Phil Foden admits his confidence is soaring after delivering for Manchester City yet again.

The England international claimed his 22nd goal of the campaign with a stunning strike from outside the area in City’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old, who scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa earlier this month, appears to be City’s most in-form player heading into the closing stages of a season they hope will yield another three trophies.

“I seem to be in good scoring form this year,” said academy graduate Foden. “When you’re scoring, your confidence is really high.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Phil Foden (@philfoden)

 

“I put it down to my determination and wanting to score goals. I always believe – no matter what – I’m going to get a chance in the game and hopefully I can put them away.”

Foden’s brilliant long-range effort at the Bernabeu pulled City back level at 2-2 after they had surrendered the lead.

“It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored,” he said. “I always have this special ability in and around the box where I see myself scoring a lot of goals – it’s one of those you practice on the training ground after training.

“When I received it on the edge of the box, I thought why not try it. Thankfully I got a chance in the game to do that. I made good contact with it and when it went in the top corner, I was delighted.

“It’s one of the best feelings – to score in one of the best stadiums in the world, I can say I’ve ticked it off the bucket list now.”

Foden’s goal was followed up by an equally impressive strike from Josko Gvardiol but Real hit back to level again and ensure the second leg of the quarter-final next week will begin evenly poised.

“We stayed calm when we went behind and we just played our football, we grew into the game,” Foden said.

“I feel we’ve come a long way to come here and do what we did. We could have controlled it better when we went 3-2 up but we’re playing one of the best teams in the world.

“Overall, it’s not a bad result for us. To come here and score three goals, we’ll take it back to the Etihad.”

Rodri admits he needs a break amid the intensity of Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of an unprecedented second successive treble.

The Spain international, who has not lost any of his last 66 games for club and country in a run stretching back more than a year, is vital to City’s bid to make history.

Yet Pep Guardiola’s influential midfield driving force looked laboured at times in Tuesday’s thrilling 3-3 Champions League draw at Real Madrid and concedes the schedule is taking its toll.

The 27-year-old said: “Every one of us can do better, even myself, but we need to rest to be honest.

“I do. I do need a rest. Let’s see how we speak, how we live the situation. Sometimes it is what it is.

“I need to adjust. It (rest) is something we are planning, yes.”

Guardiola could therefore make some changes for Saturday’s Premier League encounter with relegation-threatened Luton, as he looks ahead to the return clash with Real next Wednesday.

Yet with just a point separating the top three in the domestic competition, there is little margin for error for third-placed City.

Rodri felt the holders showed their mettle as they recovered from a 2-1 half-time deficit to lead on an enthralling night at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Bernardo Silva’s early strike was wiped out by a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort, but the English side responded with stunning strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol.

Real, however, were able to have the final say as Federico Valverde volleyed a late equaliser to ensure the second leg of the quarter-final tie will begin evenly poised.

“We showed our mentality to come back, to be honest,” said Rodri. “To go against them and come back with those goals sums up the mentality of the champions we are.

“It was a good result for us in terms of how the game was and everything is open. It’s one game in our home now and we are very strong there.”

City claimed a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the semi-finals last year before thrashing the Spanish giants 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium to go through.

“Of course we can recreate it,” said Rodri, a former Atletico Madrid player. “We know how strong we are in our home.

“The key thing was, we knew whatever happened it wasn’t going to be over, even if we won or we lost. We have a draw that is the same result we had last season.

“It’s a good result in terms of the feeling of the team. We were finding the spaces in the second half, we did it great and now we move to Manchester. If we copy the first 20-30 minutes of the second half here, it’s going to be difficult for them.”

Manchester City face a battle to retain their Champions League crown after being held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The holders twice led in an enthralling contest under the Bernabeu Stadium’s new roof but the quarter-final remains on a knife edge after Federico Valverde gave the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Bernardo Silva got City off to a flying start but a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort sent Real in at half-time of Tuesday’s first leg 2-1 ahead.

Phil Foden equalised for City with a brilliant strike and Josko Gvardiol put them back in front but Valverde had the final word to set up another intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium next week.

City missed the creativity and influence of Kevin De Bruyne who, having been feeling unwell, was sick soon after the team arrived at the stadium.

That forced manager Pep Guardiola to make a late change to his plans and bring Mateo Kovacic into the starting line-up.

The visitors initially seemed unaffected both by that and the raucous atmosphere Real had attempted to amplify by closing the roof at their newly-remodelled 85,000-capacity arena.

They were quickly onto the front foot and were given their early chance to take the lead when Aurelien Tchouameni crudely halted Jack Grealish to earn a booking that will keep him out of the second leg.

With Real failing to form a wall, Silva took full advantage and caught goalkeeper Andriy Lunin napping as he thumped a left-foot shot into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

City went close to adding a second as Erling Haaland had a shot saved from a tight angle and Grealish’s follow-up effort was blocked.

It had seemed the perfect start for City but Real hit back with two quickfire goals.

The equaliser came after a patient build-up as Eduardo Camavinga charged forward and fired a long-range shot that took a wicked deflection off Dias and gave Stefan Ortega – starting despite Ederson’s presence on the bench – no chance.

The hosts grabbed the lead just moments later as Rodrygo broke clear down the left and outpaced the backtracking Manuel Akanji before delicately poking the ball past Ortega.

Real threatened again as Valverde shot at Ortega and Rodrygo put another effort over.

City began to get sloppy in possession as Real upped the pressure. The normally solid Rodri looked laboured and Vinicius Junior tested Ortega before the break.

Grealish cut inside but missed the target as City tried to re-establish themselves early in the second half but Real regained control with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius going close.

Lesser sides could have folded but City underlined their enduring class as they not only weathered the storm but pulled themselves back into the game with a stunning strike from Foden.

The England international, who had been enduring a frustrating game, caught Lunin unaware as he lashed a ferocious strike into the top corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.

It was soon to get better for City as Gvardiol bagged his first goal for the club with an equally thunderous long-range effort five minutes later.

Yet, in keeping with a compelling encounter, it was not to be the end of the scoring as Real responded yet again.

This time Valverde was the player on target as he met a Vinicius cross with a fine volley that flew past Ortega.

Manchester City face a battle to retain their Champions League crown after being held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The holders twice led in an enthralling contest under the Bernabeu Stadium’s new roof but the quarter-final remains on a knife edge after Federico Valverde gave the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Bernardo Silva got City off to a flying start but a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort sent Real in at half-time of Tuesday’s first leg 2-1 ahead.

Phil Foden equalised for City with a brilliant strike and Josko Gvardiol put them back in front but Valverde had the final word to set up another intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium next week.

City missed the creativity and influence of Kevin De Bruyne who, having been feeling unwell, was sick soon after the team arrived at the stadium.

That forced manager Pep Guardiola to make a late change to his plans and bring Mateo Kovacic into the starting line-up.

The visitors initially seemed unaffected both by that and the raucous atmosphere Real had attempted to amplify by closing the roof at their newly-remodelled 85,000-capacity arena.

They were quickly onto the front foot and were given their early chance to take the lead when Aurelien Tchouameni crudely halted Jack Grealish to earn a booking that will keep him out of the second leg.

With Real failing to form a wall, Silva took full advantage and caught goalkeeper Andriy Lunin napping as he thumped a left-foot shot into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

City went close to adding a second as Erling Haaland had a shot saved from a tight angle and Grealish’s follow-up effort was blocked.

It had seemed the perfect start for City but Real hit back with two quickfire goals.

The equaliser came after a patient build-up as Eduardo Camavinga charged forward and fired a long-range shot that took a wicked deflection off Dias and gave Stefan Ortega – starting despite Ederson’s presence on the bench – no chance.

The hosts grabbed the lead just moments later as Rodrygo broke clear down the left and outpaced the backtracking Manuel Akanji before delicately poking the ball past Ortega.

Real threatened again as Valverde shot at Ortega and Rodrygo put another effort over.

City began to get sloppy in possession as Real upped the pressure. The normally solid Rodri looked laboured and Vinicius Junior tested Ortega before the break.

Grealish cut inside but missed the target as City tried to re-establish themselves early in the second half but Real regained control with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius going close.

Lesser sides could have folded but City underlined their enduring class as they not only weathered the storm but pulled themselves back into the game with a stunning strike from Foden.

The England international, who had been enduring a frustrating game, caught Lunin unaware as he lashed a ferocious strike into the top corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.

It was soon to get better for City as Gvardiol bagged his first goal for the club with an equally thunderous long-range effort five minutes later.

Yet, in keeping with a compelling encounter, it was not to be the end of the scoring as Real responded yet again.

This time Valverde was the player on target as he met a Vinicius cross with a fine volley that flew past Ortega.

UEFA insists this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as scheduled amid an Islamic State terror threat.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will host the first leg of the Gunners’ last-eight tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, while Manchester City are also in action away to Real Madrid.

A media outlet linked to the terror group has issued a threat concerning all four of this week’s ties, and European football’s governing body UEFA has now issued a statement on the matter.

“UEFA is aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week’s UEFA Champions League matches and is closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues,” the statement said.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

Brahim Diaz provided a stunning response to the challenge of deputising for the injured Jude Bellingham by firing Real Madrid to a 1-0 Champions League victory at RB Leipzig.

Diaz’s superb 48th-minute solo effort secured a last-16 win at the Red Bull Arena to put the Spanish side in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at the Bernabeu, although he later limped off in a fresh blow for boss Carlo Ancelotti.

His intervention could hardly have been better timed with 20-goal England international Bellingham facing two to three weeks on the sidelines with a sprained ankle and the 14-time European champions misfiring for long periods in his absence.

Indeed, had Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko made the most of the chances which came his way and Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin not been in inspired form, the Spaniards might have had significantly more work to do on their own pitch.

The hosts set out their stall from the off when Sesko headed into the net after Xaver Schlager had helped the ball back into the box from Lunin’s punch as he dealt with David Raum’s second-minute corner.

However, the assistant referee’s flag went up immediately and the goal was disallowed, with replays showing Sesko was not offside but team-mate Benjamin Henrichs, who made contact with Lunin, was.

Sesko might have had a hat-trick inside the opening 10 minutes, failing to make the most of Xavi Simons’ fine pass and then firing straight at Lunin, although in the meantime, Real defender Aurelien Tchouameni saw a ninth-minute header cleared off the line, with keeper Peter Gulacsi safely claiming Eduardo Camavinga’s follow-up.

Henrichs tested Lunin from distance, but Toni Kroos responded in kind to keep Gulacsi on his toes after Vinicius Jr had made his first real contribution down the left.

Camavinga got in a vital touch to deflect Sesko’s 20th-minute attempt into the side-netting as Real continued to look vulnerable at the back, with Tchouameni having to make a vital challenge to deny Sesko before Vinicius stabbed wide after exchanging passes with Diaz in stoppage time.

But Bellingham’s replacement broke the deadlock within three minutes of the restart, and he did so in spectacular fashion.

Picking up the ball wide on the right, Diaz span away from Raum and cut inside Simons and then Schlager before curling a left-foot shot across Gulacsi and inside the far post.

Leipzig would have been level almost immediately had Lunin not produced a double save from Dani Olmo and Sesko, and the keeper had to race from his line to prevent Sesko from latching onto Olmo’s excellent through-ball as the Germans fought for a way back into the game.

At the other end, Schlager did just enough to put off Rodrygo as he ran onto Vinicius’ 64th-minute pass after Real had broken at pace, and the Brazilian saw a shot come back off a post after he and Diaz had ripped the home defence to shreds with 19 minutes remaining.

Lunin produced a string of saves to deny Simons, Sesko and Amadou Haidara as Leipzig pushed for an equaliser, but the late assault proved to no avail.

Jude Bellingham made it 20 goals for the season as he and Vinicius Junior teamed up to put Girona to the sword and send Real Madrid five points clear at the top of the LaLiga table.

The England midfielder scored twice with both set up by Vinicius, who had opened the scoring before Rodrygo wrapped up a 4-0 win with a fine run and finish. Substitute Joselu also missed a late penalty.

It was just surprise package Girona’s second defeat of the league campaign, with the first also coming at the hands of Carlo Ancelotti’s men, and it was every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests.

With visiting head coach Michel banned from the touchline following his dismissal for leaving his technical area during last weekend’s draw with Real Sociedad, and opposite number Ancelotti forced to field a makeshift back four with injuries biting hard into his resources, there was an air of uncertainty around the Bernabeu Stadium as the game kicked off.

However, the fears of the locals were settled within six minutes when Vinicius picked up possession wide on the left, cut inside Ivan Martin and curled an unstoppable right-foot shot across keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and inside the far post.

With Toni Kroos dictating play, Madrid continued to look the more threatening and Girona skipper Juanpe was mightily relieved to concede a free-kick on the edge of the box rather than a penalty after he had rudely interrupted Eduardo Camavinga’s blistering 21st-minute run towards goal.

Federico Valverde curled the resulting set-piece straight into Gazzaniga’s arms, but there was little let-up in the home side’s efforts to build upon their encouraging start.

Bellingham dragged a 32nd-minute shot wide, but made amends within three minutes when he ran on to Vinicius’ superb ball behind Eric Garcia and rounded Gazzaniga to make it 2-0.

Vinicius scuffed wide after being played through as the whistle approached, but the sides headed for the dressing rooms with the hosts very much in the driving seat.

The visitors, who had offered little before the break, returned in determined mood and it took a last-ditch clearance by Ferland Mendy to cut out Miguel Gutierrez’s inviting cross as they finally started to make an impression going forward.

However, their hopes suffered a further blow within nine minutes when Vinicius cut in from the left and saw Gazzaniga parry his shot straight to Bellingham, who tapped into the empty net.

The Englishman’s evening ended prematurely with 57 minutes gone when, having earlier turned an ankle, he was replaced by Brahim Diaz.

His team did not feel his loss, however, and Rodrigo extended their lead within four minutes, accepting Vinicius’ pass before racing away to fire emphatically past Gazzaniga.

It should have been 5-0 at the death, but Joselu struck the post with a penalty awarded for Yan Couto’s foul on Arda Guler.

Real Madrid’s top-of-the-table clash with Girona this weekend will not be a title decider, insists Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti.

LaLiga leaders Real are two points ahead of second-placed Girona, who have defied the odds to emerge as genuine contenders in just their fourth-ever season in the top flight.

Michel’s side would leapfrog Madrid back into pole position with victory at the Bernabeu Stadium, but Ancelotti said Saturday’s showdown will not be decisive.

The Italian told a press conference: “Whoever wins will gain the advantage, but there is still a long way to go in the league.

“Both teams are very well positioned and the game won’t decide the league, but (the winners) will have an advantage over the others.

“I don’t think the league will be decided no matter what happens. Both teams have high points and the sooner we get to 80 points, the sooner we can win the league.

“You don’t win the league with 80 points, but if you get close as soon as possible, you’re very close.”

Girona finished 10th in LaLiga last season after winning promotion via the play-offs under head coach Michel in 2022 and have beaten both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in this campaign.

Ancelotti said: “It will be a demanding match against a team that has done better than everyone else, including Real Madrid.

“It’s going to be tough, they’re doing very well. We have a lot of respect for them, while we are confident of winning again after drawing.”

Girona boss Michel will be absent from the Bernabeu dugout as he starts a two-match touchline ban after his red card in the closing stages of last week’s 0-0 home draw against Real Sociedad.

The Catalan club will also be without defender Daley Blind and midfielder Yangel Herrera through suspension.

On Michel’s absence, Ancelotti added: “Football is about the players, but the coach’s presence gives confidence to the team.

“However, it’s not a determining factor. It’s not decisive because football is about the players.

“Sometimes we coaches get carried away a bit in protest, but we need a bit more understanding because of the circumstances we’re in.

“A little more understanding could allow him to be at the Bernabeu on Saturday.”

Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger faces a late fitness test after missing last week’s 1-1 derby draw against city rivals Atletico due to a thigh injury.

Vinicius Junior (neck/shoulder) was an unused substitute against Atletico but will be in contention and Ancelotti confirmed defender Nacho (thigh) is hoping to be back for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 clash in Leipzig.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.