Manchester, April 27 (IANS) Hosts Manchester City and Real Madrid played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final that featured a heroic performance by home goalkeeper Joe Hart.
The 10-time Champions League winners had to play without top striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who was dropped from the line-up at the last minute here on Tuesday, reports Efe.
Though Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said earlier that the Portuguese international was “100 percent,” the medical staff decided Ronaldo was not fully recovered from a thigh injury suffered last week.
Lucas Vazquez replaced Ronaldo up front, alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
City, playing in their first Champions League semi-final, were the better side for the first 30 minutes, though the only real chance of the half belonged to Real Madrid, a shot from Bale that created no problems for Hart.
The hosts, who dominated possession, saw their task become more difficult when playmaker David Silva left the match with an injury in the 40th minute.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, started the second half with Jese Rodriguez subbing for the injured Benzema.
Manchester City’s first opportunity of the night came in the first few seconds after the break, but Sergio Agüero sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Madrid responded quickly and Hart had to be sharp to stop Sergio Ramos’ header off a corner.
The hole left by Silva’s departure became increasingly evident as Real Madrid took charge, threatening the Man City goal at will.
Only the crossbar prevented Jese from giving them the lead with a header, while Hart’s quick thinking allowed him to smother Pepe’s attempt from inside the six-yard box.
The contest will be decided by the outcome of next week’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.