Grealish warns Real Madrid that Man City are ‘unstoppable’ at home

Manchester City's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji and English midfielder Jack Grealish applaud at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on 9 May 2023AFP

Jack Grealish said Manchester City are confident of finishing the job against Real Madrid at home to reach the UEFA Champions League final after a 1-1 draw in their semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

City have won all 14 games at the Etihad this year by a combined score of 49-7 as Pep Guardiola’s men close in on a potential treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

But it is conquering Europe for the first time that matters most to the English champions.

Also Read

City suffered heartache against Madrid at the same stage of the competition last season as a late collapse in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu saw the Spanish giants go on to win the competition for the 14th time.

But home advantage for the return leg could make the difference this year after the sides could not be separated in Madrid.

Both goals came from spectacular strikes from outside the box as Kevin De Bruyne cancelled out Vinicius Junior’s opener.

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring his team's first goal

“At the Etihad at the moment we feel unstoppable,” Grealish told BT Sport.

“We came here tonight to try and win, but I think it shows our character to go a goal down and come back. In the end it was a fair result.”

City are now unbeaten in 21 games in all competitions.

But they were not at their fluent best as Madrid successfully cut the supply line to 51-goal striker Erling Haaland.

The visitors had dominated possession until they were hit by the Real sucker punch when Vinicius drove forward and fired into the top corner on 36 minutes.

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring

But the roles were reversed after the break as just when City appeared on the ropes, they hit back when De Bruyne drilled past his Belgian international teammate Thibaut Courtois.

“When we were better, they scored. When they were better, we scored,” said Guardiola. “Tight game, Bernabeu, a semi-final always is difficult. 1-1 and we have a final next Wednesday at home with our people.”

Under Guardiola City have dominated English football. They are on the brink of a fifth Premier League title in six seasons.

But they are yet to replicate that success on the European stage. In contrast to Madrid’s wealth of experience, City have only reached the Champions League final once in their history.

“They are so demanding. They are so good, (they have) the experience, the quality,” added Guardiola.

“Now they travel to Manchester and we are going to see what we can do better.

“When you play these type of games it’s like a playoff. The second (game) you learn a lot from the first and hopefully we can learn and attack and defend better.”