Manchester City just couldn’t shake off Real Madrid.
In a wild Champions League match that resembled a basketball game at times, City beat Madrid 4-3 in the first leg of the semifinals but will leave Etihad Stadium wondering how the record 13-time champions were still in it.
Ultimately, Karim Benzema’s cheeky “Panenka” penalty in the 82nd minute saw Madrid escape with some hope of pulling off a comeback in next week’s second leg at Santiago Bernabeu.
City, looking to reach the final for a second straight year, was 2-0 ahead after 11 minutes — through goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus — and should have been further clear before Benzema steered in a volley in the 33rd.
Phil Foden restored City’s two-goal lead in the 53rd, Vinicius Junior replied two minutes later for Madrid and the chances kept coming for both teams before Bernardo Silva curled a shot inside the near post after the referee played the advantage following a foul on Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Benzema had the final say on the night by converting a penalty after Aymeric Laporte’s handball to become the competition’s top scorer on 14 goals.