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Why the Bernabeu holds no fear for Pep Guardiola

Real Madrid have an aura about them that can be overwhelming to so many of their opponents.

But that doesn’t apply to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who has a very good record against the 14-time champions of Europe.

As Treble-chasing City prepare to take on Real in a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final, Guardiola won’t feel any intimidation given his record against them as a coach reads: Played 21, won 12, drawn 4, lost 5.

Nor will the prospect of a packed Santiago Bernabeu hold any fear. Guardiola’s record there is even more eye-catching, with six wins from 10 visits and only two defeats.

Of course, one of those losses came 12 months ago, when City were seconds away from reaching the final before capitulating in stoppage time.

The other came as Bayern Munich coach, part of a 5-0 aggregate humbling in the 2013-14 Champions League semi-finals.

But Guardiola will prefer to reflect on the many occasions his teams have stormed the citadel.

City came from behind to win 2-1 in the Bernabeu in their 2019-20 last-16 meeting with Real, goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne, a penalty, gave them a first leg advantage.

Because of the Covid pandemic, it took another six months to complete the tie, City repeating the scoreline at a deserted Etihad Stadium to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

In his press conference on Monday, Guardiola was reminded by a Catalan journalist about one of his finest hours when in charge of Barcelona.

That came in 2011, when two Lionel Messi goals gave his all-conquering team a 2-0 first leg advantage in a stormy semi-final tie with Jose Mourinho’s Madrid.

A bad-tempered affair saw Barcelona’s substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto being sent off for his part in a fracas on the touchline following the half-time whistle.

Real defender Pepe was dismissed for a reckless high tackle on Dani Alves and Mourinho was subsequently sent to the stands for sarcastically mouthing ‘well done’ to the fourth official.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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