Champions League nights can be very cruel and it has been proven on many occasions that teams don’t always get what they deserve. I understand that fortune does play a part in these knockout competitions, but we literally had no excuses for our inability to bury Real Madrid and kill off the tie. We literally had a million opportunities to see them off, but each time we offered them a helping hand to fight again.
Maybe i would have been less disappointed if Madrid played us off the park and we lost the leg by a decent margin. Then, i would at least be at peace with the fact that we got done by a better team and we go again next season. The anger and disappointment is about the fact that Madrid were crap and we should have wiped our Etihad stadium clean with their noses. They were defensively awful and yet we missed chance after chance like an amateur sniper.
This competition is full of deadly strikers, who turn nothing into a goal. We saw that from Benzema’s opening goal. The XG of that goal suggested that it had a 1 in 29 chance of going in. It was not even a half chance and yet he finished it off. That is the level of finishing required to finish teams off at this stage of the competition. The fact that we could not finish off our one on ones still hurts me.
Probably this is my first match where i am disappointed after a City victory. The way Real Madrid fans were celebrating, it seemed as if they have won. The reality is that we should have left the Etihad stadium with an impossible margin and knocked out all the hopes of Real Madrid. But, we need to slowly accept the reality and be confident in the fact that we go in with a one goal advantage into the second leg.
I strongly feel that the games at this stage of the Champions League are more mindset and mentality oriented than anything else. At this stage it is all about the character and personality to cope with the immense pressure of every moment. The best teams at this stage of the competition suffer well and do not lose confidence when they are down. That is the biggest lesson we have learnt from yesterday. I do hope that we go into the second leg with the same belief and mindset with which we started the first and get the job done.
The defeat still hurts and i am not able to get over the fact that we have not come out of that game with a much bigger lead. Well, this is football and just like life, things always do not go in our favour. The good thing is we still have a one goal lead and we can still fight it out with the same belief and renewed hunger in the second leg.