Manchester City are set up to land Real Madrid a knockout blow at the Bernabeu next week and earn a place in the Champions League final, Joe Hart said after his saves helped earn a 0-0 draw in Tuesday’s first leg.
The England goalkeeper produced two incredible late stops at the Etihad Stadium to leave the tie hanging in the balance for next week’s second leg in the Spanish capital.
Ten-times winners Real have won six out of six at home in this year’s competition, racking up 18 goals without conceding, but Hart said he was relishing the challenge.
“We’ve set it up for a good, old-fashioned rumble at the Bernabeu,” said Hart, who made a superb point-blank save from Pepe late on shortly after sticking out a foot to block a goalbound Casemiro header. “Bring it on.”
“We are not disappointed with the result. We are ready. We have a brilliant squad who are coming to fruition.
“Big game next week, simple as.”
City have already won at Sevilla in the group phase and in Kiev in the last 16 and also drew at Paris St Germain on their way past the French champions into the semi-finals.
Real, who should have their injured top scorer Ronaldo back next week after he was forced to sit out Tuesday’s opener with a thigh strain, will be a formidable hurdle, but City captain Vincent Kompany said the Spanish giants will be wary.
“0-0 is a very dangerous scoreline. From the moment we manage to score in Madrid, it will be very different,” he said.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane said he felt his side deserved to be heading home with their noses in front.
“It was difficult. We defended well, we had more of the ball in the second half and we had chances to score,” he said.
“I’m a bit disappointed because in the second half we deserved to win.”
Explaining why Ronaldo was not even on the bench, the Frenchman said the Portuguese had aggravated a thigh strain during a training session.
With striker Karim Benzema failing to come out for the second half, Zidane has some striking worries.
“Benzema’s situation was different, he got worse the more the game went on and we didn’t want to risk him. I hope they both are in the next game,” Zidane told reporters.