Gabriel Jesus scores Manchester City’s first goal.

But to quibble about profligacy is to overlook the body of City’s work, the way they put the pain of their looming two-year ban from European football for financial irregularities behind them to supply one among their finest nights. Had the punishment bonded them more tightly? Guardiola said not, although it had been tempting to argue against him.

Guardiola had surprised everyone by resting Fernandinho, Sterling and Agüero, while his 4-4-2 system featured Jesus on the left flank, albeit he played through the center for the opening jiffy , and De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva because the central attackers.

The idea was for the unlikely strike duo to line a high press, with Mahrez and Jesus making the pitch wide – to use Guardiola’s description.

There were also times when De Bruyne and Silva dropped deeper to permit the opposite two to push up as split strikers. For the primary quarter-hour City struggled but they might grow into the sport , with their rhythm not disrupted by the loss of Laporte. Fernandinho filled in seamlessly. agen judi bola

City might be pleased at how they kept Real at arm’s length before the interval, although they did hand over one clear-cut chance. Karim Benzema found space to go Ferland Mendy’s cross towards the corner and it took a superb save from Ederson to stay him out. Vinícius looked the favourite to succeed in the rebound only to slide at the crucial moment.

City had the higher of a limited crop of first-half chances, with Jesus missing the large one after taking a De Bruyne pass and jinking inside. His shot was too on the brink of Courtois. There was also the instant on 45 minutes when Jesus shot low after Courtois had flapped at a corner. The ball almost went in off Ramos before Real smuggled it off the road .

The value of an away goal was always getting to be huge and City came on the brink of it at the beginning of the second-half. First De Bruyne led an opportunity and played in Jesus, who curled the ball wide of the highest corner, then Mahrez found space behind the defence following a shock the highest . He probably had longer than he realised but rushed the shot and saw the important goalkeeper block.

Isco’s goal was an entire surprise, resulting in Real enjoying an ingenious but brief patch as City looked downbeat. How they might clamber to their feet.