Hart’s Heroics Give City Lifeline

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart pulled off a number of reflex-saves to earn his side a goalless draw against Real Madrid in their Champions League semifinal first-leg clash at the Etihad Stadium Tuesday night.

Competition top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to watch on from the bench after failing a late fitness test as his side struggled to convert the handful of chances that came their way what was generally a tight and cagey affair.

After a bright start to their first ever semifinal appearance, Manuel Pellegrini’s men lost their way late on in the first-half following injury to playmaker David Silva, with the Spanish giants dictating play for the remainder of the encounter.

Joe Hart first kept out a Gareth Bale header off a corner-kick with a reflex save, before sensationally denying Pepe late on, the closest either side came to a goal after substitute Jese had struck the post with a looping header.

Both sides now have it all to play for in next week’s return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Pellegrini remaining upbeat about their chances at his former ground.

“We played a very intense game and defended well,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

“This season we have played very well away. Now we go to the Bernabeu with the same attitude as playing at home.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane thinks his team could have left England with a better result.

“I’m happy with the game,” said Zidane.

“We had the ball more in the second half, had a couple of chances. We’re a little bit disappointed, because we possibly deserved more.

“Before this game it was 50-50. I think it’s still the same, 50-50.”

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