Rafa Benitez has suggested that Manchester City are the favourites to beat Real Madrid and secure their place in the upcoming Champions League final.
The first-leg semi-final game between the two sides saw City rescue a 1-1 draw after a second-half goal from Kevin De Bruyne cancelled out Vinicius Junior’s opener at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Now that the second leg is almost upon Pep Guardiola’s side, one former Champions League winner has shared his thoughts on how the game will go.
Benitez backs Man City as favourites over Real Madrid
In a recent interview, shared on Twitter by Football Daily, Benitez said this about the clash.
He said: “Manchester City has more balance with a centre-back going in as a midfielder, they keep three defenders and they can control the main threat of Real Madrid when they are not in possession and against Manchester City they will not be in possession.
“I think Manchester City is a little bit the favourite because they will play at home, they will have possession and they have a lot of confidence.
“But at the same time, they will be worried about Real Madrid and their experience. Real Madrid is not a team that will be worried about the atmosphere or whatever. They know what they have to do.
“They have to be sure they can keep the ball, avoid the first press when Manchester City give the ball away and they go to press, avoid this first line of pressing and then try to use the counter-attack.”
The first leg saw City have 56% possession in total, as well as having more shots on target than the home side (6 vs 4), which could be why Benitez thinks Guardiola’s side could be the ones in control of the game on Wednesday, especially since they have the home advantage on this occasion.
Also, with the Citizens managing to beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side 4-3 in the Champions League at the Etihad last season, before getting knocked out of the competition by losing 3-1 in the reverse fixture, this shows that City are capable of getting a victory against Real at home.
However, with the Spanish side’s experience of winning the competition, this will surely make it a tough test for City, regardless of Benitez’s insistence that they are the favourites.