Could that be the night that changes Manchester City’s Champions League fortunes?
After comical errors from Rodri, Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker had gifted Real Madrid a goal out of nothing, it looked as though the club would continue its living nightmare in this competition, which it has never won.
But Pep Guardiola’s side showed some real mental fortitude to turn things around and come away from the Bernabeu with a deserved advantage.
Huge credit must also go to Fernandinho — who was brought on as a substitute for the injured Aymeric Laporte in the Brazilian’s unfavored position of center back — after the Brazilian’s two crucial defensive blocks in the space of three minutes kept the score at 1-0.
In truth, Real’s goal came very much against the run of play and when City did eventually equalize through Gabriel Jesus’ header — Kevin De Bruyne once again at the heart of the move — there only looked like there would be one winner.
Kevin De Bruyne celebrates his winning penalty. JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
But this is still Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, a daunting prospect for any team in Europe and even more so for a club that had never previously tasted victory against Los Blancos.
Raheem Sterling’s introduction inside the final 10 minutes proved to be the additional boost City needed to get over the line.
The Englishman’s electric pace was too much for Dani Carvajal to handle and the Spaniard made a rash challenge to give away a blatant penalty.
Up stepped De Bruyne — undeterred after seeing several teammates miss penalties already this season — to bury it into the bottom corner.
A hop and a fist bump was quite the understated celebration considering it secured the club’s first ever victory over Real, but as the Belgian said, this tie is only half done.
To make matters worse for Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red card — his 26th for the club — after bringing down Jesus in the final few minutes.
The Spaniard now holds the record for most red cards in La Liga history, Champions League history, Real Madrid history and Spanish national team history.
As records go that’s quite a collection!
Sergio Ramos is shown a red card. JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images