Real Madrid’s ‘never die’ attitude carried us past Man City

Carlo Ancelotti praised Real Madrid for his team’s resilience in their penalty shootout win over Manchester City in the Champions League, saying “everybody gave us up for dead, but Real Madrid never die.”

Madrid went ahead early through Rodrygo in Wednesday’s quarterfinal second leg at the Etihad Stadium, before Kevin De Bruyne levelled in the second half to force extra time.

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Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin saved penalties from Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic to put Madrid into the semifinals after the two legs ended 4-4 on aggregate, where they’ll face Bayern Munich.

“There was only one way to come out of here alive, and that was to take our chances — we took one early — and then by defending well. There’s no other way against City,” Ancelotti told Movistar.

Madrid were dominated by City for much of the 120 minutes, with the home side having 67% possession, and 33 shots to Madrid’s eight.

“I’ve seen Real Madrid do this a lot. It’s this badge, it brings something out of you that you didn’t know you had,” Ancelotti said. “In the shootout, we were convinced we could go through. Andriy [Lunin] had a fantastic game.

“I like it when you see a team that sacrifices itself a lot. I think you could only win here in this way.”

Lunin, 25, began the season as Madrid’s reserve keeper. A long-term ACL injury to number one Thibaut Courtois saw the club bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan, before Lunin won his place in the team.

“I’m exhausted, it’s the first game I’ve had like that in my career,” Lunin told Movistar. “120 minutes, with that level of demands, in the Champions League, away from home. Thanks to the team, who suffered and run and fought, we’re through to the semis.

“You can’t always play with the ball, you can’t always be the best team on the field,” Lunin added. “The team made a great effort, working like that for 120 minutes. I can’t even imagine running like that for five minutes.”

“We aren’t used to it, usually it’s us who dominate the opponent,” captain Nacho said. “We showed another side to us, that we can defend spectacularly… They’re magical nights, the ones you dream about as a kid, I’ve got goosebumps.”

Jude Bellingham was kept off the scoresheet, but was instrumental throughout the course of the game — scoring his penalty in the shootout and leading off the move that led to Madrid’s goal. He said there was a feeling of relief after getting past the defending champions.

“I’ve played against City before, you’ve been close and you feel like you’re going to get something out of it and all of a sudden they snatch it away from you,” Bellingham said after the game. “You have to work really hard to beat them. I was pretty much dead on my feet by the end.

“I think most teams at that point [the equaliser] would fall apart, when City get on top of you. But we stood up really well, and for another half an hour or 40 minutes we worked hard.

“It’s beautiful. My brother is here today and it’s the first time he’s got to see me play for Real Madrid. I feel really proud of that kind of stuff, it’s a main part of why I do it.”

Madrid will travel to Munich for the first leg against Bayern on April 30 or May 1, before the return leg at the Bernabeu on May 7 or 8, with Paris Saint-Germain playing Borussia Dortmund in the other semifinal.