This was the game Manchester City had spent half the season waiting for and it did not disappoint.
When Pep Guardiola announced his Manchester City line up, the inclusion of Phil Foden generated much excitement amongst the fans. Trusting the young player in such an important game was a clear demonstration of what was to come.
The only other surprise was the decision to start Fernandinho in central defence, a clear message to Eric Garcia.
The game started at a frenetic pace as to be expected but City had the most dangerous moments. Pressing and threatening, City looked most in danger in the moments they lost possession.
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The opening goal came following some good pressing by Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling found himself with a clear shot in the penalty area. No time to think about it and he slotted it home.
City went close on other occasions but the final ball was lacking in each instance. As City dropped the match intensity, Real Madrid came back into the game.
Equalising from a cross, Benzema evaded the challenges from both Fernandinho and Rodri to head past Ederson. At 1:1 this game felt to be turning in Madrid’s favour and the half time whistle proved a useful opportunity to regroup.
The second half was evenly balanced. Sterling went close a number of times but City were guilty of over playing in the penalty area, looking for 44 passes when the ball just needed thumping.
Real Madrid were like a heavyweight boxer, content to take the punches, looking for their moment to step up. They made the first change in the game, bringing on Marco Arsensio in the 60th minute.
Those Madrid chances started to increase and Ederson was required to prevent Benzema from taking the lead. City strode up the pitch and went close as Jesus tested Courtois, forcing a save.
In the 66th minute Guardiola swopped Foden for Bernardo Silva, hoping fresh legs may help take City over the finish line. Within seconds City had a goal.
This was as un City like a goal as possible to score. A long hopeful up and under from Rodri and Jesus nipped in between the defender and keeper to poke the ball home.
Quite how the referee did not award Sterling a penalty when he was clearly fouled in the area belied belief, but was probably par for the course for UEFA.
Real Madrid stuck at the task, pushing and probing. They looked dangerous on the counter but City continued to pounce on every error. David Silva was introduced for Sterling in the last 10 minutes for his last appearance at the Etihad Stadium.
There was even time for Nicolas Otamendi to replace Rodri in the dying moments to help secure the result.
This was a great City performance over two legs, beating one of the tournament favourites and deservedly going through to the next stage in Lisbon. The only lingering sadness was that there were no fans present in the Stadium to watch a momentous game.