Champions League: Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-3 in first leg of semi-final
Manchester City had their Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid signed and sealed three times, but still ended up with their prospects of a place in next month's final in the balance.
Guardiola's team have become football's most exciting team, but their sense of adventure could cost them the prize they cherish above all others after ending up with a 4-3 first-leg win in a classic encounter which felt more like a missed opportunity.
City will face Real in the Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg next Wednesday as favourites to progress to the final on May 28 in Paris, yet the trip to the Spanish capital should have been nothing more than a stress-free excursion after opening up a two-goal lead against Carlo Ancelotti's team on three separate occasions at the Etihad.
Only last season, when City beat Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate in the semifinals, have they bucked the trend, but 12 months on, it's a case of 'here we go again' and they have ensured that a second-leg which should have been a non-event is now another must-see occasion which could end up with either team progressing to the final.
City were 2-0 ahead after 11 minutes following goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus and at that stage, Real's heaviest-ever European defeat -- 5-0 losses against AC Milan and Kaiserslautern -- looked likely to be erased from the record books.