Charlie Nicholas states prediction for Real Madrid v Man City
Charlie Nicholas delivers verdict on Manchester City's trip to Real Madrid
Charlie Nicholas believes Manchester City missed the chance to put the pressure on Real Madrid at The Etihad and is backing the La Liga giants to qualify for the Champions League final.
The Citizens played out a goalless draw with the 10-time European Cup winners on Eastlands last week as City looked to reach their first-ever Champions League final.
Manuel Pellegrini’s weakened side lost 4-2 to Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon as Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne were protected ahead of the return leg in the Spanish capital.
However, former Arsenal playmaker Nicholas believes the two-time Premier League winners won’t reach the showpiece, especially given Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to fitness.
“It wasn’t the worst result for City but I thought Madrid were there for the taking in the first leg and City hardly laid a glove on them. Vincent Kompany was probably their man of the match and that says a lot,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“I know Cristiano Ronaldo has been training but he won’t be fully fit, which is a bonus because you can see Gareth Bale has become their top man recently and I think Ronaldo’s presence back in the team reduces his influence.
“Kevin De Bruyne sitting in behind Sergio Aguero does suit the counter-attack and they simply have to have a go at them and score, otherwise it will just be a matter of time before Real get on the scoresheet.
“Sadly, I think they’ve missed their opportunity and Manuel Pellegrini won’t have the glorious ending he’s dreaming of, with Bale maintaining his fine form and breaking City hearts.”
While this is a first semi-final in the competition for City, Madrid are in the last four for a record 27th time – they have won 13 and lost 13 of their previous semi-finals.
That Madrid defeat ended an eight-game unbeaten run at home to Spanish sides. Bayern’s record against Liga clubs in Munich is P23 W16 D5 L2. The Madrid reverse is the only game they have failed to win of the last six such contests.