BERLIN: Manchester City rallied to a 2-1 victory at 10-man Real Madrid on Wednesday to restore personal and English pride in the Champions League last 16 first leg.
Isco opened the scoring for Real on the hour but Gabriel Jesus headed the equaliser and Kevin de Bruyne converted a penalty on the day City’s appeal against a two-year ban from the elite event was confirmed to have arrived at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The misery of the record winners Real was complete when captain Sergio Ramos was sent off late in the game and they face a second straight last-16 exit.
“We’re only halfway there. We have an important game at home in three weeks,” man-of-the match De Bruyne told BT Sport, looking at the March 17 return leg.
City’s first-ever win against Real came after title holders Liverpool (1-0 at Atletico Madrid), beaten finalists Tottenham (1-0 against Leipzig) and Chelsea (3-0 against Bayern Munich) had all lost in their start into the knock-outs.
Ex-champions Juventus meanwhile lost 1-0 at Olympique Lyon from Lucas Tousart’s volley as the hosts successfully contained Cristiano Ronaldo to also register their first win over the Italian champions in a fifth match between the two.
Real, whose coach Zinedine Zidane benched Toni Kroos, Marcelo and Gareth Bale for the duel against Pep Guardiola’s City, dominated early possession but the first chance belonged to the visitors.
Jesus, playing up front instead of Sergio Aguera, was set up nicely by De Bruyne but goalkeeper Thibault Courtois fisted the firm shot away in the 21st.
On the other end, Ederson saved Karim Benzema’s header while City had to swallow Aymeric Laporte limping off with another injury and Benjamin Mendy suspended for the return leg after picking up another booking.
Jesus had a shot cleared by Casemiro on the goalline on the stroke of half-time, and after the break Riyad Mahrez missed three chances, the last one unmarked but denied by Courtois.
But it was the hosts who drew first blood on the hour against the flow of play. City lost the ball in midfield, Vinicius Jr fought off Kyle Walker and passed to the completely unmarked Isco who calmly converted into the bottom left corner.
City were level though in the 78th when Jesus headed home De Bruyne’s cross, and the video assistant referee confirmed that his light push against Ramos did not warrant nullifying the goal.
Five minutes later Raheem Sterling was brought down by Dani Carvajal and De Bruyne beat his Belgium team-mate Courtois into the bottom left corner from the spot for the winner.
Real lost Ramos for a last-man foul on Jesus as they face a first-ever elimination in a knock-out tie under Zidane, and suffered a third straight game without victory overall going into Sunday’s league Clasico against Barcelona.
“It was an even first half. We started the second half really well. Their goal came at a bad moment for us because we were dominating. Our response was brilliant,” De Bruyne said.
LYON SURPRISE JUVE
In Lyon, Toko Nkambi’s glancing header in the 21st off a corner kick hit the crossbar as the hosts showed no fear. Lyon took the lead 10 minutes later when Juve defender Mattijs De Ligt was receiving treatment on the sideline, Hertha Berlin-bound Lucas Tousart volleying man-of-the match Houssem Aouar’s left-wing cross into the top left corner.
It took Juve until the 69th minute to register a serious chance to equalise as Paulo Dybala’s shot fell inches left.
Gonzalo Higuain aimed wide while Dybala and Ronaldo appealed in vain for penalties as Lyon held on for a morale-boosting win in contrast to a modest French league campaign.