Cristiano Ronaldo Nets Winner For Madrid In 3-2 Thriller

In heartbreaking fashion, Manchester City fell apart at the Bernabeu as the hosts managed to turn a one-goal deficit into a 3-2 win in a matter of just four minutes.

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Roberto Mancini's Defensive Tinkering Makes No Tactical Sense

Roberto Mancini seems determined to enforce a system on Manchester City which is wholly unsuited to them, and it could end up costing them dearly.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Final Score 3-2, Cristiano Ronaldo Nets Winner

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to make the most of his opportunities for 90 minutes on Tuesday, but he came up huge in stoppage time, netting a winner for Real Madrid in their massive Champions League matchup with Manchester City.

The Citizens held the home side scoreless throughout the first half, then confused them with a change of formation that was partially necessitated by an injury, but likely a tactical decision by Roberto Mancini as well. City did well to take the lead on two occasions, but Madrid broke down the visitors' defense twice in the closing minutes and rallied back for a 3-2 victory.

Ronaldo regularly beat Maicon down Madrid's left throughout the first half, while opposite side winger Angel di Maria looked dangerous as well, but Madrid failed to find a breakthrough in the first half. Vincent Kompany made a couple of great late tackles, while Joe Hart looked very sharp in goal.

Samir Nasri picked up a hamstring injury in the first half, and Mancini brought on Aleksandar Kolarov, hardly a like-for-like switch. The move led to a formation change, with Gael Clichy coming inside and City switching to three at the back. They further switched up their formation in the 63rd minute, when Edin Dzeko entered for David Silva.

In the 69th minute, that substitution paid off. Yaya Toure provided an absolutely brilliant setup for Dzeko with a powerful run down the center after Madrid lost the ball in City's half. He played a perfect pass into the path of Dzeko on the counter, and the big center forward applied a composed finish to put City ahead.

The goal was a wake-up call for Madrid, who began to play with more urgency. They brought on Mesut Özil shortly before the goal, and made two more attacking changes after the goal by bringing in Karim Benzema and Luka Modric.

Los Merengues found their equalizer through Marcelo in the 76th minute. The goal had been coming for quite some time, and it was a well deserved one for Marcelo, who had an excellent game down Madrid's left. His strike from the edge of the box took a deflection that created an unstoppable shot for Hart, but it was an excellent shot nonetheless, and he might have scored even if his shot never took that deflection.

Madrid continued to press for a winner, and a City goal seemed a bit out of the question until they won a free kick in the 86th minute. Kolarov stepped up and delivered a sharp curling ball to the back post that was a bit of a half-shot, half-cross. No one got on the end of his ball, but it curled perfectly to allude Iker Casillas, then bounce into the back of the net to give the Citizens a shock lead.

Unfortunately for the visitors, there would be no famous upset. Just one minute after Kolarov's goal, Benzema netted an equalizer, turning in an assist by Di Maria. Both sides fought for the winner during an incredible back-and-forth period of three minutes, but City's aggression came back to bite them.

Following a counter, they left themselves exposed at the back. Ronaldo took advantage of space that wouldn't have been there if City were playing for the draw, cut inside, and delivered a finish to the back post from 12 yards in the first minute of stoppage time. Hart got his hand to it and could have made a save, but he was screened by Kompany and reacted to the shot late.

Madrid didn't look much better than they did in a loss over the weekend, but they found a way to net three goals and take a crucial three points from Manchester City. The Citizens couldn't have expected points at the Bernabeu, but they'll be extremely disappointed at how they lost what would have been a stranglehold on their group in a span of just four minutes.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. You can find our previous coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Ronaldo Gives Real Madrid Vital Lead

Oh my goodness this game is insane. Real Madrid are up 3-2 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. Presumably he'll be somewhat less sad after cutting inside Pablo Zabaleta and fizzing in a right-footed effort that dips horribly right in front of Joe Hart and bounces straight into his goal. That strike came a minute or so after Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema managed to fail to score an open goal, but they're not going to care about that now -- they have their lead and it looks like it should hold.

It's really unfortunate for Manchester City (and Joe Hart), but after being under the cosh for most of the match it's probably deserved. Having led twice at the Santiago Bernabeu only to lose though... that's pretty rough. Poor Joe Hart.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Teams Exchange Goals Again

And now Manchester City are back on top! Karim Benzema gives away a free kick when he brings down Pablo Zabaleta following a corner kick, and Aleksandar Kolarov fires the free kick just inside Iker Casillas' far post to make it 2-1! Unbelievable from City, who had such a disappointing Champions League campaign last year. Casillas never had any chance of stopping that one -- had he gone for it, Yaya Toure was on hand to deflect the ball if he saw the Real Madrid goalkeeper make a move.

Er... hold on, now Karim Benzema has scored, turning on a dime and then slotting past Joe Hart to bring the score back to 2-2. And then Cristiano Ronaldo picks up the ball in the penalty area and forces Hart into a flying save to prevent a heartbreaking last minute winner. This game, if you haven't noticed. is absolutely mental.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Marcelo Levels Score

Alright, the changes are coming now that Manchester City have that vital goal. An annoyed Real Madrid pull both Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira off the pitch for Karim Benzema and Luka Modric respectively, while Roberto Mancini looks to preserve his lead by pulling off Maicon and introducing Pablo Zabaleta. Madrid have a quarter of an hour left to find an equaliser.

But it's actually been City who look more likely to score. Real's defence, which has barely been tested, has been something approximating pants whenever the visitors do get the ball anywhere near them. Aleksandar Kolarov forced Iker Casillas into his first save of the game when teed up by Carlos Tevez, and then Yaya Toure hit the side netting a little later on.

And then... heartbreak for the citizens. Marcelo finally gets one of those long-range shots sort-of on target, and it's deflected beyond a despairing Joe Hart. That makes it 1-1, so we're back to square one here. Zabaleta nearly makes it 2-1 at the near post. This game is suddenly crazy.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Dzeko Gives City Shock Lead

Jose Mourinho wants to win this match -- Mesut Ozil is in for Michael Essien as Real Madrid commit more resources to the attack. The German midfielder nearly gets in on the action immediately, feeding Marcelo for a long-range strike. Joe Hart's a little unsighted and reacts to the shot only after it's cleared both Maicon and Vincent Kompany, which means he's too late to stop it with a despairing leap. Fortunately for Manchester City, the effort's off target, fizzing maybe a foot over the crossbar. Marcelo rages.

And... uh, wow. City have replied with a goal.

Yaya Toure bursts through the midfield on the counter attack, running past Pepe, then Sami Khedira before feeding Edin Dzeko on the right. The Bosnian striker makes no mistake, slipping the ball under Iker Casillas, who's barely touched the ball so far today, to give the visitors a shock 1-0 lead. Wow.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: 2nd Half Underway

We are back underway at the Santiago Bernabeu, where it's all square after a Real Madrid-dominated first half. Manchester City will be reasonably pleased with a 0-0 draw through the break, although they have Joe Hart to thank for keeping it level after lovely saves from both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. The visitors were growing into the game a little towards the end of the first half, so let's see if they can keep it up here.

Not so much. Madrid instantly gain control of the ball and engage in a big old pass-fest at the top of the City box. Eventually an Angel di Maria shot gets deflected behind for a corner, which is hit far too long and allows Hart to claim despite a messy back-header from Gael Clichy. At the other end of the pitch Aleksandar Kolarov runs the ball out of play for a goal kick for some reason. I assume it was a bad one.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Halftime Score 0-0 At The Bernabeu

Manchester City have not looked sharp in the first half, but they're keeping a clean sheet at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid have had all of the possession and all of the chances in the first half of the Champions League encounter between the two teams, but the score is locked up at 0-0 after 45 minutes.

Roberto Mancini selected Maicon at right back for the match, and the former Inter man has had his hands full with Cristiano Ronaldo. Even though the supposedly sad Ronaldo has not been at his best, he's torn Maicon apart on a few occasions. He had a shot saved by Joe Hart in the 9th minute after he beat both Maicon and Vincent Kompany easily, then forced Hart into another save just three minutes later.

In the 20th minute, Gonzalo Higuain had perhaps the best chance of the half, but Hart did well to rush out and get a small piece of Angel di Maria's lofted ball over the top of the defense. Higuain caught up to it and cut back for Ronaldo, who had a shot blocked. The third chance fell to Sami Khedira, who shot over.

An injury prematurely ended the day of Samir Nasri, and Mancini took the forced substitution as an opportunity to make a tactical switch. He brought in Aleksandar Kolarov for Nasri, which moved Clichy to left central defense as City shifted from a 4-3-3 to a formation with three at the back.

Madrid continued to press forward in the closing minutes of the half, but was unable to make the most of their chances. Di Maria looked like the biggest beneficiary of City's tactical switch, and he had a couple of solid half-chances in the last five minutes of the half. The switch to a back three seems to have helped Maicon a bit, and Ronaldo became less of a threat late in the half. Surely, Jose Mourinho will make changes in the locker room to account for Mancini's tactical switch.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Nasri Leaves Match With Injury

Yeah, Samir Nasri's not going to be able to continue, which is unfortunate. Roberto Mancini opts to replace the Frenchman with left back Aleksandar Kolarov, who he places immediately in front of Gael Clichy, whom he turns into a centre back in a three-man back line. Interesting tactical move.

Yaya Toure once again does some neato thing in the Manchester City midfield, cruising past the hapless Michael Essien to set up David Silva on the break. Its four on three and City really should score, but Silva fails to take the pass in stride and that allows the Real Madrid defence to reform. Eventually Xabi Alonso gets the block in. Still, that's better from the visitors -- the ball's been in their half for pretty much the entire match so far, and any attacks are to be encouraged.

At the other end of the pitch, Vincent Kompany gets in a muddle and lets Gonzalo Higuain latch onto the end of a difficult cross. The striker's volley goes juuuust over. Not good from either player. Still 0-0.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We have live coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Lineups

Manchester City and Real Madrid both look to be going with slightly conservative 4-3-3 setups for their massive Champions League clash, with Michael Essien getting a surprise start over Luka Modric and Mesut Özil for Los Merengues. Manchester City have handed a start to 19-year-old starlet Matija Nastasic in central defense. City could conceivably shift Javi Garcia into a back three and play some variation of 3-4-3 as well. In this respect, anyone's listed formation for City is simply a guess.

Real Madrid starting lineup (4-3-3): Iker Casillas; Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Alvaro Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Michael Essien; Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria

Manchester City starting lineup (4-3-3): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic, Vincent Kompany, Maicon; Javi Garcia, Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure; David Silva, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local time from the Santiago Bernabeu. You can catch the game on FOX Soccer in the U.S., ITV 1 in the U.K. and Sportsnet regional networks in Canada.

For more on the Merengues, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue. We'll have coverage of the game in our Real Madrid vs. Manchester City StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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Manchester City Heads To The Bernabeu Thanks To The Season They Can't Erase

Manchester City has spent millions to win the trophies that Sheikh Mansour craved, but the £122.35 the Citizens wasted in 2008-09 still haunts them.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City: Five Questions to Ponder

As you prepare for kickoff between Manchester City and Real Madrid, here's five questions to consider concerning today's match.

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Real Madrid Vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League: Preview And Schedule

It's the clash of the Group D titans as Manchester City travel to Spain to take on Cristiano Ronaldo and a suddenly-struggling Real Madrid.

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Sergio Aguero Set To Return For Manchester City

Sergio Aguero is ready to play against Real Madrid, according to Blues manager Roberto Mancini.

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