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Three stats from Manchester City 4-0 Real Madrid

From a lack of shots to defensive chaos

Manchester City FC v Real Madrid: Semi-Final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Real Madrid have crashed out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage against an English opponent for the second time in three years as Manchester City overcame Carlo Ancelotti’s team recorded a thumping 4-0 win in the second leg to make it 5-1 on aggregate.

The game got off to a bad start in the first half with Bernardo Silva’s brace setting Real Madrid back and ruining Ancelotti’s game plan before the break. Afterwards, an unfortunate Éder Militão own goal and an injury time goal from substitute Julián Álvarez rubbed salt in the wounds.

Here are three stats that help to understand the game.

61 minutes: How long it took Real Madrid to have a shot inside the Manchester City box

In the lead up to this tie, we heard a lot about how Carlo Ancelotti was telling his players that they would have to suffer, particularly early on in the game. What we didn’t quite expect was that Los Blancos would retreat perhaps quite so deep.

The issue for Real Madrid came in that they failed to find any openings in the City defence. Ancelotti appeared to have set up to counter attack, but the approach failed as Karim Benzema failed to hold the ball up, Vinícius Júnior was denied any space whatsoever, and Rodrygo Goes continually dropped deep for the ball.

The end result was that Real Madrid did not have a shot inside the box until the 61st minute, when Vinícius fired way wide from the edge of the box but just inside. The next attempt, and the first on target from inside the box, did not come until 82 minutes and 2 seconds.

There were similarities between this game and the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona at times, with City quickly retreating and packing out central areas to prevent Real Madrid from having any way through.

Come the final whistle, Real Madrid had three shots inside the Manchester City box. In contrast, Manchester City had 12 inside Real Madrid’s own 18-yard box.

41.9%: Duel success rate from Real Madrid defenders

The decision to start Éder Militão over Antonio Rüdiger was the eye-catching take from Ancelotti in the build-up to this game, with the German having handled Erling Haaland fairly well in the return leg last week with Militão unavailable due to suspension.

In this game, none of the backline stood out. David Alaba only had two duels in this game, losing them both, while Dani Carvajal won 33.3% of his duels and Eduardo Camavinga was only victorious in 30% of his battles.

However, Militão was the best of a bad bunch in defence. He won six out of his nine duels, making him the only player to win more than half of his duels, other than Lucas Vázquez, who only played for the final 10 minutes as a substitute.

Such dominance of the Real Madrid defence is something that is rarely seen, primarily because it relies upon all four of the back line being off the pace. That was the case on Wednesday night. Eduardo Camavinga was targeted, as was Carvajal who again struggled against Jack Grealish, and Haaland proved stiff competition for David Alaba, who continually drifted to his side of the box and found both of his early chances come from finding space at the far post in Alaba’s area.

Manchester City FC v Real Madrid: Semi-Final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

76%: Luka Modrić’s pass accuracy was his lowest when starting a game since June 2020

Luka Modrić is known as the man for the big occasion, but this semi-final battle and both legs came at a time when he has been nursing injury and has looked at times as though he has been a step behind the other 21 players on the field. That was the case at the Etihad.

With just 76% pass completion, with 29 passes complete from 38 attempts, it is his lowest tally when starting a match since a 3-1 win over Eibar in LaLiga in June 2020 when he recorded 75% completion from 36 attempted passes.

It is almost unheard of for the Croatian to be beaten so convincingly in a midfield battle and his influence nullified. He delivered only three passes into the final third throughout his 63 minutes on the field, but even so he had more accurate passes in the forward zone than any other player until Fede Valverde eventually drew level some 15 minutes after Modrić was taken off.

At 37, it’s expected to see some decline from Modrić, and it was no coincidence that Ancelotti’s two changes saw him take off both Modrić and Toni Kroos, the two men who have dominated Europe for so long. Kroos’ passing accuracy was better, at 92% from 36 attempted passes, but was far more conservative than his team-mate’s distribution. Too much of the onus was being put on the Croatian to make things happen.

On the other side, Manchester City had Rodri and Ilkay Gündogan registering passing accuracy of over 90%. Kevin de Bruyne is perhaps a more offensive comparison, carrying that same offensive duty, but he created four chances while Modrić failed to create a single one.

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