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Man City aim to repeat Real Madrid heroics

Published : Wednesday, 17 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 97

MANCHESTER, APRIL 16: Manchester City are closing in on a second consecutive treble, yet Erling Haaland is still facing criticism as Real Madrid visit the Etihad on Wednesday aiming to exact revenge for their Champions League exit last season.
The 14-time European champions were humbled 4-0 on their visit to Manchester 11 months ago at the semi-final stage as City went on to win the Champions League for the first time, along with the Premier League and FA Cup.
Pep Guardiolas men are 12 games away from repeating that remarkable feat even without their prolific Norwegian hitting the form he did last season.
Haalands return of 31 goals in 38 games this season is still impressive, but he has not scored in Citys three meetings with Madrid in the past year and failed to find the net in 13 of his last 20 matches for club and country.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher labelled Haaland the "ultimate luxury player" who is yet to become "world-class".
Ex-Manchester United captain Roy Keane, infamously sent-off in a Manchester derby for a pre-meditated lunge on Haalands father Alf-Inge due to a long-running feud, went even further by claiming the City strikers hold-up play resembles that of a player in Englands fourth-tier League Two.
The Spanish press have been just as harsh after Haaland failed to fire for a second consecutive year at the Santiago Bernabeu in a thrilling first leg that ended 3-3 last week.
His performance was described by Madrid sports daily Marca as "impotent", while AS called him "clumsy and desperate" in his attempts to get the better of Antonio Rudiger.
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti will not repeat the same mistake of dropping Rudiger for the second leg as he did last season after the German had kept Haaland quiet in the Bernabeu. City manager Guardiola has been protective of his star striker, pointing to both his record and the collective success of his side in Haalands two seasons at the club.    —AFP

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