Man City were 2-0 up at half-time in their win over Stoke at the weekend meaning that Pellegrini was able to take both Silva and Aguero off around the hour mark with this tie in mind. Real Madrid, meanwhile, had to work much harder for their three points at Rayo Vallecano as they were 2-0 down after 14 minutes, but came back to win 3-2 and remain within touching distance of Barca and Atletico at the top of the table.
This is of course unchartered territory for Man City as they’d fallen at the last-16 stage against Barcelona in the last two seasons but this time around they managed to avoid the Catalans. City’s Champions League record at the Etihad since 2013/14 is W6-D2-L5 as their only clean sheets have were in their last two games against Kiev and PSG. Their defeats have come against some of the giants of European Football in Barca, Bayern and Juve and City’s record when hosting sides that we have ranked in Europe’s top-five (we have Real Madrid 3rd) since 2012/13 is W2-D1-L4 with one of the wins against PSG and the other against Bayern in the group stages of last season’s competition. The Citizens haven’t lost any of the last four of these games since the start of last season by more than one goal and they managed to score in six of the seven.
As well as coming from two goals down at Vallecano, Real managed the same feat against Wolfsburg in the quarters as they lost 2-0 in Germany before winning the return 3-0. Real’s Champions League away record since 2013/14 is W11-D3-L3 as they’ve led at the break in nine of the wins and also kept nine clean sheets. However, Real’s away record in away knockout matches since 2011/12 is just W6-D2-L6 and when travelling to sides we have ranked inside Europe’s top-10 but below them (we have City 8th) it’s W1-D4-L4 since 2011/12 as they’ve conceded more than once on five occasions. Indeed, Real have managed just two clean sheets in their last 17 away games in all competitions and their record in Champions League away knockout matches when they’ve conceded is W2-D3-L10 since 2006/07.
The record of home sides in Champions League semi-final first legs since 2006/07 is W12-D4-L2 and when the home team is the lower ranked side it remains an impressive W7-D2-L2 with six wins coming in the last six of these ties since 2011/12. City’s form is much-improved at the moment with four wins in five unbeaten games in all competitions, thanks largely to the return to fitness of De Bruyne and Kompany, and since Real Madrid’s away record in knockout matches is far from impressive, we’re siding with the Citizens here.
Click here to find out more about Football Form Labs