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Pep Guardiola sums up Man City's Champions League classic with Real Madrid

Long before the final whistle sounded, City's epic encounter with Real Madrid had become an instant Champions League classic

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Phil Foden Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Kevin Palmer

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he was satisfied with his side's position in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, after a remarkable semi-final first leg ended in a 4-3 win for his side.

Long before the final whistle sounded, City's epic encounter with Real Madrid had become an instant Champions League classic, with the final scoreline only beginning to sum up a remarkable story.

The Premier League leaders raced into a 2-0 lead in a pulsating first-leg encounter with goals from the irrepressible Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus in the first 11 minutes.

Real responded through the prolific Karim Benzema before Phil Foden and Vinicius Junior traded goals early in the second half.

Bernardo Silva gave City a two-goal advantage but Benzema scored a cheeky penalty – his 41st goal of the season in as many appearances – to cut the deficit once again.

Both sides spurned numerous other chances in a compelling and breathless clash that set the stage for a fascinating second leg next week.

"It was a fantastic game for both sides," declared Guardiola. "We did many good things. Unfortunately we conceded goals and we could not score more. But two games and we have another one in one week.

"We played a fantastic game against an incredible team. The moments where they rise and come back into the game in the first half I think we gave them as our build-up was so nervous. Normally we are so safe and so good. Also they press really good and strong.

"All around the world and for Manchester City, we are so proud. But it is about reaching the final and sometimes football happens. We go to Madrid to try to win the game."

Guardiola also defended defender Aymeric Laporte, after his handball gifted Real Madrid a late penalty chipped home by the majestic Benzema.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores their side's third goal from the penalty spot against Manchester City. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

"We went out of the Champions League to Tottenham when Llorente with the hand. Today it is a hand for Laporte. It happens," he continued.

"All we can do is perform as we perform. The quality of Real Madrid is such they can punish you. What we have done with the ball and without the ball, creating chances and chances and chances I can't ask anything else. I say to the players to rest.

"Congratulations to Carlo and his team as they are so good. At the same time, we saw ourselves that we can be there.

"It was a great game. End to end. We started really well and could have killed them off. In these games, we need to take more chances."

City midfielder Phil Foden suggested Real Madrid's quality finishing was a warning of what is to come in the second leg at the Bernabeu next week.

"For the fans watching it was obviously a great game of football," he told BT Sport.

"We are playing a side that have won the Champions League many times and if we give the ball away they are going to punish us. It is something we need to work on in the second leg. The tie is still on."

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