Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry takes positives from Real Madrid defeat

 

Midfielder Gareth Barry feels Manchester City can take much pride from their painful defeat at Real Madrid.

The Barclays Premier League title-holders went down 3-2 in their eagerly-anticipated Champions League opener at the Bernabeu Stadium after conceding twice in the final three minutes.

Karim Benzema and former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo struck in a dramatic fightback after Aleksandar Kolarov looked to have snatched an unlikely City win six minutes from time.

That late drama came at the end of a remarkable 22-minute period in which all five goals were scored, Edin Dzeko first putting City ahead against the run of play before a Marcelo equaliser.

Barry said: "We knew they were going to have the ball for long periods.

"We didn't set out to frustrate them but we set out to work hard and hit them on the counter-attack. As we showed throughout the game we are pretty dangerous.

"Yaya (Toure) had a great chance and if that goes in it is 2-0 and a different game.

"We played a good game and there are a lot of positives but overall we are disappointed.

"Playing away is always tough in the Champions League. To have got so close to the three points is disappointing but there is great stuff we can take from it."

City had inspired goalkeeper Joe Hart to thank for keeping them in the game in the first half, the England number one having saved brilliantly from Ronaldo twice early on.

He also denied Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain while Sami Khedira volleyed over after another Ronaldo effort was deflected.

Marcelo narrowly missed the target twice early in the second half but finally found his range, with the aid of a possible deflection off Javi Garcia, after Dzeko's well-taken strike.

Kolarov's free-kick evaded Xabi Alonso to put City ahead for a second time but Real roused themselves magnificently in the dying stages.

Hart even saved from Ronaldo again with the score at 2-2 but the Portuguese could not be denied his goal indefinitely as Vincent Kompany ducked under a shot which found its way in.

Barry, who had been making his first start of the season after recovering from an abdominal injury, said: "Even at 2-1 we knew it was going to be a lot of hard work.

"There were still five minutes plus injury time, so a lot can happen, particularly against a great time like that.

"But having gone 2-1 up you're not expected to lose the game then, so we were pretty down at the end.

"We are scoring a lot of goals but conceding at the same time. I am sure as the season goes on that is something we can work on.

"There were a couple of deflected goals and it is tough for the goalkeeper once they have got their shot away."

City are now playing catch-up in the tough-looking Group D, which is comprised of domestic champions.

They face Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium in their next match in a fortnight and travel to Ajax in late October.

Barry, 31, said: "We matched them and on another day could have come away with the three points.

"I am sure it will be a great game when they come to the Etihad Stadium but before that we have to try to make sure we get some points on the board."

City must now try to put the game out of their minds as they continue their Premier League title defence with a visit from Arsenal this weekend.

Midfielder Toure said: "It was a pity because we had the victory very close and we lost it with two goals in the last two minutes.

"Let's see what we can do next game, which will be very important for us.

"Real Madrid is always Real Madrid. They really wanted to win, with the support of their fans. They have a great team, with a great coach."

PA

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