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    HomeSportsReal Madrid and Manchester City gear up for a crucial semi-final showdown.

    Real Madrid and Manchester City gear up for a crucial semi-final showdown.

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    Real Madrid travelled to Manchester on Tuesday for their Champions League semifinal return leg against Manchester City. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving the tie finely balanced. Although City may be slight favorites, Real Madrid’s skill and pace on the break means they have every chance of reaching the final.

    Real Madrid won the European Supercup, the World Club Cup, and the Copa del Rey this season, but were beaten in the Spanish Supercup and lost La Liga to FC Barcelona. Despite this, Carlo Ancelotti has built a side that can dominate smaller teams and hit others on the break with the pace of Vinicius Jr, Fede Valverde, and Rodrygo.

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    Madrid President Florentino Perez is known for being capricious, and a bad defeat on Wednesday would ask questions of Ancelotti’s future. Last season, Real Madrid had three miracle fightbacks in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, but this time they are away from home and facing a wall of sound from Manchester City’s fans.

    Pep Guardiola’s side has the disadvantage of not playing their Premier League game until Sunday, meaning they have had 24 hours less recovery time than Madrid. Ancelotti rotated his side for Saturday’s game against Getafe, so Madrid should go into the game fresher than their rivals.

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    Eduardo Camavinga should be able to play at left back after suffering a slight twist to his left knee on Saturday, while Ancelotti has confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will start again after marking Erling Haaland out of last week’s draw. Whether Rudiger and right-back Dani Carvajal will be given as much leeway by the referee as they got in the Bernabeu last week remains to be seen.

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    The tie is in the balance, with many questions to answer. Can Madrid do it again on the break and keep Haaland quiet? If so, they will go through. If not, expect Manchester City to reach the final for the second time in their history.

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    Rajesh M
    Rajesh M
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