment, though.


Loser: Ruben Dias

So many people could be picked out for City. The defense notably melted down in the waning moments of this game.

But despite City giving up a two-goal lead in the blink of an eye, it still had a chance to win in extra time or force penalties. Instead, a sloppy challenge from Ruben Dias sent Benzema to the penalty spot, and the rest is history.

Raj Chohan @rajsinghchohan

Now people will realise why CBs shouldn’t fling themselves to ground too often when it’s unnecessary. Dias was punished in the Euros for that &amp; he’s now been punished in a CL semi-final. Those type of CBs are not the best pure defenders in the world.

Harry Brooks @HB_HeadCoach

That rush of blood from Dias is why I’ve never been that big on him.<br><br>He’s constantly throwing himself at things, but not in a controlled way like Romero.<br><br>It’s not that hard to throw Dias a dummy.

That made Dias the most logical option for the second loser spot. But go up and down City's roster and you'll find other players deserving as well. Players who didn't mark Rodrygo in the final moments or left golden scoring chances wanting.

They just didn't make the mistake that ended it. That distinction belongs to Dias.