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Champions League Semifinal: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid Highlights


May 4, 2022, 1:23 p.m. ET

May 4, 2022, 1:23 p.m. ET

MADRID — And so here we’re again, wondering if Real Madrid can summon the energy and conjure the magic one last time. Carlo Ancelotti’s team looked beaten, dazed even, against Paris St.-Germain. That was two months ago. It seemed defeated, exhausted, against Chelsea. That was 4 weeks ago. It remains to be standing. Within the Champions League, at the very least, Real Madrid has the air of a team that has forgotten how you can lose.

There’s a component of self-fulfilling prophecy about Real Madrid on this competition. It wins because that’s what it does. It’s infused with a way of purpose, of absolute belief, as soon because it hears that music, as soon because it glimpses that cup.

It’s that, and only that, which can give Manchester City somewhat pause thought. Last week’s 4-3 victory on the Etihad left Pep Guardiola and his players with twin sensations. It was clear, from the off, that the Premier League champion was smoother and slicker and altogether more coherent than Real Madrid, that it played a more sophisticated and more advanced type of soccer, that it possessed a clearer vision of what it’s, what it desires to be. It was a night, in that light, that showcased that City is now where it has spent a decade attempting to go.

And yet, because the staff gathered the subsequent morning, there was no little regret, and surprise, and general befuddlement that the semifinal tie was still within the balance, a sense that Real Madrid is just not an extraordinary opponent, one which bows eventually to City’s obvious superiority, but that keeps on coming, unwilling to wilt, even when it knew how. That’s the effect of the spell Real Madrid can forged: a vague sense of unease, a gnawing feeling within the pit of the stomach that this stuff only end a technique. Manchester City has the possibility, and the power, to reveal that as a fallacy tonight. But then others have tried, and failed, and here we’re again.

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