Guardiola: City not out for 'revenge' in UCL tie vs. Madrid

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Real Madrid's Casemiro (R) vies with Manchester City's Bernardo Silva during the UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg football match between Real Madrid of Spain and Manchester City of England in Madrid, Spain, May 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Meng Dingbo)

Real Madrid entertain Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal in the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night, in a game that will bring back memories of last season's drama between the two sides.

A year ago, Manchester City looked to be cruising into the final after outplaying Madrid, only for goals from Rodrygo in the 90th and 91st minutes to turn the tie upside down and take it to extra time where a Karim Benzema penalty booked Madrid's place in the final.

Rodrygo was Madrid's hero again on Saturday night, with the two goals that gave his side a hard-fought 2-1 win in the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna. However, that game could have taken its toll, with midfielder Fede Valverde admitting after the game (which finished at midnight) that he was exhausted.

Manchester City have had an intense fixture calendar as well as they continue their chase for the Premier League title, but coach Pep Guardiola was able to rest key players, such as Bernardo Silva, John Stones, Jack Grealish, Ruben Dias, and Kyle Walker in their 2-1 win at home to Leeds United. All of those players are likely to start on Tuesday.

Walker is likely to have the most difficult task of the night as he is asked to stop Madrid winger Vinicius Jr, who created both of the goals on Saturday night.

Real Madrid have left back Ferland Mendy out with a muscle injury, while Eder Militao is suspended, meaning Antonio Rudiger will partner David Alaba in central defense, with Eduardo Camavinga at left back.

Luka Modric was able to return as a substitute in the Copa del Rey after shaking off a muscle injury and will presumably start alongside Toni Kroos and Valverde, with Vinicius, Rodrygo, and Benzema in attack.

Nathan Ake pulled up with a hamstring injury for City on Saturday and won't recover in time, but Guardiola will be boosted by the return of Kevin de Bruyne. Erling Haaland's form in attack means any error from the Madrid defense is likely to be punished.

Real Madrid's history in the Champions League means they are favorites, but City's form and the fact they were able to rest key players at the weekend could just give them the edge as they look to put last season's frustration behind them. 

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