Joe Hart clutch in Manchester City's 0-0 draw with Real Madrid

Tuesday April 26th, 2016

A pair of key Joe Hart saves preserved Manchester City's 0-0 draw with Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal. 

Hart stopped Casemiro and Pepe on a pair of chances in the final 10 minutes of the otherwise action-less match. Manchester City hardly threatened Keylor Navas at the Etihad Stadium (until Kevin De Bruyne's stoppage-time free kick), while Hart only really had to deal with a simple Sergio Ramos header in the 54th minute before the late flurry of action (he was saved by the crossbar midway through the second half, as halftime substitute Jese had his header crash off the woodwork).

First, Hart stopped Casemiro's header off of Toni Kroos's corner kick, positioning himself well to make the stop:

Then, Pepe found himself unmarked on the doorstep off another corner kick, but Hart denied him from point-blank range to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed the first leg, not able to reach match fitness while he deals with a thigh injury despite Zinedine Zidane saying he'd be fine to start in the build-up to the match. Ronaldo has 16 goals in this season's Champions League, with his hat trick in the second leg of the quarterfinal lifting Real Madrid back to this stage, and it remains to be seen what his status will be for the second leg next Wednesday in Madrid.

Manchester City also suffered from injury woes, as David Silva had to exit in the first half with an ailment of his own, and his status will be closely monitored in the coming days. 

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