It was a wonderfully entertaining first-half at the Etihad, as City took a 2-1 lead into the break.
Guardiola has often been accused of over-thinking these big European nights, but even he wouldn’t have had time to gather his thoughts before his side took the lead inside two minutes. Riyad Mahrez drifted past the challenges and curled a ball into the box, where Kevin De Bruyne stooped to head home an early opener.
Jesus, fresh off his four goals against Watford, made a great start a dream one. De Bruyne was involved again, putting a low cross in which David Alaba failed to deal with it and it fell perfectly for Gabriel Jesus to convert from close range.
City were imperious as Real fell apart, De Bruyne and Phil Foden in particular running the show. Mahrez blasted an effort into the side-netting from a tight angle when he had two players waiting for a tap-in, leaving Guardiola absolutely furious on the touchline. Foden then dragged a shot just wide as the home side could very feasibly have been 4-0 up.
Instead, it was 2-1. Karim Benzema has at times single-handedly dragged Real through the Champions League this season and his latest intervention got them back into the tie. Ferland Mendy’s cross was a decent one, but it was made to look even better when Benzema sent a left-footed volley into the bottom corner to halve the deficit.
Shortly afterwards, John Stones was forced off and Fernandinho replaced him, as Real went into the break with hope they shouldn’t have had.
With kick-off at 8pm BST and James Robson at the Etihad providing expert analysis, follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below…
62 mins: This is so much fun. We need more than 30 more minutes!
Benzema and Modric seeing more and ball of the ball. The Croatian looks to play it to the edge of the box, it’s cut out though. And now it’s City’s turn to break into space.
59 mins: Vinicius keeps the ball in play, then goes down appealing for a free-kick. Doesn’t get it.
It’s safe to say he’s got the beating of Fernandinho – the City man is being run ragged when Vinicius gets the ball.
56 mins: It is absolutely chaotic at the Etihad, City now flooding forward and pressing for a fourth goal.
In between those goals, Guardiola earned a yellow card for dissent. But who cares now!
GOAL! Manchester City 3-2 Real Madrid | Vinicius Junior 55’
It’s wonderful from Vinicius. He turns Fernandinho on the halfway line, right on the touchline and he’s away.
Nobody can catch him, drives into the box and curls a finish into the far corner. Game on again!
GOAL! Manchester City 3-1 Real Madrid | Phil Foden 53′
IT’S MORE THAN DESERVED!
City restore their two-goal advantage. Real lose it once again on the left, Fernandinho bursting forward to intercept the ball and he then charges forward with it.
Clips a glorious ball into the box, Foden completely free and heads it past Courtois.
James Robson at the Etihad
You wonder how long Mahrez will last. That’s two golden opportunities he’s squandered to extend City’s lead.
50 mins: City starting this half like they started the first, dominating the ball and looking dangerous. De Bruyne’s cross into the box is a really dangerous one but Foden can’t get on the end of it.
Real would be absolutely delighted if this finished 2-1, they look really poor at the back.
48 mins: HOW HAVE CITY NOT SCORED!
Woeful from Militao who completely misses the ball and Mahrez is clean through on goal.
Onto his left foot, curls it towards the far corner… off the post! Falls to Foden, who sends it back at goal first-time, but Carvajal is there on the line to clear with Courtois nowhere. Big moment.
Here we go again!
Up and running for the second period at the Etihad.
More of the same entertainment please!
That’s 40 goals for the season now for Karim Benzema – 13 of those in the Champions League.
Players are back out, second-half shortly underway.