The last 5 times Real Madrid drew a UCL first leg – & what happened next
The Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City hangs in the balance after the two sides played out a scintillating 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu. But who will progress to Istanbul after next week’s second leg at the Etihad?
“Next week will be like a final, and we are quite good at winning finals,” Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said after the match.
Courtois has a point – Madrid have played in eight Champions League finals in the modern era and won each and every one of them. But does his logic apply here? We’ve taken a look at the last five times they’ve drawn the first leg of a Champions League knockout – and what happened next.
Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea (2021)
A good omen for Manchester City is that the last time Madrid drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu in a Champions League semi-final, they then went to England and lost the second leg.
City know all too well it was Thomas Tuchel’s Blues that emerged victorious in Europe that season. They battled hard in the Spanish capital, remaining alive in the tie after Karim Benzema cancelled out Christian Pulisic’s early opener.
The following week at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea produced one of their all-time great performances to beat Los Blancos 2-0. Timo Werner and Mason Mount scored the goals, but it was all about N’Golo Kante singlehandedly winning the midfield battle – the Frenchman was deservedly named man of the match in both legs before picking up the same accolade in the final.
Kanté versus Real Madrid (2021)…#UCL pic.twitter.com/VVkak40lVS
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 17, 2023
Man City 0-0 Real Madrid (2016)
The 1-1 draw against Chelsea in 2021 had been Madrid’s first draw in a Champions League first leg in five years. The last time had been against Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City in the 2015-16 semi-finals.
Pellegrini’s last season in charge of City had been underwhelming. They only just finished in the top four and registered their lowest Premier League points tally of the last 13 years. But they did make it past Dynamo Kyiv and PSG to reach their first-ever Champions League semi-final.
And City produced a rock-solid defensive display at home to Zinedine Zidane’s side at the Etihad, producing a 0-0 draw that gave them a real chance in the final.
But they were oddly muted in the second leg at the Bernabeu, with Yaya Toure looking particularly lackadaisical in midfield, as Madrid’s nous and experience told with a 1-0 win thanks to an early Fernando own goal.
Madrid never looked like letting it slip, although they were only ever one away goal from being dumped out. They went on to beat city rivals Atletico on penalties in the final – the first of a historic threepeat under Zinedine Zidane.
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid (2015)
For three seasons in a row, Madrid knocked Diego Simeone’s Atleti out of Europe. The middle meeting – in between their two final showdowns – came in the 2014-15 quarter-finals.
That season Atletico had already knocked Madrid out of the Copa del Rey and thrashed them 4-0 in La Liga. Yet once more Madrid showed they’re built differently in Europe.
Madrid left the Vicente Calderon frustrated after Jan Oblak pulled off a man-of-the-match performance in a first-leg goalless draw.
The Slovenian goalkeeper couldn’t keep a clean sheet at the Bernabeu, however, with Javier Hernandez’s 88th-minute goal sending Madrid through to a semi-final meeting with Juventus – one they surprisingly lost, denying us an El Clasico final.
Throwback to one of the best champions league nights in my life. Javier Hernandez with the goal to send us to the semi finals against Atletico Madrid in the Bernabeu. Always gonna be an amazing memory. pic.twitter.com/iBQ0FTfg2b
— Wammad (@CRFutbol_) September 4, 2019
Real Madrid 1-1 Man Utd (2013)
Real Madrid finished runners-up to Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the 2012-13 group stage, which handed them the tough task of facing Manchester United in the round of 16.
Cristiano Ronaldo equalised in the first leg at the Bernabeu after Danny Welbeck’s early opener, and he once again scored against his former side – while refusing to celebrate – at Old Trafford after Madrid came back from behind to win 2-1.
A Sergio Ramos own goal had given United the lead, but the visitors came back into it with two quickfire away goals following the controversial decision to dismiss Nani.
Jose Mourinho – perhaps planting seeds for a future job at Old Trafford – conceded that “the better team lost” and was nothing but effusive in his praise for Sir Alex Ferguson after the match.
Ferguson, meanwhile, was left fuming by the red card decision.
“Now we have a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager,” the Manchester United manager told reporters after the match.
“That is why I am sat here. It was a massive occasion, Ryan Giggs’ 1,000th game and a worldwide audience. Like us, they are all probably wondering what has happened. A great occasion has been marred by one decision.”
Ferguson announced his retirement a few weeks later, so that proved to be his final European match. Mourinho left Madrid in acrimony at the end of the season, having lost to Dortmund in the semi-finals, and returned to Chelsea before eventually succeeding Ferguson in the Old Trafford hotseat in 2016.
#OnThisDay 5th March 2013
Nani was sent off against Real Madrid.
𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐮𝐬❓pic.twitter.com/VfwvNxslL7
— 𝘾𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙤𝙣𝙖 𝘾𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙨 – aka Larry 🇾🇪 (@Cantona_Collars) March 5, 2022
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Real Madrid (2012)
Mourinho’s Madrid ended Barcelona’s stranglehold at the summit of La Liga with a superb 100-point domestic campaign.
They were exceptional that year, so there was little cause for concern when Pontus Wernbloom scored an injury-time equaliser for CSKA in their round-of-16 clash in the Russian capital.
Sure enough, Madrid made short work of the Russian champions in the return leg, producing a comfortable, professional 4-1 win at the Bernabeu.
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