Preview: Man City v Real Madrid
26 April 2016, 16:48
Cape Town - Manchester City welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in a bid to take another step towards the club's first ever appearance in a Champions League final.
There is no doubt Sergio Aguero is the key man for Manchester City. The Argentina international is second in the Premier League's top scorers list behind Harry Kane despite missing two months of the season through injury, and has scored five times in his last three matches for City, including a hat-trick against Chelsea.
Kevin de Bruyne, meanwhile, is another player to keep an eye on as the Citizens' performances have improved noticeably since the Belgian playmaker has returned from injury, and Real Madrid would remove a significant threat if they are able to keep him quiet.
With both Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo potentially unavailable for Los Blancos, much will fall on the performance of the club's record signing, Gareth Bale.
The Wales international was given the job of leading the line for Real against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, and responded to the added pressure magnificently, scoring twice to both start and complete their comeback from two goals down to win 3-2. The Spanish giants will be looking for a similarly impactful performance from Bale on Wednesday night.
Manchester City's late resurgence in form might be too little for them to challenge for the Premier League title, but it could be perfectly timed for an unexpected run at the Champions League trophy.
They are unbeaten in their last seven matches, winning four of their last five, including a 3-0 win over Chelsea and a 4-0 victory over Stoke City at the weekend.
However, they meet a side that has won all five of their last fixtures in all competitions and have only lost once in their last 12, with all 11 of the other results being victories.
Yaya Toure (muscle) will miss the visit of Real Madrid through injury, but Pellegrini used his pre-match press conference to throw his support behind Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho, who will be filling the void in midfield.
Skipper Vincent Kompany has returned to contention ahead of the crunch clash, but it remains to be seen whether Pellgerini will risk handing the centre-back a starting berth.
Zidane, rather surprisingly, revealed both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema would be part of the full-strength squad travelling to Manchester on Tuesday despite serious doubts about the fitness of both players. Full-back Daniel Carvajal is available for selection after recovering from a knee injury.