De Bruyne strike earns Man City draw at Madrid

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John Stones (below) of Manchester City defends Karim Benzema of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League semifinal first Leg in Madrid, Spain on May 9, 2023. (Photo by Pablo Morano/Xinhua)

Real Madrid and Manchester City drew the first leg of their Champions League semifinal 1-1 in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after a thrilling 90-minute game.

Vinicius Jr put Real Madrid ahead in the first half, but Kevin de Bruyne leveled for the Premier League leaders midway through the second half.

Manchester City made six changes from the side that beat Leeds United at the weekend, while Real Madrid's only changes from the team that won the final of the Copa del Rey were to bring in Luka Modric for Aurelian Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger for the suspended Eder Militao.

Man City kicked off by dominating the ball, pressing high and winning possession high up the field, and Thibaut Courtois was called into action to save from De Bruyne in the eighth minute.

Five minutes later, he got down to push Rodri's low effort out for a corner and then made two relatively comfortable saves from Haaland as City controlled midfield and denied Madrid any relevant possession.

Rodri's overconfidence then gifted Madrid their first chance of the match as he allowed Vinicius to rob possession, and only a great clearance from Ruben Dias denied Karim Benzema a certain goal.

That gave Madrid hope, and from nowhere, Vinicius put them ahead from 25 yards after taking a pass from Eduardo Camavinga with his side's first shot of the game.

Things got a bit feisty in the closing minutes of the half after Jack Grealish reacted to several bad challenges from Dani Carvajal, which went unpunished, while Toni Kroos was perhaps lucky to only see yellow for a late and high challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

Real Madrid were on top at the start of the second half, with Rodrygo and Camavinga playing exceptionally well, but De Bruyne leveled for the visitors when Madrid were in their best moment.

Bernardo Silva slipped the ball to the Belgian, who drove in a rising effort from around 25 meters.

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