Ancelotti Proud As Real Madrid Dig Deep For Revenge In Manchester

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was beaming with pride after his team dug deep for long periods on Wednesday to keep Manchester City at bay and squeeze past them on penalties into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“I love it when a team gives their all and sacrifices everything in big games like this one,” he said after a pulsating two-legged quarter-final that ended 4-4 on aggregate before the Spanish side triumphed 4-3 in a penalty shootout.
It was sweet revenge for Real Madrid, who were thrashed 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium in their exit from the Champions League at the semi-final stage last year.“I believe that there was no other way to beat Manchester City here. I'm proud of what we did,” added Ancelotti, who paced nervously up and down the touchline during the shootout until defender Antonio Rudiger scored the winning kick.
“By the time the penalty shootout came, we were totally convinced we'd go through. You work, sacrifice and win however you can. We defended really, really well tonight. This was about survival. Madrid is a club based on always fighting to stay in situations where there seems to be no way out – but we always find a way.”
Ancelotti said his counterpart, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, had been generous in defeat despite the frustration of seeing his team dominate possession but fail to win in Wednesday's second leg 1-1 draw.“Pep Guardiola is a gentleman, always has been. He congratulated us, wished us good luck and that's what a real gent does,” he said.
After taking an early lead, Ancelotti's men were pressed back throughout the game, conceding late on but then hanging on through extra time until the penalties.“We started well and scored in the beginning but the game changed, they pressured us and our plan was not to defend that deep but it's a big game and you need to fight. We have seen Real Madrid do this many times before, a club that brings something out that nobody thought we would have.”
No regrets, says Guardiola
City manager Guardiola was gracious in defeat.“Congratulations to Real Madrid, they defend so deep, with incredible solidarity,” Guardiola said.“We did everything. I have no regrets about what we've done. Defensively, offensively, we played exceptional in all departments, in everything, and unfortunately we couldn't win, so that's what it is.”
After capturing their first treble – Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League titles – last season, they appeared on track to become the first team in history to claim the three titles in back-to-back years. But despite completely dominating Madrid, firing 33 shots to Madrid's eight and taking 18 corners to just one for the visitors, Guardiola's men could not finish them off.
Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 76th minute to cancel out Rodrygo's 12th-minute goal, but both the Belgian and City's goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland squandered several scoring chances as the tie finished 1-1 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.
Victory looked in City's hands when Luka Modric failed to convert Madrid's opening spot kick. But momentum swung when Bernardo Silva shot straight into keeper Andriy Lunin's hands, leaving Madrid's Nacho and Antonio Ruediger to seal the win.
City now switch their focus to their quest for another FA Cup title tomorrow when they clash with Chelsea in the semi-finals at Wembley.
Guardiola's team also have a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League with six games remaining.


Gulf Times

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