Real Madrid will reach this season’s Champions League final.
That is the view of ex-Aston Villa attacker and CaughtOffside columnist Stan Collymore, who believes Los Blancos’ vast experience will be enough to see them edge Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Set to play the second leg of the semi-final at the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday, Manchester City and Real Madrid will square off for the chance to play either Inter or AC Milan in the competition’s final next month.
Last week’s first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu saw an exciting contest play out. After taking the lead through a brilliant goal from Vini Junior, Real Madrid found themselves pegged back after midfielder Kevin De Bruyne unleashed a rocket of a strike from outside the area in the second half.
Stepping up when needed, Kevin De Bruyne
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 9, 2023
And with the crucial tie ending all square at one each, next week’s showdown in Manchester is perfectly poised and looks set to be one of the games of the season.
Predicting how the game may go, Collymore thinks the pressure to reach what would be just their second Champions League final will weigh too heavy on the Cityzens’ shoulders.
“I think the tie is really even – it’s so finely poised,” Collymore said in an exclusive interview.
“Even if Manchester City came away from the Santiago Bernabeu leading one-nil, you still couldn’t discount Real Madrid in the return leg next week.
“Karim Benzema had a quiet night on Tuesday, so you’d expect him to turn up at the Etihad. Vini Junior is on fire, and with all the experience they have, particularly in midfield with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, Los Blancos are definitely still in this semi-final.
“Manchester City will be clear favourites, especially as they’ll be playing at home, but with that comes a whole heap of pressure, and this situation in Europe isn’t something the club are overly familiar with, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
“It’s tough to call a winner, but given Madrid’s rich history in this competition and how they believe the Champions League is their trophy, I’m going to say the Spaniards will nick it 2-1 on the night.”
Which team do you think will reach this year’s Champions League final; Manchester City, or Real Madrid? – Let us know in the comments below.
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