Kevin De Bruyne staged a dramatic Manchester City comeback on Wednesday as they defeated Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Zinedine Zidane’s team looked on course to edge a cagey contest after Isco’s smart finish early in the second half, but De Bruyne teed up Gabriel Jesus in the 78th minute and then tucked away a penalty in the 83rd.
A pulsating finish also saw Sergio Ramos sent off for preventing Jesus from going clear and Madrid’s captain will now be banned for the second leg at the Etihad Stadium on March 17, when City’s two away goals will make them heavy favourites to go through.
Pep Guardiola sprung another Champions League surprise by picking an unprecedented line-up, with De Bruyne up front and Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho all on the bench.
But his gamble paid off handsomely, even though Nicolas Otamendi made the mistake that led to Isco’s opener while an injury to Aymeric Laporte meant Fernandinho had to be introduced midway through the first half.