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Full-time: Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid

  • Jese and Pepe both spurn good chances in the second-half for Real.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo missed the game through injury.
Bale (right) tries to win the ball
Bale (right) tries to win the ball Getty Images

Full-time: Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid

Well, there's no escaping the truth: that was a hugely underwhelming game that never really got going. Real created the better chances, but still didn't do enough to deserve a lead.

That being said, Los Blancos will fancy their chances in the second leg, especially if Ronaldo is fit to return.

Real are making another switch. Toni Kroos makes way for Isco. We're in to two minutes of added time.

Aguero has barely had a kick this evening, which is testament to Real's centre-back duo of Ramos and Pepe.

Anyway, there are less than five minutes left at the Etihad - can someone produce a moment of magic?

Aguero goes down under pressure
Aguero goes down under pressure Getty Images

Another lucky escape for the hosts! On this occasion, the right-sided corner is nodded into the path of Pepe, but Hart gets his body in the way of the ball and City scramble it clear.

They're hanging on by fine margins now, though, and may be happy to accept a draw at this stage.

Zidane barks instructions to his team
Zidane barks instructions to his team Getty Images

Casemiro goes close from a corner! The underrated midfielder gets his head on a left-wing cross and heads it down towards the ground, but Joe Hart is able to block the ball with his left leg.

Suddenly, City are hanging on for a 0-0.

Here is a change for City. Jesus Navas is being replaced by their big-money summer signing Raheem Sterling. He's got just over ten minutes to make an impression on this tie.

Bale looks for the far corner with his left foot, but can't quite curl the ball back inside the post. Another warning for City, who appear to be fading somewhat.

Pellegrini may wish to consider a change here, because Madrid are starting to dominate.

Keylor Navas was barely tested
Keylor Navas was barely tested Getty Images

Bale is influencing this game more and more, coming off the right touchline to find the ball and get more involved. Can the Welshman produce a moment of magic to open the scoring'?

The game is starting to get a little stretched. And Jese has just spurned Real's second good chance of the half, with a right-footed cross meeting the head of Jese. But his effort goes over the bar, rather than under it.

Real are looking toothless without Ronaldo tonight. For all the cash that has been lavished on this team, he still provides their sparkle. Bale, on the other hand, has been on the periphery so far.

Bale was largely kept quiet
Bale was largely kept quiet Getty Images

Pepe steps across Aguero and fouls him. The defender is already on a booking, but escapes another on this occasion.

Nick Howson at the Etihad Stadium

"We finally have a game vaguely representing a football match after the first half of tactical innuendo. Both City and Real have had efforts on goal, with the introduction of Iheanacho, which gives the hosts two in attack, freeing up space for each side to express themselves. Which side will consider a goalless draw to be a good result?"

Gareth Bale on the ball
Gareth Bale on the ball Getty Images

Nearly an hour gone in Manchester, and it's still very cagey. Incredible that we've had so little goalmouth action given the quality on show in the attacking third.

City fans cheer their team on
City fans cheer their team on Getty Images

The best chance of the game falls to Sergio Ramos, but his goal-bound header from a corner is easily claimed by Joe Hart. That's a warning sign for City, though.

Manuel Pellegrini looks anxious
Manuel Pellegrini looks anxious Getty Images

The onus is really on City in this circumstance to provoke something into happening. They're probably scared to do so, though, because an away goal could prove fatal to their hopes. As a result, we have a deadlock at the moment.

Up the other end, Bale goes down in the box but the ref rightfully waves the appeal away. There was nothing in that challenge from Otamendi and Bale was lucky to escape a booking for diving, in all honesty.

First real glimpse from Aguero tonight. The little Argentine turns and spins, but his effort was always climbing. An encouraging start nonetheless.

Aguero lies on the floor
Aguero lies on the floor Getty Images

A change for Real at the break with Jese swapping places with Karim Benzema, who came into the match carrying a knock. It would appear he has aggravated the problem during the first 45 minutes, though there were no obvious signs of it, to be honest.

Zidane is, you would assume, the happier manager at the break, especially as he is without Ronaldo tonight. If the away side grab the first goal, too, it could create panic in the City ranks.

Half-time: Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid

45 minutes have come and gone, and to be frank, we haven't had a great deal to speak of. Neither side have created any openings of note, despite both boasting expensively-assembled teams.

Let's hope for better after the break...

Gareth Bale shoots from distance
Gareth Bale shoots from distance Getty Images

David Silva has been forced off with an injury, and his replacement is a very popular young man, judging by the reaction of the crowd.

It's time for the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho, who has an incredible opportunity to boost his standing among the City fans even further.

Cristiano Ronaldo watches the game
Cristiano Ronaldo watches the game Getty Images

Silva goes in the book now, after hacking down Gareth Bale. Real need to feed the Welshman as much as possible, because you feel he would have the beating of Gael Clichy.

Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid
Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid Getty Images

Bale hits a powerful shot from distance, which is deflected and then safely gathered by Joe Hart, who has been a virtual spectator so far. For all the talent on the pitch, there's really not a lot happening for either team.

The managers watch the action
The managers watch the action Getty Images

Nick Howson at the Etihad Stadium

"Millions, perhaps billions of pounds worth of attacking talent on the field and yet Joe Hart and Keylor Navas have yet to be employed in this game. City may be marginally shading the first half but it has yet to produce a meaningful effort on goal. You can count the amount of touches Aguero and Benzema have had on one hand - which tells you all you need to know about this game. Competitive, if not chance-laden."

Vincent Kompany heads the ball
Vincent Kompany heads the ball Getty Images

City win another freekick around the box, but again, it comes to nothing. City need to make more of these good positions. They're yet to create anything from open play; neither have Madrid, mind you.

Karim Benzema wins the ball
Karim Benzema wins the ball Getty Images

Pepe goes into the ref's notebook for a late tackle on Kevin De Bruyne. That won't come as a shock to anyone. He'll need to watch his step now, though.

Anyway, the Belgian takes the resulting freekick but Kompany is guilty of a foul.

Zidane watches the action
Zidane watches the action Getty Images

There's no real cutting-edge to City's attack at the moment. They're struggling to get the ball into the likes of Aguero and Silva in the final third.

Nick Howson at the Etihad Stadium

"The Etihad Stadium has been slightly closer to a giant crisp packet than a cauldron of noise; but at least City have foiled Real Madrid so far in this opening quarter of an hour. The home side have dominated possession, with De Bruyne operating between Casemiro and the back four and Fernandinho crunching into some early tackles. Real not allowed to settle, yet."

David Silva (right) on the ball
David Silva (right) on the ball Getty Images

We've played 15 minutes in Manchester and still no chances to really speak of. Madrid will be fairly content at the moment, you suspect.

Bale (right) tries to win the ball
Bale (right) tries to win the ball Getty Images

Gareth Bale has lined up on the right side, as we expected. The Welshman has been Real's best attacking outlet in the opening minutes of the game. He'll certainly fancy his chances against Gael Clichy.

The Real side pose before kick-off
The Real side pose before kick-off Getty Images

City are pressuring the Real players as high as possible. It's a risky strategy, of course, because if Real manage to break the first wave of the press, they could be in.

Having said that, Los Blancos pose less of a threat on the break without Ronaldo.

The first attack of note comes through Jesus Navas, who races down the right side. However, the Spaniard's cross evades everyone in the box and Real survive a minor scare.

City are clearly intent on pressuring Real players whenever they're in possession of the ball. Not sure they'll be able to maintain that pace for 90 minutes, though.

Either way, both teams have now settled into their work and appear to have overcome any early nerves. Still no clear-cut chances to speak of.

Ronaldo on the sidelines
Ronaldo on the sidelines Getty Images

Real appear to have settled into the match pretty quickly, winning an early corner and dominating possession for the most part.

Zidane, who is wearing a smart suit on the sidelines, will be fairly pleased with what he has seen so far, even though his team has barely launched an attack of note.

A Real fan in the crowd
A Real fan in the crowd Getty Images

Right, we're under way in Manchester. City are in their traditional colours, while Real have donned their away strip for the evening, not their iconic white number.

The players walk out
The players walk out Getty Images

The players walk out to the centre of the stadium, with City fans furiously waving their flags that spell the name 'City'. Kick-off is moments away at the Etihad Stadium.

A Real fan before kick-off
A Real fan before kick-off Getty Images

Less than five minutes to go now until what is one of the biggest games in City's recent history. There's a real opportunity for one of the City players to make themselves a hero, but can they grasp it?

For Real, there is nothing more important than the European Cup and for Zidane, there is a real opportunity to prove his credentials as a manager this evening, especially as he cannot rely on the goals of Ronaldo.

This ought to be a cracking game.

The pre-match scene in Manchester
The pre-match scene in Manchester Getty Images

Nick Howson at the Etihad Stadium

"Too often Manchester City have been overawed and outclassed by Europe's heavyweights in this competition, and simply looked out of place. Though City bypassed PSG in the last round, you only have to think back to September for the last time Pellegrini's side failed against a big-hitter as they were beaten by Juventus.

"It is vital City get in amongst Real Madrid, don't allow Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to settle into their rhythm, and get the crowd onside. The Etihad Stadium is not known for its wall of noise, but they have to represent the extra man for the home side tonight. They need all the help they can get."

Ronaldo watches from the bench
Ronaldo watches from the bench Getty Images

There promises to be a sizzling atmosphere inside the Etihad in the moments before kick-off. The home supporters will be aware that there is no Ronaldo in the Real team - and they will be smelling weakness.

Team Form

Manchester City

  • Last Five: W D W W W
  • Last Result: Manchester City 4-0 Stoke City

Real Madrid

  • Last Five: W W W W W
  • Last Result: Rayo Vallecano 2-3 Real Madrid

With City facing a Ronaldo-less Real side this evening, this may just be their best chance to seal their place in the Champions League final. The hosts, you would think, should come out all guns blazing in a bid to unnerve Real's shaky-looking defence.

The Real team during a training session
The Real team during a training session Getty Images

It's a rather sorry-looking Ronaldo who has been making his way around the pitch at the Etihad Stadium. There's no official word yet, by the way, on just how serious his injury is.

We'll have to wait to find out if he'll be fit for the second - and decisive - leg in Madrid.

Nick Howson at the Etihad Stadium

"The world's press were duped by Zinedine Zidane yesterday as Cristiano Ronaldo, described by the Frenchman as "100%" after missing the Rayo Vallecano match at the weekend, is out of the Real Madrid team to face Manchester City. It would be an understatement to suggest there is a fair amount of shock around Eastlands upon that announcement.

"Combined with the Baltic weather conditions, and the glossy feel to the Etihad Stadium which is awash with flags on every seat, the news just adds to the feeling that this could yet be City's night."

Zidane during the pre-match press conference
Zidane during the pre-match press conference Getty Images

During the press conference last night, Zidane said Ronaldo would play provided he did not suffer a setback in their final training session.

Well, reports from the stadium suggest that's exactly what happened late in the session - hence his absence.

News of Ronaldo's absence must be a huge pre-match boost to the City players, some of whom may have been dreading the prospect of trying to stop the record-breaking forward.

It will be interesting, too, to see how Madrid approach the game without their main man. Time for Gareth Bale to step forward, perhaps? We're about to find out...

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale scored at the weekend for Real Madrid Getty Images

Breaking team news

Cristiano Ronaldo does not start for Real Madrid, which is a huge shock to everybody, despite his recent injury.

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Benzema

Subs: Casilla, Varane, James Rodríguez, Kovačić, Jesé, Isco, Danilo

cristiano ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is not considered fit enough to start the game Getty

Breaking team news:

Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Aguero

Subs: Caballero, Mangala, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Delph, Sterling, Iheanacho

Vincent Kompany
Vincent Komapny leads Manchester City tonight Getty

The team news should filter through in the next ten minutes or so. All eyes with be on whether Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are fit to play for Madrid. Zidane suggested they would be during the pre-match press conference yesterday, but we still have to wait for confirmation of that.

Zinedine Zidane confirmed yesterday that Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are likely to start their Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

The attacking duo had both been injury doubts for the crucial tie in Manchester, but Zindane has revealed they should be "fine" to play.

"The idea is that we want Karim and Cristiano to play," the Frenchman said during his pre-match press conference, according to the official Manchester City website. "We have the last training session now and we'll see. I think they'll be fine but we'll test everything.

"They're fine today – they're players who look after themselves physically, 100 percent. I think they'll be fine to play."

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has recovered from injury to play Reuters

City fans have, historically, shown a cool attitude towards the Champions League. That won't be the case tonight, however, in what is one of the biggest games in the club's history.

The Etihad is sure to be bouncing in a little over an hour, with the home crowd looking to cheer their team towards a landmark victory.

What the managers say

Zinedine Zidane: "We can definitely win it. In 2014 there was the same atmosphere in the dressing room [when claiming La Decima].

"I noticed the players were really focused, aiming for that goal. We're in the final straight and we're ready for anything. My idea is always we're in this together, that's why I bring the whole squad. We are united."

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane Getty Images

What the manager says

Manuel Pellegrini: "For me the most important lesson is that in the last two Champions Leagues we played Barcelona in the last 16 and in three of the four games we played with one player less.

"It's very important to have hot hearts but a cold mind. To play with one player less and commit unnecessary penalties decides the score."

manuel pellegrini
Will Manuel Pellegrini leave Manchester City on a high? Getty


City made it to the last four of the Champions League after beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate.

It was Kevin De Bruyne's goal in both legs that saw the Premier League side make it to the semi-final of Europe's elite club competition for the first time in the club's history.

Real, on the other hand, were forced to come from a 2-0 away leg defeat to Wolfsburg to win the two-legged tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Cristiano Ronaldo-Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are set to play for Madrid Reuters

Good evening and welcome to IBTimes UK's coverage of this fascinating Champions League tie between Manchester City and Real Madrid.

These two clubs have dramatically contrasting histories, but will spend the next 180 minutes of action (and possibly more) competing for a place in the final in Milan.

We'll have the eagerly-awaited team news for you at around 6.45pm. Between now and then, though, we'll bring you lots of pre-match analysis. Stay tuned.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini Getty Images