Rio Ferdinand outlines Man City ‘vulnerability’ against Real Madrid & makes big next leg prediction
The former England international believes this player could have cost City their win over Real on Tuesday.
Rio Ferdinand has outlined a ‘vulnerability’ that might have cost Manchester City in their win over Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.
The Sky Blues narrowly beat Los Blancos 4-3 in their Champions League semi-final first-leg, with the game being dubbed an all-time classic by fans and BT Sport.
Karim Benzema’s ‘Panenka-style’ penalty was a standout moment in the game. The Frenchmen coolly chipped his spot-kick to give Real their third goal of the game in the 82nd minute.
Speaking after the match, Ferdinand shared the sentiments of many - calling the game ‘fantastic’ - but believes Pep Guardiola will be frustrated that his side ‘allowed’ Los Blancos to get back into the fixture.
“It was a fantastic game, the game ebbed and flowed in different ways,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“Momentum changed many times during the game, moments of absolute class from individuals.
“City will be a bit frustrated, you can see that. I think Pep will have a lot to say in that changing room. Real Madrid I think will be buoyed I think by the way they showed the character and courage to come back.”
Despite the narrow advantage going into the second-leg on 4 May, Ferdinand still believes City will progress to the final of the competition, but has outlined which player almost cost them their win on Tuesday.
“I still fancy City to go over there [to Madrid] and finish the job off,” he added.
“I think a big, big change in the way the game went was when Stones coming off. I think Stones’ injury destabilised the City team.
“Unfortunately, Fernandinho at 36 years old having to play right-back against one of the most in-form wingers in the game at the moment, that was a vulnerability then in that Man City team.”
John Stones returned to the Sky Blues starting 11 despite being a doubt before the match and was withdrawn with nine minutes remaining in the first-half due to injury.
Ex-City and Real midfielder Steve McManaman was also on pundit duty for the game and thinks Guardiola’s team should’ve had the tie wrapped-up going into the second-leg.
“You never accuse City of being naïve but they were at times,” McManaman added.
“They shouldn’t have let Madrid back into the game. I don’t know what it was, whether they were just overly confident because they were so far ahead, so superior, as soon as they went two goals ahead they started to drop deep, even the third goal, the Panenka penalty, they [Madrid] just had a chance prior to that, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘how’s that happened?’.
“City should be just controlling the game. I still think City will score goals and probably win the game over there, the way they played, but they’ve given Madrid a glimmer of hope.
“And once they go back there with the fans it will be a different scenario to tonight.”