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Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (agg. 7-8 after pens): Player Ratings

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Photo via Getty Images

The biggest game of the Champions League season, so far, kicked off at the Etihad Stadium today as Manchester City played hosts to Real Madrid for the second-leg of the quarter-finals.

With the game at 3-3, it was anyone’s game between the record-winners and the defending champions.

And to noone’s surprise, Rodrygo came up clutch against City yet again, scoring his fourth goal against them as he combined with Vinicius to open the scoring.

City chased the game for the the remaining time, and only saw a way through Kevin de Bruyne in the 76th minute.

Eventually, the game ran to extra-time, with neither side able to break the 1-1 deadlock inside 90 minutes.

Andriy Lunin: 10

Solid as ever, Lunin was unfazed through the game. Had some trouble finding his target with the ball but did well dealing with long shots and crosses. Could not do anything about de Bruyne’s goal.

Calmst man in Manchester, saving two penalties in the shoot-out as Madrid won the game.

Dani Carvajal: 7.5

Put in a defensively solid shift dealing with Jack Grealish, who got the better of him just once. Joined counter-attacks diligently and made a couple of powerful runs through the heart of the City midfield.

Antonio Rudiger: 7

Inarguably the best player on the pitch tonight for a long time, Rudiger was a wall in the heart of that Madrid defence. Intercepted and cleared everything that faced him.

Unfortunately, he could not convincingly clear Doku’s shot, which fell to Kevin de Bruyne, who scored the equaliser.

Converted his penalty, though.

Nacho: 7

Had some trouble progressing the ball under pressure, but did well when called on defensively. The highlight of his game being the goal-line clearance in the second half.

Made no mistake converting his penalty, though.

Ferland Mendy: 7.5

Was brilliantly-positioned through the 90 minutes, and did not give Silva, de Bruyne, or Foden an inch of space on his flank.

Toni Kroos: 8

Interestingly enough, Kroos did more defensively than with the ball tonight with City completing pegging Madrid back. He doubled up with Mendy on the wing and came up with several important interceptions and blocks.

Eduardo Camavinga: 7

Not nearly as tidy as he usually is, Camavinga did well to chase after the City midfield throughout the game, but eventually his efforts did not amount to much.

Federico Valverde: 8.5

Omnipresent. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Like every matchday, Valverde covered every blade of the grass today. He double teamed with Carvajal on the right-wing, took goal kicks, and started counter-attacks with his passes and runs. Absolutely monumental.

Jude Bellingham: 6

Playing as the no. 10. Bellingham was largely kept quiet offensively, although he played a part in Rodrygo’s goal.

Converted his penalty in the shoot-out with ease.

Vinicius Jr: 7.5

Single-handedly led Madrid’s attack, chasing every long pass his team threw at him, and shuffling across the wings like a race horse. Created Rodrygo’s goal, but will not be credited with the assist unfortunately.

Rodrygo: 7.5

Rodrygo played a vital part today for Madrid, first with his goal in the opening 45, and also defensively as he fell deep on the flank to help out Mendy.

Luka Modric: 5

Replaced Kroos with ten minutes of regulation time to spare, but most of his energy was spent chasing after Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden.

Missed his penalty in the shoot-out.

Brahim Diaz: 7.5

Came on in the 84th minute and created an incredible chance for Rudiger late in the game that was not taken.

Lucas Vazquez: 6.5

Took on a courageous strike from range after replacing Vinicius Jr in attack, but did not influence the game much.

Converted his penalty with the utmost calm.

Eder Militao: N/A

Came on too late, did not warrant a rating.

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Features

Three takeaways from Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona | La Liga

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham stunned the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys when Real Madrid met Barcelona last year in La Liga with a stunning brace including a stoppage-time winner.

Last night, once again, he came up clutch to give his side all three points against the same opposition in stoppage time.

The 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu were far from easy for Real Madrid, especially with Barcelona dominating parts of the game and creating good chances in the final third.

However, the dressing room was clear about their objective from the get-go, and nothing, it appeared, could make them take their eyes off the target. After a valiant 90-minute battle, the scoreboard read 3-2 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid’s emphatic El Clasico win.

Two gems shine bright

Coming off a difficult 120-minute shift against Manchester City midweek, it was always going to take a herculean effort from the Real Madrid dressing room to find a way past Barcelona.

After all, the team were far from their best from a physical standpoint, and Carlo Ancelotti’s rotations on the night reiterated the same.

While the eventual 3-2 win was possible only courtesy of a comprehensive team effort with contributions from all over the field, two players impressed in particular – Jude Bellingham and Lucas Vazquez.

The right-back was Real Madrid’s best player on the night, constantly creating pressure and threats in the Barcelona area. Playing down the right flank, he dominated Barcelona star Joao Cancelo and made the wing his own.

Vazquez won Real Madrid the penalty that helped them get back into the game after an early setback and did so with fine trickery on the edge of the area. Eventually, Barcelona’s young Pau Cubarsi was forced to make contact and bring the dynamic full-back down.

When Real Madrid went down a goal once more, Vazquez timed his run into the box with perfection to get onto the end of Vinicius Jr’s cross and slam it in the first time.

If his goal and assist were not enough to cap off a special display, it was Vazquez’s pass in the dying minutes of the game that created the opening for the team’s winning goal.

Bellingham, meanwhile, significantly stepped up from his recent lean patch and effectively dictated Real Madrid’s play in the final third. In addition to scoring the game-changing winner, he completed two key passes, 100% of his dribbles and four accurate long balls on the night.

A team with elite mentality

Elite mentality. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Only Real Madrid can pull off the comebacks they have in the last week, especially given the special circumstances surrounding each game.

The clash against Pep Guardiola’s side midweek was the most gruelling 120 minutes of football Los Blancos have played all year. Despite being dominated for the most part, they came out clutch and defended valiantly to pull through on penalties.

Last night, still sore from their overtime duty on Wednesday, Real Madrid faced a stiff challenge against a relatively fresh Barcelona. The game, once again, showed why they boast of a mentality as elite as it gets.

Los Blancos went behind twice on the night, yet pulled back the deficit on both occasions to level the scores. A draw was a good enough result for Ancelotti’s men as it would give them a good lead ahead of the final six games in La Liga.

Having played the 90 minutes against Barcelona, the men in white could well have defended deep and settled for a draw. That, after all, would be the natural reaction of any weary party.

Yet, they pushed high and hard for a winner. With a draw in hand and the title in their grasp, they still gunned on for a win and were rewarded with Jude Bellingham’s clutch goal.

Is there a more mentally resilient team in the world? Probably not.

League in the bag

Having secured the critical win over Barcelona, the full-time whistle last night saw celebrations like none other.

Emotions poured out on the Real Madrid bench with players clenching their fists and pumping them into the air. The stadium chanted the chorus in unison, for they too knew what the result meant.

Three points secured against the second-placed team now take Real Madrid a staggering 11 points clear of Barcelona on the standings. Only six games remain to be played in La Liga, and the Merengues would have to lose four of them to let go of the title now.

Thus, for all practical purposes, Real Madrid are the champions of Spain. It may take a few more weeks for the accolade to be mathematically and officially theirs, but one can rely on the group to ensure that there are no slip-ups between now and the day the title is theirs.

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