Manchester City fought back to claim a stunning 2-1 Champions League round-of-16 first-leg win against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Kevin De Bruyne kept his cool to beat Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute to give City the lead after Gabriel Jesus had headed home a cross from De Bruyne to pull the visitors level in the 78th minute. Isco had given Real the lead on the hour mark following a sweeping counterattack but the 13-times European champions' night soon unravelled, culminating in Sergio Ramos being sent off for hauling down Gabriel Jesus in a bid to prevent a third City goal. City, who earlier on Wednesday formally lodged their appeal against UEFA's two-season ban from the Champions League to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, left Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and David Silva out of their starting XI. And although they were the team with more attacking intent City found it hard to create chances against a well-drilled and disciplined Madrid side who crowded out Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva to limit the danger. Out of nowhere Madrid took the lead on the hour mark, thanks in large part to City defensive errors. Nicolas Otamendi were caught in possession and Kyle Walker failed to clear the danger, presenting Vinicius Jr. with the opportunity to play in Isco who slid home from close range. Smelling blood, the volume increased in the Bernabeu and Madrid went on the attack in search of a decisive second goal with Karim Benzema and Ramos both seeing efforts blocked by City introduced Sterling for Bernardo Silva in an attempt to tip the game back in their favour, and it worked. First, Gabriel Jesus headed home De Bruyne's cross on 78 minutes and then six minutes later the comeback was complete when Sterling was fouled by Dani Carvajal in the area, allowing De Bruyne to score from the penalty spot. To make matter worse the hosts were reduced to 10-men with four minutes remaining when Ramos was sent off for the 26th time as a Real Madrid player. The Madrid captain will be suspended for the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 17 while City's influential defender Aymeric Laporte was forced off injured in the first half, another setback of in a season marked by fitness troubles.
Football CHAMPIONS LEAGUE