The Etihad Stadium will play host to its first ever Champions League semifinal in the history when Manchester City will welcome the 10-time UCL champions Real Madrid for a clash which is widely reckoned to produce an absorbing open match with each team lethal on the attack in the recent weeks.
The game marks the sixth consecutive semi-final appearance in the competition for Madrid while it’s an unchartered territory for City who had failed to move past the last 16 in the previous two attempts. The English side, though, will have to get past a dreadful Madrid team which has won nine La Liga games in a row and had further showcased their resoluteness with the comeback against Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals.
Real Madrid Team News
Zinedine Zidane is taking every member on his roster on the trip to England despite the injury concerns. Ronaldo limped off against Villarreal while French forward, Benzema lasted only the first half against Rayo Vallecano. But Zidane insists both are ready to face City at the Etihad. "They are 100 per cent," Zidane told reporters. "We will test everything but the idea is that they will play. They have both made good progress and we will see how they are tomorrow. Everyone wants to play these games.'' "This afternoon’s training session will be key," he admitted. But he should make it for tomorrow's game.''
The recent good showings from Dani Carvajal should see him joining Marcelo, Pepe and Sergio Ramos at the defence. Casemiro is expected to get the pick at the central midfield and will be assigned with the duty to mark the dangerous De Bryune. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will sit ahead him and will be key to set the Madrid rhythm with forward passes to the attacking trio of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo.
Manchester City Team News
Manuel Pellegrini, on the other hand, has an almost full squad to choose from which makes an interesting proposition. He enjoys the luxury of having quality four full-backs with different abilities, though Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy likely to get the pick for their defensive abilities. In the central defence, a pairing of Mangala and Company is expected to start while Fernando and Fernadinho should get the nod at the midfield with Yaya Toure deemed unfit for the match. Ahead of them, Jesus Navas and David Silva will support the attack led by sensational Kevin De Bryune and the in-form Sergio Aguero.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup:
Navas | Carvajal - Pepe - Ramos- Marcelo | Modric - Casemiro - Kroos | Bale - Ronaldo - Benzema
Manchester City Predicted Lineup:
Hart | Sagna - Kompany - Mangala - Clichy | Fernandinho -Fernando | Navas - De Bruyne - Silva | Agüero