Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro probably watched Nigeria’s teenage soccer ace, Kelechi Iheanacho score a brace against Southampton last Sunday before warning his team-mates there is more to Manchester City than just Sergio Aguero.
Sundays’ 4-2 humbling at the hands of Southampton was hardly ideal preparation for a trip to the Bernabeu and City’s loss coincided with the absence from the starting line-up of the Argentine, who remained on the bench at St Mary’s.
With Wednesday’s second-leg finely balanced at 0-0, Manuel Pellegrini kept his star man under wraps, hopeful that he will be the difference – given his 28 goals this season, but Casemiro insists City are far from a one-man team.
Real Madrid are bidding to reach their 14th European Cup final as they welcome a Manchester City side in their first semi-final with the tie all square at 0-0.
There was nothing between the sides in the first leg at the City of Manchester Stadium on 26 April, the game ending goalless.
While this is a first semi-final in the competition for City, Madrid are in the last four for a record 27th time – they have won 13 and lost 13 of their previous semi-finals.
Indeed, this is only City’s third European semi-final across UEFA’s club competitions, and a first since 1971; they beat FC Schalke 04 5-2 on aggregate in the 1969/70 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals, and lost to Chelsea FC 2-0 over two legs at the same stage of the same competition the following season.
Madrid, meanwhile, are in their 32nd European semi-final; their record is W17 L14. Although they are in a sixth successive UEFA Champions League semi-final, they have won only once in that sequence – against FC Bayern München in 2013/14, when they went on to win a tenth title.
Previous meetings
• The sides’ only other competitive fixtures came in the 2012/13 group stage, when Madrid twice came from behind to win 3-2 in Spain on matchday one. City led twice through Edin Džeko (68) and Aleksandar Kolarov (85) but Madrid responded through Marcelo (76) and Karim Benzema (87) before Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a 90th-minute victory.
• It was 1-1 in Manchester, Sergio Agüero’s penalty cancelling out Benzema’s tenth-minute strike. Madrid ended with ten men as Álvaro Arbeloa collected a second yellow card in fouling Agüero to concede that spot kick.
• Those four points helped José Mourinho’s Madrid finish second in Group D, behind Borussia Dortmund; City, then managed by Roberto Mancini, ended bottom with three points having not won a game.